Can dividing by 4 help you lose weight? – Breakfast Cereal (5 minute read)

Welcome to Part 2 of the #Divideby4 Campaign. This time, I want to shine a light on how much added sugar is in our favourite breakfast cereals.

The alarm clock goes. It’s cold. My eyelids are heavy. I brew a hot cup of coffee and pour myself a hearty bowl of NutriGrain cereal #most-important-meal-of-the-day.

I instinctively reach for my phone and realise that I have left it upstairs. I go upstairs.

An opportunity presents itself. Jonathan, your local breakfast cereal industry representative, breaks into your house! That escalated quickly. He meticulously counts 7 teaspoons of sugar and dumps it into your cereal. He uses his magic wand to carefully mix the sugar and spread the “flavour” or what I like to call, “diabetes”. He leaves the same way he got in.

I return with my phone in hand. Oblivious to what has just happened, I enjoy my cereal as I watch a video of a chubby Asian kid dancing to Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball.

I apologise for my overwhelming cynicism and sarcasm. Given that I was so proud of not putting any sugar in my morning coffee, I was truly shocked to find out that I was unknowingly having nearly 7 teaspoons of sugar with my morning bowl of NutriGrain. In their own words, Nutrigrain is proud to be “fueling young Aussies to live unstoppable lives through [their] food and through inspiring stories”. I wonder if they sit around a campfire and share stories about childhood obesity and chronic disease #inspiring.

Part 1 of the #Divideby4 Campaign covered sugar in drinks. Read here.

This time, the #Divideby4 Campaign will turn its focus onto how much added sugar is in popular breakfast cereals.

Once again, before we proceed, there is one crucial thing you need to know.

4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar

Just like washing your hands after you go to the toilet, this is important.

Let’s take a box of “Froot” Loops (a childhood favourite). An interesting play on the word “Fruit” which is clearly something else. Below is the nutritional information for a 500g box of Froot Loops. Focus on the “sugars” section which generally speaking, represents the added sugars.

FRUIT LOOPS Qty per serving  (30g) Qty per 100g
Energy 490kJ 1640kJ
Protein 1.9g 6.4g
Total Fat 0.4g 1.5g
Saturated Fat 0.2g 0.5g
Carbohydrate 25.6g 85.5g
Sugars 11.4g 38.0g
Sodium 102mg 340mg
Dietary Fibre

 

0.7g 2.4

Although 38g sounds like a sh**load of sugar, what the hell does that number truly mean? We need something relatable to know how much sugar this actually is. A teaspoon is relatable. Let me show you.

As mentioned earlier,

4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar

It follows that the quickest way to calculate the number of teaspoons of sugar in a food or drink product is to

DIVIDE BY 4

Disclaimer: All the following figures are calculated based on a 100 gram portion of cereal. For your interest, this is what 100g of cereal looks like. 

 Let’s have a look at some examples

Speechless.

My ex-breakfast cereal. We did not part on good terms. I still get texts, phone calls and Facebook friend requests from NutriGrain but I have blocked them. Permanently.

We all know deep down that chocolate for breakfast is always going to be controversial.

Phenomenal. In the best way possible, very different to its competitors.

“What are you doing reading the back of the cereal box when you could be pouring yourself a delicious bowl of Crunchy Nut?” – their words, not mine. I am overwhelmed and touched by the Crunchy Nut team and their efforts to be transparent and honest about their “irresistibly tasty” food. What I would do for a chance to crunch their nuts!

Chocolate cereal follows a predictable pattern.

A low sugar Aussie favourite! How many Weet-Bix do you do?

It’s time to VISUALISE

A helpful way to to truly understand how much sugar is added to some of these breakfast cereals is to visualise. I want everyone to visualise pouring a bowl of cereal and physically placing each teaspoon of sugar into their bowl. One by one. So if it’s a bowl of Coco Pops, 9.4 teaspoons of sugar. One by one. Most people would never put 9.4 teaspoons of sugar into their tea. But, often cereal goes down just fine!

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 6 or less teaspoons of sugar a day

The aim of this #Divideby4 Campaign is to build awareness and educate. If people can look at a food or drink product and quickly calculate in their head how many teaspoons of sugar has been added to what they are consuming, they can start making informed decisions. This can lead to reduced added sugar intake. In turn, it can help with weight loss as well as reduce people’s risk of developing things like diabetes, heart disease, strokes and certain types of the cancer.

Take home messages

  • 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • To calculate how many teaspoons of sugar there is in 100g of cereal, look for how many grams of sugar there are per 100g and DIVIDE BY 4
  • After you know how many teaspoons of sugar is in the cereal, VISUALISE yourself placing these teaspoons one by one into your bowl #informed-decisions
  • The WHO recommends that we limit our daily intake of sugar to about 6 or less teaspoons a day

If you found any value in this, please share with the hashtag #Divideby4 and spread this concept!

Related posts

Can Dividing By 4 Help You Lose Weight? – Sugar Drinks

A 20% Sugar Tax: Should Australia Do it?

The Cause Of Obesity Part 1: The Big Picture

The Cause Of Obesity Part 2: Changing Bad Habits

The Cause Of Obesity Part 3: Eating Carbohydrates

The Cause Of Obesity Part 4: Eating Fats

Much love to everyone and of course, to myself.

Dr G