Popular ’90s Foods That Everyone Ate, But Were Probably Killing Us
We all have that one thing we love about the ’90s. Maybe it was the grunge music and combat boots, or maybe it was watching Clueless over and over again. And there’s one thing for sure — everyone had their favorite foods, too.
These classic snacks may bring back fond memories now, but did you know just how unhealthy they were when you were chowing down? Sorry to burst your bubble, but here’s the truth about a few of those iconic treats.
1. Lay’s WOW! Chips
You remember scarfing down these “healthy” chips in the ’90s. Unfortunately, consumers discovered the negative side effects of olestra, which was the fat-free oil substitute Frito-Lay used in the product, TIME reports. Olestra doesn’t allow your body to absorb essential vitamins, which can lead to a wealth of issues like cramping, loose bowels, and gas. There’s a reason the company went back to the traditional way of making chips after this disaster.
Adored by kids (and secretly loved by adults), Dunkaroos were a classic sugary delight that you probably have fond memories of. We hate to rain on your parade, but just one small package contained 120 calories, nearly 5 grams of fat, and 13 grams of sugar. And if you were like the rest of us, you probably ate two or three packs of Dunkaroos a day to go with your Pop-Tart for breakfast and Jawbreaker for dessert.
3. Sunny Delight
It looks a lot like orange juice — just really, really artificial orange juice. If you drank Sunny D for breakfast every morning, you were taking in way more sugar and calories than you needed to start your day. There’s a whopping 27 grams of sugar in just 16 ounces of this drink. And don’t be fooled by the incredible amount of vitamin C. Once you get your daily intake (which isn’t too hard to achieve with a modern diet), your body flushes out the rest.
4. Push Pops
This sticky candy was all over your clothes and car seats before you could even take the first lick. Push Pops were incredibly messy (but tasty — we’ll give them that) lollipops that were a mainstay for many in the ’90s. And when Jumbo Push Pops came out, there was even more of the flavorful fun to go around. You probably didn’t realize that one Jumbo Push Pop contained 140 calories and 24 grams of sugar, though. It’s a good thing we’re all older and wiser now.
5. SnackWell’s Devil’s Food Cookie Cakes
The fat-free trend really gained traction in the ’90s. And SnackWell’s brand of cookies and sweets really took off when they embraced it. The Devil’s Food Cookie Cakes were a favorite among many — and for zero fat and few calories, what’s not to love? Unfortunately, these cookie cakes are still high in sugar (it’s the first ingredient, after all), invert sugar, and corn syrup. And we now know that fat isn’t what makes you gain weight — it’s the sweet stuff and carb overload that’s responsible.
6. Oreo O’s cereal
It was like Cookie Crisp — but even better. Post’s Oreo O’s cereal was everything an Oreo lover could ask for in a cereal. And the calorie count wasn’t that outrageous considering you were eating cookies with milk before you even started your day. Unfortunately, in just 1 cup, you were also getting 12 grams of sugar. It’s no wonder the cereal was discontinued.
Sorry — these to-go lunches were (and still are) truly horrible for your health. HuffPost notes the meats in Lunchables are so highly processed that they barely represent an animal product at all, and the crackers and pizza crusts are mostly made of refined flour, oils, sugar, and preservatives. They contain way too much sodium and saturated fat, too, especially if you or your child consumed them back in the day.
There may be some hope on the horizon, though — Today reports Lunchables may be hopping on the organic bandwagon. This means less artificial flavorings and preservatives.