Experts Sound Off on Cereal

General Mills' pledge to cut sugar in kids' cereals has experts buzzing.

ByABC News via logo
December 9, 2009, 6:01 PM

Dec. 10, 2009— -- The cereal giant General Mills has announced it will cut back the amount of sugar in 10 popular kids' cereals to single-digit grams of sugar per serving.

As this move piqued the interest of nutritionists and other diet experts, the ABC News medical unit sent out a request for comment to some of the nation's top experts in the field.

What ABC News learned was that some support the move. Among them was Dr. Kelly Brownell, director and co-founder of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., whose recent "Cereal F.A.C.T.S." report raised some of the concerns about the nutritional content of cereals marketed to kids.

"This is a historic announcement -- it comes on the heels of an investigation by the Connecticut attorney general and the FDA of the 'Smart Choices' program and our own Cereal Report," he said.

Not that the change will solve all of the problems with childhood obesity, Brownell said, but it is a start. And others agreed that the resolution by General Mills was a step in the right direction:

Keith-Thomas Ayoob, pediatric nutritionist and associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y.:

"I thought this was terrific and an excellent example of a company reformulating to meet consumer demand... It probably helps, but what I like best is that if there is less sugar, it makes room for more whole grain. Plus, there will still be sugar in the cereal, and kids will still find a sweet taste, just a little less."

Laurie Tansman, nutritionist at the Mount Sinai Hospital's department of preventive medicine in New York:

"I think this is an excellent step, and I hope that General Mills will extend this to all their cereals. To the best of my knowledge, there is some limited research that suggests that taste satisfaction to sweets is enhanced when the total amount of sugars is limited in the diet. I've noted this in several of my patients who were Atkins or South Beach diet followers."