Cereal Breakfast Breakdown and the Link to Inattention and Hyperactivity

Let’s Talk Breakfast Cereal.  Majority of kids I interview in clinic eat cereal for breakfast.  What does this mean for their nutrition and health?

The Recommended Amount of ADDED Sugar per Day for Kids is 4-6tsps/day.

1tsp = 3gms = 1 packet of sugar.

cereal pack

The Liver can only process 4-6 tsp of added sugar a day.  What does it do with the rest? For the rest, the pancreas secrets insulin which spikes really high and shoves some of the sugar in fat cells. Yes we all have fat cells around all our organs.  These fat cells do not later release this sugar, it just stays stored there adding up to inflammation and waist size.  Furthermore, the sugar stored in the fat cells irritates the organs and cause inflammation in areas like the brain leading to loss of focus, loss of concentration.  Once the the sugar gets stored in the fat cell, your blood sugar plummets leaving kids with irritability, fatigue, headaches, and with wanting more sugar.  Sound familiar?

These are Lucky Charms  and Cinnamon Toast Crunch – 1 serving = 9gm of sugar.

The bowl on the right is 1 serving for both.  Who ever eats one serving of cereal? No one ever.  Bowl in the middle is 2 servings, bowl on the left is 3 servings.  Which one is the bowl with the serving size your kids eat mostly?



Same story with other cereals such as Frosted Mini Wheats and Honey Nut Cheerios.

So by eating this kind of breakfast before they leave the house, the kids have already surpassed the amount of sugar that their body’s can process properly.  So don’t be surprised at your next parent teacher conference that the reports are: talking out of turn, not sitting in seats, not finishing classwork on time, need for redirection a thousand times to say on task, and cutting crayons at random times.

Lastly, lets look at the ingredients in these cereals:

Ingredients are listed in order of most to least amount found in the product.  For Lucky Charms Ingredient #2 Sugar, #5corn syrup = sugar, #8 dextrose = sugar, and all the food coloring added.  Play dough has less ingredients and food coloring then this product.

lucky label

Cinnamon toast crunch has #3 Sugar, #6 Fructose = sugar, #8 Dextrose = sugar, and color as well.  Lets not forget Maltodextrin and BHT.  BHT is used to make tires, some plastics, and diesel fuel.  Yumm!!  These chemicals do nothing good for the brain or any other part of the body.

cin toast label

So though easy and delicious, Cereals are generally not great options for a Good Breakfast before school.  Oh, wait, Cheerios you ask, how does this cereal compare?


Less sugar definitely, no food coloring, but it still has a ton of starch and carbs and little protein.  But better then those other brands mentioned above.

So what is a parent and kid to do for a fast breakfast in the morning that will provide them with focus, memory, concentration, and great restraint?  How can you include Protein, Fiber, Fruits, and not much sugar??

PB fruit

bagel tomatobagelberryWhole Wheat English Muffin with nuts butter and fruits.

Whole Wheat Bagels with Nut Butter and Berries.

Whole Wheat English Muffins with Hard Boiled Eggs and Mozz. Cheese

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