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Breakfast cereals

Healthy eating messages often portray cereals as a healthy start to the day, but Which? has found you could be breakfasting on as much sugar or salt as you would find in a chocolate bar or packet of crisps.

Which? has looked at 275 different types of cereals from a range of retailers and manufacturers and found that even those considered to be healthy often contain high levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat.

We judged each cereal according to the Food Standard Agency's proposed criteria for what constitutes high (red light), medium (amber light) and low (green light) levels of sugar, salt, fat and saturated fat (read more about traffic light labels).

We found that more than three quarters (76 per cent) of cereals had high levels of sugar, a fifth (19 per cent) had high levels of salt and 7 per cent had high levels of saturated fat. The worst offenders

Asda and Morrison’s Golden Puffs were the worst offenders for containing the highest amount of sugar per 100g.

While some efforts have been made to reduce salt in breakfast cereals since our 2004 report (see below), Which? still found that a fifth of all those tested were high in salt. Despite their healthy image, Kellogg’s All-Bran and Morrisons Right Balance had the highest amount of salt per suggested portion size. Sugar: the worst offenders Cereal Sugar (g/100g) Asda Golden Puffs 55.0 Morrisons Golden Puffs 55.0 Sainsbury's Golden Puffs 49.5 Tesco Golden Honey Puffs 49.5 Targeting children

Of the cereals we looked at, 52 were found to directly target children through methods such as free giveaways, competitions, cartoon characters or kid-friendly images. Worryingly, 88 per cent of these were found to be high in sugar.

The three worst offenders overall were Quaker Oatso Simple Kids (any flavour), Kellogg’s Coco Pops Straws and Mornflake Pecan and Maple Crisp. All were found to be high in both sugar and saturates. Kellogg’s Coco Pop Straws, for example, contains the same amount of sugar as a two finger Kit Kat (34g per 100g).

The full report, Cereal Reoffenders, is available to download below.