breakfast cereal in bowl with green background

The Big Breakfast Cereal Comeback

Despite warnings that cereal was becoming a relic of the past, the sugary breakfast has had an impressive resurgence. But at what cost?

Back in 2015, The Atlantic proclaimed Greek yogurt and other healthier substitutes of being a cereal killer, and arrogantly pronounced the breakfast staple as nearly dead. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that quarantine surprisingly brought cereal sales back to life. 

According to Nielsen data, the sales of breakfast cereal increased 28 percent during the first eight weeks of lockdown. After a 0.6 percent drop in 2019, and a 1.4 percent decline in 2018, cereal sales increased 9 percent in 2020 overall.

Today, the industry appears to be back on track, with experts projecting about 2.33 percent annual growth. 

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Unfortunately for everyone’s health, much of this growth has been driven by breakfast cereal’s not-so-secret, arguably addictive ingredient: sugar, baby. 

“The Pebbles brand has been on fire,” Tom Dixon, chief growth officer for Post Consumer Brands, told CNN, adding the demand for Honeycomb and Honey Bunches of Oats also experienced an increased demand.  

To put it in perspective, the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends 12 teaspoons of sugar a day for a 2,000 calorie diet, or about 50 grams a day. Fruity Pebbles has about 9 grams of sugar per .75 cup.

The typical cereal bowl is about 4 to 6 cups, meaning for you’d be ingesting as much as 60 grams of sugar before you even start your day. 

Dietitian Dana Hunnes and nutritional therapist Varsha Khatri agree, and both warned Yahoo News that sugary cereals can lead to blood sugar spikes and slower metabolic rates. This is particularly true for individuals above the age of 40.

No matter how old you are, “cereals are one of the most high-sugar foods,” Khatri said. “When you start your day with anything that is high in sugar or sweetener, you are more likely to crave sugar or other sweet foods throughout the day, which means you are more likely to snack just to maintain blood sugar levels.”

In the end, maybe Trix are for kids.