- A new survey by the U.K.-based World Action on Salt and Health revealed that there are wide differences in the levels of sodium and sugar found in the same breakfast cereals globally, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
- The survey looked at 19 Kellogg's and Nestle/General Mills products from 29 countries for comparison. It found that product sodium content ranged from 32 mg to 772 mg per 100 g, with sugar content ranging from 8 g to 57 g per 100 g.
- The U.S. numbers in many cases were higher, with each of the products examined in the survey labeled either as “high” or “medium” in sugar and sodium content. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, for example, had 55.6 grams of sugar per 100 g in the U.S., but the same product contained only 43 g in several other nations. Meanwhile, Kellogg’s All Bran Flakes had 724 milligrams of sodium per 100 g compared to 280 mg per 100 g in certain other countries.
The FDA noted Americans consume almost 50 percent more sodium than what most experts recommend, resulting in one in three individuals experiencing high blood pressure, a major risk factor cause of heart disease and stroke.
Numerous researchers and nutritionists agree that reducing sodium intake in the U.S. by 1,200 mg a day could prevent as many as 60,000 to 120,000 cases of coronary heart disease and 32,000 to 60,000 cases of stroke. It also would save an estimated $10 billion to $24 billion in health-care costs and 44,000 to 92,000 lives annually.
The World Health Organization recommends that adults should restrict their consumption of sodium to 2,000 mg a day and added sugars to 50 g (12 teaspoons) a day, and are calling on food manufacturers to universally reduce the salt and sugar content of their products to help achieve the global WHO maximum target.
U.S. manufacturers of cereal can do their part by adjusting their cereal formulas and getting sugar and salt levels closer to those in other countries, as there’s plenty of evidence that these are still popular around the world.