The breakfast cereal aisle of the grocery store is lined with boxes upon boxes of tasty cereals that are full of chocolate pieces, marshmallows, and other sugar-laden foods that are bad for our health and waistlines. And while adults may gravitate toward the healthier-looking granolas with whole grains and plenty of dried fruit and nuts, the problem is that these options may not actually be any healthier than the cereals you ate as a kid.
These are the top seven unhealthy breakfast cereals that you shouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.
7. General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Cinnamon Toast Crunch may look innocent and taste totally delicious, but with the name alluding to toast covered in butter, cinnamon, and sugar, then you know it’s going to be unhealthy. The cinnamon swirls that are supposedly found in this cereal are evidence to prove that when you pour yourself a bowl of these (which is likely to be more than the recommended serving size of ¾ cup), then you’re in for a sugar rush.
There are 10 grams of sugar in a serving of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and the measly serving size also includes nearly 200 calories.
6. General Mills’ Cocoa Puffs
The second ingredient in this breakfast cereal is sugar, which isn’t a good place to start. The amount of sugar in this breakfast favorite makes up 40% of the calories.
While the plentiful sugar may give you a rush of energy initially, you’re destined to crash shortly after. A diet heavy in sugar leaves you feeling unsatisfied and more likely to eat more calories than you really need.
5. Kellogg’s Cap’n Crunch
Like a bad movie series that just won’t stop, the scary thing about Cap’n Crunch isn’t that there’s one variety, it’s that there’s so many that everywhere in the isle you’re bound to be facing some version of this cereal. According to Livestrong.com, you can get Cap’n Crunch Original Crunch, Crunch Berries, Oops! All Berries, Peanut Butter Crunch, and even seasonal options like Christmas Crunch. The small serving size of ¾ cup of cereal will provide you with 12 grams of sugar, 23 grams of carbs, and not anything nutritious.
4. Kellogg’s Froot Loops
This classic cereal is likely to wreak some serious havoc on your body if you’re consuming it daily, and while you may have been able to eat it as a kid and not experience weight gain, it’s unlikely you’ll get away unscathed as an adult. Kellogg’s Froot Loops come in an array of colors, meaning there’s a whole lot of artificial dye in that box of cereal that you’re going to consume. In a ½ cup (which is barely enough to fill your bowl with milk added), you’ll be eating a whopping 12 grams of sugar. There’s also BHT found in Froot Loops, which is a common preservative in cereals that could potentially be harmful to humans.
3. Kellogg’s Apple Jacks
It has a fresh fruit in the name, so it couldn’t possibly be that bad, right? Like most of the cereals on this list, the sugar content is out of this world — in 1 cup of the cereal, there are 12 grams of sugar. And, because the cereal itself is brightly colored with red and green food dyes, you’ll also be ingesting BHT, which could be carcinogenic and is most definitely not good for you. The hydrogenated oils that are also added into this cereal make this one you should definitely skip for breakfast.
2. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks
They’re not as offensively colored as Froot Loops, so at least this breakfast cereal has that going for it, but nevertheless, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks can do serious damage to your health. This cereal consists of sweetened puffed wheat, which doesn’t seem so bad until you look at the nutrition facts. There’s about 100 calories per ¾ cup of Honey Smacks, but somehow they also managed to pack in 15 grams of sugar.
1. Jordan’s Country Crisp with Crunchy Chunky Nuts
This cereal is perhaps the most sinister of them all, primarily because of how it’s marketed toward health-conscious adults. The cereal contains a variety of good ingredients like whole grains, flaked almonds, roasted hazelnuts, and pecans, and you can either eat it like a regular bowl of cereal or add it like a granola atop your yogurt.
The problem arises when you take a look at the calories, fat content, and sugar content of Jordan’s Country Crisp. Dietician Catherine Collins for The Daily Mail explains that 44% of the calories in this cereal come from fat, and there’s not more dietary fiber here than you’ll find in any other cereal. In 100 grams of the cereal, which is about what a serving size would be, there are over 450 calories.
Additional reporting by Evie Carrick.