Here’s the Most Unhealthy Breakfast Cereal of All Time

Weirdly, it’s not the one that’s a literal bowl of cookies
Here’s the Most Unhealthy Breakfast Cereal of All Time

The days of anyone with any concern for their health considering most breakfast cereal “part of a complete breakfast” are long gone. To be honest, that whole presentation was a bit weird anyways, given that it was shown next to what looked like an entire hotel breakfast bar, a supposed day-starter capable of making a horse vomit. Nevertheless, even in reasonable portions, most people have clued in to the fact that our favorite cereals were more or less a vehicle for processed sugar, regardless of what fruits they may have been shaped into by some extruder.

Lets say you walk the left-hand path breakfast-wise, however. You are one of the few that indulges in breakneck hedonism as soon as your rise each morning. You dont eat the sensible, ennui-riddled meal that is an Adult Breakfast. No steel-cut oats, no plain yogurt, nor my personal breakfast of choice, a mug of black coffee and a 50-milligram Zoloft. If horrifically unhealthy breakfast cereal is your favored daily sin, then what cereal is the absolute worst you could choose?

First of all, it surprisingly isnt any of the ones you'd assume. If a gun was held to your head, like an immediately cancelled spin-off of Family Feud, and you were forced to name what youd think were the unhealthiest cereal, youd probably rattle off some of the usual suspects: Cookie Crisp. Reeses Puffs. Lucky Charms. Maybe Fruity Pebbles if youre going off the beaten path. Nope, choosing the cereal to lay a sugar-crystal crown on the brow of becomes a knock-down, drag-out fight between two cereals that hide their horrors under a remarkably beige exterior.


A wolf in puffed wheats clothing.

These two cereals are Golden Crisp and Honey Smacks. The two rivals share similarities. Theyre both officially described as “sweetened puffed wheat.” They both have a mascot that makes you go, “Oh yeah, that guy.” Finally, they are both, by weight, more than 50 percent pure sugar. In fact, sugar has always been their M.O., so much so that both have gone though a rebranding, originally named “Sugar Crisp” (still is, in Canada) and “Sugar Smacks.” Obviously, as we got closer to the 21st century, brands shied away from having the word “SUGAR” emblazoned across food they were trying to get parents to feed to their kids. Hence, the code words “Golden,” which is pure nothingness, and “Honey,” which is sugar with a healthy hat on.

So lets enter the Diabetes Dome and see which emerges as the sweetest of them all. The victor, by a bears nose, is Golden Crisp. In a single 38-gram serving, there are 21 grams of added sugar, on a nutrition label thats mostly occupied by zeroes otherwise. Meaning its 55 percent sugar. It should probably be advertised as “sugar with a crunchy cereal core!” Theres a half gram of fat for good measure, and 2 measly grams of protein, the equivalent of a gym rats cough. 

So how short does frog-fronted Honey Smacks fall? Thirty-six grams of Smacks contain 18 grams of sugar, enough to take it to the halfway mark, but not quite beyond the gates of saccharine Valhalla. It contains the same fat and protein content as Golden Crisp. But theres one final nail in its coffin (at least in terms of finishing second in the race to the nutritional bottom): It contains 2 grams of dietary fiber, which doctors, unfortunately, consider an essential part of a healthy diet.

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