Sugar-Coating Cereal Ads

Ah, the cereal aisle! It's a goldmine for manufacturers and a landmine for parents.

Make it through safely and you've got a healthy breakfast, but accompanied by children who've seen ads and movies it can be a diet disaster.

Most parents know the difference.

"If you look at the ingredients, its just not healthy," says one parent.

But, as CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin reports, they'll often buy it anyway.

"It makes them happy," says one parent.

And why are the kiddies clamoring for Cocoa Puffs?

Just take a look at the commercials!

The way sweetened cereals are advertised has become one of the most contentious topics in nutrition.

Critics charge the cereal companies are irresponsible, preying on kids at a time when childhood obesity is a growing crisis.

Manufacturers are responding to the snap crackle and pop of the cereal controversy.

In January, Kraft voluntarily stopped advertising sugary cereals to 6- to 11-year-olds, and last month, General Mills launched a new approach - an ad campaign simply urging kids to "choose breakfast."

The paid 10-second spots never mention cereal. The catch, of course, is they'll be aired alongside longer commercials for General Mills brands.

Some say the move is deceptive, but nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix doesn't care.

Only 40 percent of American kids eat breakfast, she says. Even sweetened cereal with milk and fruit is better than nothing.

"There are so many ways that that little bowl of cereal can really become a whole bouquet of vitamins and minerals for a kid to start his day on," say Taub-Dix.

She has trained her three sons to mix and match the sweet and the sensible. Her youngest, Jesse, demonstrates by mixing a cereal with 10 grams of sugar with one that has only 1 gram of sugar.

It's a healthy tip, since kids won't be giving up cereal anytime soon, and advertisers are even less likely to stop trying to sell it.