Envision your ideal breakfast buffet — Belgian waffles, cinnamon rolls oozing with cream cheese frosting, and muffins that are frosted, glazed, and done every other way imaginable. And to top things off, a deluxe cereal station with the many, many types of cereal in existence.
Now pause for one second — what’s wrong with this picture?
Well, you’re currently browsing your way through a buffet of sugar, topped with sugar, then dusted in cinnamon sugar. Even the “healthiest” cereal option in front of you can easily run over 12 grams of sugar per serving.
The American Heart Association recommends people limit their sugar intake to 100-150 calories of sugar per day. With one gram of sugar costing you 4 calories, a cereal brand packing 15 grams of sugar would eat up — pun intended — 60% of your daily sugar allotment. In one bowl.
20 Types of Cereal With an Alarming Amount of Sugar and Carbs
The truth about sugar isn’t so sweet, and you may need to rethink your morning breakfast bowl. Lucky for you, there’s a sugary tasting, incredibly delicious bowl that presents a sweet alternative — but we’ll get to that later. First, it’s time to reveal the bitter truth about some of the most popular types of cereal and why you should probably stay far away from them if you know what’s good for you.
1. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
There’s a good chance that General Mills' Cinnamon Toast Crunch was one of your favorite childhood breakfast foods. But when you read the nutrition label, you’ll immediately place this formerly beloved box back on store shelves. Why? With 9 grams of sugar and 25 grams of carbs in just a 3/4 cup serving, it just isn’t the nutritious breakfast you need.
2. Lucky Charms
Hold up one second — you mean to tell us that a bowl of artificially colored marshmallows isn’t a healthy option? Imagine that.
With 22 grams of carbs and a whopping 10 grams of sugar packed into a 3/4 cup serving of Lucky Charms, it’s clear to see there’s nothing healthy waiting for you at the end of this rainbow.
3. Honey Nut Cheerios
Honey Nut Cheerios is one of the most well-known cereals on this list — and also one that’s best avoided. When the original whole-grain Cheerios costs you 20 grams of carbs per serving, you know adding a spoonful of honey won’t make things any brighter.
Honey Nut Cheerios contain 9 grams of sugar in just a 3/4 cup serving, while another product, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (their version of Apple Jacks), contains 9 grams of sugar and 22 grams of carbs. A bowl full of healthy O’s? More like a bowl full of sugary oh-nos.
4. Frosted Flakes
Looking for a bowl of cereal that’s anything but grrreat? Then look no further than a bowl of Frosted Flakes, which packs 34 grams of carbs and 14 grams of sugar per cup. Plus, with 140 calories smashed into one bowl, this Kellogg’s breakfast has a much better chance of weighing you down, rather than fueling you up.
5. Raisin Bran
OK, so Raisin Bran contains raisins. It should be healthy, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, this breakfast cereal contains more calories than most, weighing in just below 200 calories per cup. Plus, with 47 grams of carbs per serving, you’ll certainly experience a dramatic spike, then slump, in energy before lunch hits.
6. Cocoa Puffs
One of the most well-known, beloved chocolaty, crunchy cereals on store shelves, Cocoa Puffs comes with a slightly horrifying ingredients list. With 12 grams of sugar and 30 grams of carbs per serving, even Count Chocula himself would be scared.
7. Froot Loops
In our humble opinion, the most fun cereals are those that turn the milk a different color (Trix, Kix, Boo Berry cereal, Cap'n Crunch Blueberry, Crunch Berries, Franken Berry cereal … we could keep going).
That said, we wouldn’t touch Kellogg’s Froot Loops with a ten-foot pole. With 10 grams of sugar and 25 grams of carbs, we’ll stick to Cereal School Fruity instead.
8. Rice Krispies
At first glance, you might expect Rice Krispies to be low in sugar and calories. After all, there’s no frosting, marshmallows, or artificial food dyes in sight.
Well, unfortunately, Rice Krispies still come with 4 grams of sugar and 36 grams of carbs. Their chocolaty counterpart, Cocoa Krispies, is even worse, with 12 grams of sugar and 27 grams of carbs per serving. Might as well toss in the marshmallows and make yourself a Rice Krispies treat while you’re at it, right?
