A new report out today (19 July) has found that despite their healthy image many breakfast cereals contain high levels of fat, salt and sugar - with some containing as much fat and sugar as a bar of chocolate or packet of potato crisps.

Consumer group Which? surveyed 275 different types of cereal from a range of retailers and manufacturers. More than three quarters, 76%, of the cereals had high levels of sugar, while 19% had high levels of salt and 7% had high levels of saturated fat.

According to standards set out by the UK's Food Standards Agency's traffic light labelling scheme, only 13% of cereals tested in the survey scored a green light for sugar. Of those scoring a red light, the worst offenders were Morrison's and Asda's Golden Puffs, both of which contained 55g of sugar per 100g.

One-fifth of cereals tested contained significant amounts of salt and would have scored a red light under the FSA's traffic lights system. Despite their healthy image, Which? said, Kellogg's All-Bran and Morrisons Right Balance had the highest amount of salt per suggested portion size.

The level of saturated fats in most cereals was found to be medium to low. However, Which? identified some notable exceptions. Sainsbury's Crunchy Oat Cereal was found to contain the same amount of fat as the supermarket's thick pork sausages - 20.3g of fat per 100g. Jordan's Country Crisp Four Nut Combo contained 28.5g per 100g -around the same amount of fat as a McDonald's McBacon Roll. Meanwhile three cereals were found to contain 4g of saturated fat per suggested serving - the equivalent of eating two fried eggs: Asda Hawaiian Crunch, Sainsbury's Crunchy Oat and Asda Passion Fruit Crisp.

The survey noted that 88% of cereals marketed to children were high in sugar, while 13% were high in salt and 10% were high in saturated fat.

According to the consumer group, the three "worst offenders" were Quaker Oatso Simple Kids, Kellogg's Coco Pops Straws and Mornflake Pecan and Maple Crisp, all of which would get red lights for sugar and saturates. Which? said Kellogg's Coco Pop Straws, for example, contain the same amount of sugar as a two finger Kit Kat (34g per 100g).

Commenting on the report Sue Davies, chief policy adviser at Which?, said: "With so much public concern about obesity and diet-related disease we're particularly concerned that most cereals marketed to children are still high in sugar, and many are high in salt too. We want manufacturers to make further cuts to salt levels, reduce fat (including saturates) and sugar and remove all unnecessary trans fats, as well as marketing their products more responsibly."

The consumer group supports the FSA's traffic lights labelling scheme, which has been resisted by many food manufacturers and retailers.

Manufacturers "can also help consumers make easier, healthier choices by applying the FSA's traffic light labelling system to their products. That way people can identify cereals high in fat, salt and sugar at a glance," Davies concluded.