Jun 06, 2013 • By

USDA study confirms cereal improvements

A USDA Agricultural Research Service-led study confirms what we’ve known for some time: The nutritional profile of cereals in the U.S. has improved significantly since 2005.

The study of Kellogg and General Mills cereals – which represent 62 percent of the U.S. market and 80 percent of sales – found that, on average, between 2005 and 2011:

  • Fiber increased 32 percent.
  • Sodium decreased 14 percent.
  • Sugar decreased 10 percent.

In addition, the study – published in the second issue of Procedia Food Science – found that whole grain was an ingredient in at least two-thirds of the cereals.

“The ready-to-eat cereal data from 2005 through 2011 substantiate the breakfast cereal manufacturers’ initiatives to proactively improve the nutrient composition of their cereals… ,” said the conclusion in the study. “Decreases in sugar levels were significant… . Fiber levels increased significantly and sodium levels decreased significantly.”

“Trends observed in this important breakfast category demonstrate positive changes in the nutrient composition which may have an important impact on public health.”

The news, of course, is not news to us. General Mills has long been an industry leader in improving the health profile of our cereals.

In 2005, we converted our entire line of Big G cereals to include at least 8 grams of healthy whole grain per serving (at least 48 grams are recommended daily). This was the biggest health-driven product improvement in our history.

Since then, we’ve increased the minimum level of whole grain to 10 grams per serving – and more than 20 of our cereals deliver at least 16 grams per serving. Research has shown that eating whole grain as part of a healthy diet can help improve heart health, aid in weight management while also potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Since 2007, we’ve continued to steadily decrease the sugar and sodium levels in our cereals. We’ve pledged to reduce all cereals advertised to children under 12 to single-digit grams of sugar per serving. Many of our cereals are already at 9 grams of sugar per serving or lower. (See the Benefits of Cereal to learn more.)

Simply put, cereal is one of the healthiest breakfast choices. Research has shown that people who eat cereal have:

  • Healthier body weights.
  • Better intake of nutrients including fiber, calcium and vitamin D.
  • Consume more whole grain and eat less cholesterol and fat.

In addition, cereal has fewer calories than almost any other common breakfast option.

It’s nice to see others acknowledge the significant progress that has been made in recent years to make cereal an even better breakfast choice.