9. Cookie Crisp
While a bowl of cookies for breakfast may sound like a good time, the sugar crash that comes with it most certainly is not. Cookie Crisp comes with an astonishing 31 grams of carbs and 12 grams of added sugar. Frankly, you’d be better off sticking your hand in the cookie jar.
10. Reese’s Puffs
We used to love Reese’s Puffs when we were children. (Not surprising that all these years later, we had to make our own version.) With 12 grams of sugar and just 3 grams of protein per serving, this bowl will certainly not fuel you up.
With the first several ingredients of Honeycomb, including corn flour, sugar, and oat flour, you know the sugar and carb count is going to be staggering. And sure enough, it is. In one serving of this golden crisp Honeycomb, you’re getting 13 grams of sugar and 35 grams of total carbohydrates. Not exactly sweet news, is it?
12. Corn Pops
With 36 grams of carbs and 12 grams of sugar, you know that Corn Pops shouldn’t be your prized choice for the most important meal of the day. Plus, with the ingredients list including milled corn, sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and vegetable oil, you’re better off placing this box back on store shelves.
13. Frosted Mini-Wheats
With 210 calories per cup, Frosted Mini-Wheats is one of the highest-calorie cereals on this list. What’s more, those calories come with 12 grams of added sugar and a jaw-dropping 51 grams of carbohydrates. Wait, what? Yes, 51 grams of carbs. With just 5 grams of protein, you should put this box of shredded wheat squares in the shredder.
14. Honey Bunches of Oats
Oatmeal is healthy, and therefore a cereal boasting multigrain “oats” as one of the top ingredients should be healthy too, right? Not so fast. One cup of Honey Bunches of Oats will cost you 160 calories and an alarming amount of sugar. Other varieties, such as Apple Caramel Crunch, With Almonds, and Granola Maple Pecan are even worse than the original.
15. Cocoa Pebbles
With just 1 gram of protein in Cocoa Pebbles, you couldn’t possibly expect this cereal to fuel you through the lunch hour. Cocoa Pebbles comes stacked with 10 grams of sugar and 25 grams of carbs. Its brother and sister cereals, Fruity Pebbles and Peanut Butter Cocoa Pebbles, don’t fare much better. Both varieties contain 9 grams of sugar and over 20 grams of carbs.
We were oh-so sorely disappointed in this supposed breakfast of champions. With Wheaties, you’re not getting the fuel you need to hit the gym (or even an Excel spreadsheet, for that matter). With 30 grams of carbs and 5 grams of sugar, the only thing you’ll be hitting is a wall — probably around 11 a.m.
17. Special K Red Berries
Special K had an entire diet dedicated to its existence, so you’d think it would be at least a bit healthy. Unfortunately, Special K Red Berries (made with strawberries) contains 11 grams of sugar, 34 grams of carbs, and just a mere 3 grams of protein. Special K is not OK.
18. Kashi Go Peanut Butter Crunch
Kashi likes to brag about their supposed health benefits, but we see straight through their clever packaging. In a bowl of Peanut Butter Crunch, you’ll get 10 grams of sugar and a jaw-dropping 230 calories. Plus, you’ll have to down corn oil, molasses, and cane sugar in every spoonful.
19. Rice Chex
Rice Chex has a few good qualities — it’s gluten-free, which earns a big thumbs up from us. Unfortunately, it’s among those types of cereal that don’t carry much nutrition. With just 2 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbs per one-cup serving, Rice Chex won’t help you stay full (or feel good) throughout your day.
Ever since you were a child, your grandma tooted Grape-Nuts’ horn for the supposed health benefits. And while they do contain a high amount of dietary fiber, they will weigh you down with 400 calories in just one cup — more calories than any other cereal on this list.
For the Best Type of Cereal, Choose Cereal School
For a low-calorie, high-protein, sugar-free, and low-carb cereal, Cereal School makes the cut every time. Cereal School is the high-protein cereal that comes without the sugar crash, helping you power through your workday (or workout).
We made Cereal School in all your favorite flavors to replace those that come packed with carbs and sugar. With flavors like Cinnamon Bun, Fruity, Cocoa, and Peanut Butter, you’re sure to find a high-powered cereal to replace any other variety on this list. Your taste buds and body will thank you.