Children in the US get most of their vitamins and nutrients from fortified breakfast cereals and fruit drinks, despite the fact that foods with naturally-occurring vitamins and nutrients are thought to be preferable to supplements or fortified food. Ready-to-eat cereal has little folate of its own, but because of fortification and high consumption levels, it is the number one source of the nutrient in children's diets.. About 23% to 33% of folate consumed by children is from breakfast cereal.
It appears that breakfast cereals are acting as a dietary supplement as well as a food, even though nutritionists generally agree that individuals should get necessary nutrients from a variety of food groups rather than from vitamin and mineral supplements or fortified foods. Cereal is also the main source of iron and vitamin A in youngsters and the second largest source of vitamin C. Fruit drinks, which have low levels of actual fruit juice, make up about 14% of total vitamin C intake.
The findings are from a survey of more than 4,000 children aged 2 to 18. The researchers also found that the top sources of energy, fat, and protein are milk, yeast bread, cakes/cookies/quick breads/donuts, beef, and cheese. Low nutrient-dense foods are major contributors to energy, fats and carbohydrates. This compromises intakes of more nutritious foods and may impede compliance with current dietary guidance.
Pediatrics October, 1998;102:913-923
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Prescriptions for Ritalin are up 600 percent this decade. If the current rate of increase continues, some 8 million American schoolchildren will bo on the drug next year. The United States uses five times more Ritalin than the rest of the world COMBINED.
A study published in Science (September 1997) found no conclusive evidence of the long term benefits of stimulants like Ritalin in treating ADHD. Only about 70% of ADHD children tolerate Ritalin, while others become ill. Ritalin and cocaine share virtually the same properties. The key to understanding why so many kids are on Ritalin is in the above study.
Most kids, like their adult parents, are addicted to carbs. I would STRONGLY advise reviewing the Heller’s more current book Carbohydrate Addicted Kids, published this year, for a further explanation of this topic. If you have a child on Ritalin, please review Dr. Mary Anne Block’s book No More Ritalin as it is a classic. Our country would be so much healthier if we just tossed out the cereal, this includes the health food cereals. Grains are not healthy for most of us. We need VEGETABLES to stay healthy, not grains.