Fact or Fiction: Cereal has too many vitamins?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

cereal
Don’t be fooled by all the vitamins advertised in these cereal boxes – too much of a good thing can be bad!

Do you love chowing down on some Fruit Loops, Fruity Pebbles, or Cocoa Puffs in the morning? Well, no matter which one’s your favorite, past studies have found that 92% of children’s cereal come preloaded with added sugar. And, that’s not the only bad substance overloading your milk-filled breakfast bowl nowadays, because they’re also jampacked with way more vitamins than your body can handle!

Wait a minute… aren’t vitamins supposed to be healthy for us? Yes, of course. In fact, they are necessary for regular everyday bodily functions. However, these nutrients are not free from the saying, “Too much of anything is bad for you”. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, children between the ages of 4 and 8 should be consuming less than 0.9 mg vitamin A, 15 mg of niacin, and 12 mg of zinc each day. Unfortunately, a new study found that about 114 popular cereal brands contain a huge amount of vitamin A, zinc, and/or niacin per serving!

Now, this fact wouldn’t be too alarming if kids ate a single serving in the morning. However, children have an average of two and a half servings per sitting, which opens them up to some serious risks. See, overdosing on vitamins can lead to stomach and intestine issues, liver and skeletal damage, headaches, loss of appetite, blurred vision, and even a dysfunctional immune system (our body’s defenses against disease). Then, when you consider that several children already take morning supplements (extra vitamins), we have a serious public health problem!

So, what should you do about this? The Environmental Working Group that made these findings recommends monitoring not only what you put into your body, but also how much you consume.

Featured image courtesy of Ramnath Bhat on Flickr. Image of Cap’n Crunch courtesy of Danielle Elder on Flickr.