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New 'Cheerios Protein' cereal in trouble for its health claims

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

Is Cheerios Protein basically just sugar?

The new cereal line is supposed to be a healthier option, but a class-action lawsuit claims it's anything but.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is complaining that the marketing of Cheerios Protein is misleading. While the new cereal has 7 grams of protein to the original Cheerios' 3, the serving size for Cheerios Protein is also 28 grams larger, which the CSPI says accounts for most of the extra protein per serving.

More: Cheerios recall: 1.8 million boxes marked 'gluten-free' may contain wheat

But most alarming is the amount of sugar in a serving of Cheerios Protein. A 1-1/4-cup serving of the cereal has 17 grams of sugar, while 1 cup of regular Cheerios has just 1 gram of sugar.

Since Cheerios Protein has been marketed as a "great start to your day," the CSPI argues that General Mills is liable for misleading customers who thought it was a healthy choice.

More: If you've been glutened by Cheerios, the FDA wants to know

This is especially concerning when you consider the fact that dry Cheerios are often fed to babies and toddlers as a healthy snack. If parents purchased Cheerios Protein because it was marketed as a health food, they must be alarmed to discover that the cereal is higher in sugar than original Cheerios.

In the meantime, General Mills told ABC News, "Cheerios Protein is accurately labeled... An equal amount of Cheerios Protein contains 18 percent more protein by weight than original Cheerios."

However, the company had no comment on the dramatically different sugar content between the two cereals.

More: Gluten-free pumpkin granola will replace your morning cereal

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