For decades, we’ve been told that cereal, be it sugar-free or sugar-coated, is a part of a “complete balanced breakfast.” But take a second and think about this: Why would something that has nearly the same amount of sugar as a candy bar be considered a decent breakfast? We’ve crunched some numbers and have tracked down the 10 breakfast cereals that have the highest percentage of sugar.
Breakfast cereal, which has seen its sales decline in recent years, didn’t used to be full of sugar; the oldest cereals, like Corn Flakes, Wheaties, and Shredded Wheat, barely have any sugar at all. But during the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, when the market was being flooded with kid-oriented cereals, companies started packing them with as much sugar as possible, and didn’t hide the fact that their products were as sweet as candy; many put the word “sugar” right in the name, like Sugar Smacks (later changed to Honey Smacks) and Sugar Frosted Flakes (later shortened to Frosted Flakes). Theyyyyyyyy’re… 37 percent sugar!
In order to assemble our ranking, we examined the nutrition labels of all the major brands. We then ranked them by the percentage of sugar in the cereal (calculated by dividing the sugar per serving by the serving size, both listed in grams), and also included 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 (which contain about four grams of sugar each) would be, for comparison’s sake.
The most sugary cereals on the market have a sugar content that exceeds 50 percent the weight of the cereal, which is completely absurd. Think about it: That’s like filling up a bowl with cereal and removing half, and the remaining amount would be pure sugar. For comparison’s sake, a Snickers bar is 45 percent sugar, Hershey’s milk chocolate contains 56 percent sugar, the average chocolate chip cookie contains 30 to 35 percent sugar, Haribo gummy bears contain 54 percent sugar, Twinkies contain 45 percent sugar, and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup contains 47 percent sugar. What we’re saying is… You might want to stick with Corn Flakes.