Britain's biggest cereal brands contain 30% more sugar than same products in U.S.
Kellogg’s Special K has 17g per 100g compared to 13g in USCheerios have 21.5g of sugar per 100g but in America it is only 4gAlpen has 15% more sugar in UK than in the USGovernment asks companies to commit to obesity pledges
18:37 GMT, 13 January 2013
20:45 GMT, 14 January 2013
Breakfast cereals sold in Britain contain as much as 30 per cent more sugar than the same products in the United States.
Kellogg’s Special K is sold as a healthy option for women trying to lose weight but contains 17g of sugar per 100g.
That is equivalent to more than four teaspoons of white sugar and is 30 per cent more than the 13g of sugar per 100g in Special K sold in America.
Manufacturers claim that the level of sugar consumed in breakfast cereals is still low compared to what most people eat throughout the day
The British version of Cheerios, made by
Nestl, has 21.5g of sugar per 100g, more than five times the amount of
sugar as the American version (4g per 100g).
Nestl said the British version of Cheerios more closely resembled Multi Grain Cheerios, a cereal with a similar amount of sugar which is not sold in the UK.
Weetabix flagship health brand Alpen muesli was found to have 15% more sugar than the version sold in the US.
The manufacturer claimed that the difference in levels of sugar was not a result of extra additives in the UK product. Weetabix said that the difference was because of 'locally sourced ingredients'.
Calorie content was also found be divergent between UK and US cereals. Of the 16 brands of Kellog's cereals sold in both countries, 11 had had a higher number of calories per 100g.
For example Krave, a chocolate cereal, contains 15% more calories than the same brand sold in the US.
The findings come on the back of Government moves to regulate sugar content in products available to children.
A recent report by the Organisation for the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that English children were the third fattest in Europe, after Italy and Greece – but almost twice as obese as the French. Almost 27% of girls in England were overweight and 23% of boys.
The OECD estimated that a comprehensive anti-obesity strategy in England would cost less than 12 per person and save 70,000 lives per year.
The Government has responded to the obesity problem by drafting a public health responsibility deal that will require manufacturers to meet a series of commitments.
Nestle has already signed up to all commitments, including reducing calories. However, Kellog's have only committed to a reduction in salt content.
All manufacturers are expect to report on their progress by next month.
Chairwoman of the food network, Dr Susan Jebb, which is involved in the public health deal, said: 'I really would like the rest [of the cereal manufacturers] to be as good as the best and that is the refrain i am constantly writing to the food companies – if one company can do it then why can't you
'This is an even better example – if your company can do it in the States why can't you do it here It;s not that difficult.'
Andy Burham the shadow health secretary, who has been calling for a sugar content cap on cereals at 30%, said: These finding will shock quite a few people.
'It seems to be that UK consumers are getting a pretty poor deal.'
Kellog's claimed that despite differences in sugar levels, content was pretty low in products in both the US and the UK. A spokesperson added the manufacturer creates its products to suit different tastes and palates.
'When you look at the amounts you are talking about it's still low when you consider what people eat across the day.'