New breakfast cereal data bowls over sugar spin

A first-ever scientific analysis of different types of breakfast cereals and their impact on the health of Australians has found positive benefits for body weight and nutrition, regardless of the type of cereal and its sugar content.

The new analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the Australian Health Survey (AHS) found that when compared to people who ate other breakfasts, Australians who ate breakfast cereals had:

  • the same daily energy intake (kilojoules) but significantly higher intakes of iron, calcium, fibre, folate and magnesium;

  • lower intakes of sodium; and

  • were more likely to meet nutrient needs.

Data shows Australians who eat breakfast cereals are more likely to meet their nutrition needs

The research also found that adults who ate breakfast cereals had slimmer waists and were more likely to be a healthy weight than people who ate other breakfasts. View the video and report: Bowled over at breakfast.

Dr Flavia Fayet-Moore, Director of Nutrition Research Australia, led the analysis and said the results will challenge perceptions about breakfast cereals. “Our analysis adds to the large body of evidence that breakfast cereals make an important contribution to nutrient intakes, particularly for dietary fibre, calcium and iron - nutrients of which Australians are not getting enough.”

A recent audit on the nutritional quality of Australian breakfast cereals by the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) backed up the findings. It revealed that of the more than 420 breakfast cereals available, almost 95 per cent meet the Australian Government’s benchmark for sodium (400mg per 100g or less) and almost two-thirds (63 per cent) have less than two teaspoons of total sugars in a 40g serve.

“While we do need to be mindful of overall sugars intake, Australians shouldn’t let an obsession with sugars turn them away from nutrient-rich core grain foods like breakfast cereals,” said Chris Cashman, GLNC’s Nutrition Program Manager.

Dietitians Association of Australia spokesperson, Lisa Renn, APD explains that this is one of the most common concerns from clients she sees in her practice.
“People are confused; so often we see Australians limiting nutritious foods because they are concerned about single nutrients like sugar. It’s our role as health professionals to guide them through health information (and misinformation) to reassure them that nutrient dense foods such as breakfast cereals are good choices for them and their families,” said Ms Renn.

For further information visit



  1. Nutrition Research Australia, Breakfast and Breakfast Cereal Consumption Among Australians – A secondary analysis of the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, Sydney, February 2016

More in