Dieting mum: My bran flakes hell

Laura Riding discovered 30g of Bran Flakes is considerably less than the full bowl shown on packets

As I look at my box of Bran Flakes, with it’s picture on the front of a bowl almost overflowing, I glance at the energy values.

Thanks to the ‘traffic light’ system indicating whether sugar, salt etc is low (green), medium (amber) or high (red), one can seemingly make informed decisions whether or not to eat said product. Seems simple enough.

As I’m reading the energy values – 4g of sugar (4% of recommended daily intake, highlighted in amber), 0.6g fat (less than 1%, green), 0.2g salt (3%, amber) – I realise that this is for a 30g serving.

Never in my life have I weighed out my cereal – or anything, come to think of it – so I feel a bit of a twit as I get out the scales:] 30g weighed, and I let out a bitter laugh.

The recommended 30g serving is a pitiful amount at the bottom of the bowl, possibly around a third of the size I would have poured out unchecked – like the picture on the front of the box.

So this 4g of sugar – 4% of my recommended daily intake – is realistically going to be more like 12g, or 12%.

I wonder if this would push it into the red traffic light colour, and I feel a rush of anger that I have been unwillingly consuming more sugar than I signed up for. No wonder I’m still overweight.

I choose to eat bran flakes because of the high wholegrain content (78%) and the fact it’s high in fibre – it is certainly the lesser of the evils in the cereal world.

Kellogg’s Frosties have 11g of sugar – 12% – per 30g serving, so if it is tripled like I believe is reasonable then we’re looking at 36% of your daily sugar intake, right at the start of the day.

A recent study showed that a bowl of granola or muesli, a slice of brown toast and a glass of apple juice (what most people would consider a reasonably healthy breakfast) is actually more than your recommended daily amount of sugar in one meal.

Also many reduced fat products contain more sugar, since when you remove the fat you remove the flavour, so they compensate.

Conclusion? It’s a bloody minefield and the consumer industry is against us. We can try to eat healthily and cook from scratch, but guess what? It’s going to double our food bills because fresh healthy food costs more.

No wonder Jamie Oliver keeps losing his shit…


  1. Hmm, the bowl on the box is much shallower than your bowl. Anyone who fills a deep cereal bowl to the top like you were going to do and thinks it ok to eat that much is a greedy guzzle guts in my opinion. Perhaps if you cut down on your portions generally you wouldn’t be so fat.


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