Sugar content of breakfast cereals

I don’t understand why “sugar cereals”–ones that usually have sugar as a first or second ingredient, such as Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks, Smacks, etc.–have less sugar per serving than some of the healthier (well, at least assumed healthier) options.

Recently, a blurb on the news discussed how cereal companies may be required to decrease sugar content–some cereals have gasp 13 to 14 grams of sugar per serving. Um…DeathLlama’s breakfast bowl of granola has 14 grams per serving. Raisin Bran has 17 grams…and good God, Raisin Bran Crunch has 20 grams of sugar per serving.

These cereals are all denser than the kid confection competitors, but that is reflected in the serving size…granola’s serving size is 1/2 to 3/4 cup; a serving of Apple Jacks is 1 cup (and has 16 grams of sugar).

Keep in mind that not all sugars are sucrose, but I think the density has a lot to do with it. Crush a Froot Loop or an Apple Jack sometime and see how little actual solid matter it contains.

I always assumed this is because it takes more sugar to make rather dry things like bran and oats palatable to the modern sweet tooth. People don’t want bran that tastes and mooshes in your mouth like bran, they want that “breakfast cereal” mouthfeel, so manufacturers have to add more sugar.

It doesn’t take as much sugar to make little puffs of extruded dough taste acceptably sweet.

Ah-ha! Y’all gave me an idea of where the answer might lie. A little bit of Net-surfing later, and I have the answer. It’s about weight.

1 serving of Apple Jacks is 1 cup–or 30 grams. Of those 30 grams, 14.7–nearly 50%–is sugar. Where’s a barf smiley when you need one? Blarrrggghh.

Meanwhile, a serving size of Raisin Bran is also one cup–which weighs 59 grams. 20 grams of that is “sugars” (which I assume includes other kinds of sugars besides refined white sugars due to the raisins–fructose, I assume?), so that’s just over 30%. Still a lot of sugar, though. Hmm…lessee, what else…

Here’s my favorite–Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats. One serving = 24 biscuits = 59 grams, of which 12g are sugars. That’s a little over 20%…sweet. Well, a little less sweet, perhaps.

Edited to add–I got my numbers from The link leads to the Mini Wheat listing.

Oh, and to correct a typo spelling error. Dammit.