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Study: Kids OK With Less Breakfast Cereal Sugar

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A customer walks past boxes of cereal. (credit: Getty Images/William Thomas Cain)

A customer walks past boxes of cereal. (credit: Getty Images/William Thomas Cain)

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(CBS/AP) – Kids eat cereal only if it’s loaded with sugar, right? Don’t be so sure.

A new study shows children actually like low-sugar cereals.

Researchers at Yale studied cereal preference in 91 kids. The kids who were given low-sugar cereals chose to add more sugar and fruit to their cereal than kids who were given high-sugar cereals, but even with the added sweet stuff, their breakfasts still contained less sugar overall. And the kids eating low-sugar cereal ate half as much cereal as kids given high-sugar cereal.

Dr. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, says parents should think twice before buying super-sweet cereals.

“A little sugar is fine, but everything doesn’t have to be sweet,” she tells CBS News. “Sugary cereals establish a taste for sweet and give kids the idea that foods are supposed to be sweet, sweeter, sweetest.”

This study, published online Dec. 13 in the journal Pediatrics, comes out at a perfect time for General Mills, which said last week that it is reducing the sugar content of cereals advertised to children. A year ago the maker of Lucky Charms, Trix and Cocoa Puffs announced plans to cut the sugar in 10 of its cereals to single-digit grams of sugar per serving.

By the end of this year, the company’s kids’ cereals will have 10 g of sugar or less per serving.

For parents worried about kids’ sugar intake, the news comes as sweet relief.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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