Prepackaged breakfast cereals have come a long way from their roles as digestion aids that were supposed to be non-stimulating starts to the day. Boxed cereal was actually pioneered by two men with familiar surnames and conservative religious backgrounds: John Kellogg and Charles Post. Their products were meant to be convenient, healthy, and reflect certain religious traits like abstinence and humility. However, it didn’t take very long for cartoon mascots, prizes, and ambitious advertising to pave the way for the modern landscape that makes up our choices for the so-called "most important meal of the day." The fact that a bland product with origins steeped in temperance mutated into confections marketed by animated, over-the-top, anthropomorphic spokes-creatures is fascinating and a little bizarre.
Granted, many of us aren’t completely puritanical, but the over-the-top sweetness of some of the cereals on the market just might surprise you. However, while we still have a market saturated with unhealthy choices, our modern-day understanding of the correlation between what we put in our bodies and our health has curbed some of the more brazen tactics of the cereal industry.
For example, there was a time when putting the word "sugar" in your product’s name (more on that when we reveal our top two sugary cereals) was just fine and dandy — but that may not fly in today's health-conscious market. We also now know that putting a bowl of junk food next to some orange juice and toast doesn’t really constitute a "complete, balanced breakfast."
To come up with our list of the 10 most sugary cereals in America, we examined the nutrition labels of all the major brands. We then ranked them by the amount of sugar each cereal had in a 35-gram serving, which is about the equivalent of a cup (most actual portion sizes are even larger than that, sometimes by double). We also figured out what the equivalent amount of sugar packets (on average about 4 grams of sugar each) would be, for comparison’s sake.
Click through our slideshow to learn which cereals are the most sugary, and be prepared to think twice the next time you find yourself in the cereal aisle.