Bright and colorful, speckled with marshmallows or cocoa (or both) and, of course, hawked by fun characters: What’s not for kids to love when it comes to brand-name cereals? Plenty, when it comes to the small matter of which cereals have the most sugar.
Breakfast matters, after all. But while this stuff makes mealtime fun, parents, on the other hand, are on to this sweet scheme. And in some cases, the truth is enough to turn your stomach – or at least make you really consider breaking the sugar habit in your family.
Wondering just which of those colorful and cleverly named cereals have the most sugar? So were we.
Lucky for families, the Harvard School of Public Health‘s Breakfast Cereal Sugar Content List did a lot of the dirty detective work, detailing dozens of popular brands.
Pulling from that — as well as roundup of the 10 worst children’s cereals, by the Environmental Working Group from 2011 (in 2014, its most recent update, the group noted it found “not one on the 2011 ‘worst’ list had lowered its sugar content over the last three years”) – we created our own top 10 list of offenders, based on sheer percentages of sugar.
When it comes to dietary guidelines, these options certainly aren’t your allies. So hold onto your nutrition labels. Let’s find out where your kid’s favorite cereal ranks.
9. Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (32%)
Don’t let the fruit in the name fool you — these flavored Cheerios are sweetened with 12 grams of sugar per 1 cup serving.
8. Lucky Charms, Apple Jacks, Cocoa Puffs, Count Chocula (33%)
It’s a four-way tie for 8th place, but it’s no surprised that these cereals are more than one-third sugar. After all, two of them are all chocolate flavor!
7. Waffle Crisp (38%)
You won’t always find Waffle Crisp on the shelves of your grocery store (it’s been discontinued several times) but as of 2022, the cereal is back, bringing 15 grams of sugar per serving with it.
5. Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries (43%)
Making his first of several appearances, the kindly Cap’n’s “fortified” spin on berries promises “a balanced breakfast you can feel good about eating when paired with low-fat milk and fruit or a glass of 100% juice.” And 43% sugar!
4. Quaker Oats Oh!s (44%)
Quaker oatmeal may be a hearty, nutritious breakfast but the Quaker cereals? Not so much. Those “good things in the middle”? Probably all sugar.
3. Cap’n Crunch, Cap’n Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries (45%)
Mr. Crunch is at it again. And his little berry mishap has resulted in nearly 45% sugar, based on weight.
2. Honey Smacks (50%)
When it comes to the sugar smack-down, there’s no question: That frog gets the job done. This Kellogg’s product has 18 grams of sugar per serving. Appropriately enough, it launched in 1953 as – wait for it – Sugar Smacks. Dig’em!
1. Post Golden Crisp (58%)
Topping the list, appropriately enough, is Sugar Bear. For over 50 years, this guy’s been sharing his sweet tooth. “Can’t get enough of that… ” may be his tagline, but not exactly a healthy breakfast table mantra!
Looking for some alternatives to other common sugary snacks? Browse this list of healthy alternatives.
This post is updated regularly.
Follow Metro Parent on Instagram.