The sweet scent of Froot Loops sticks with you. That’s why, even though I hadn’t actually eaten that staple of the cereal aisle since the 1990s, I occasionally daydreamed about buying a box in recent years.
Sugary cereals were typically off-limits to me during my youth, the result of being the son of a dental hygienist who was always wary of the negative effects of sugar. As a result, unhealthy cereals rarely crossed my lips.
Finally, while stuck at home (and going stir crazy) during the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to spend $20 and buy every sugary cereal I had ever dreamt of.
Not only was I nostalgic, but, as someone who’s now a father of two toddlers, I was also curious to test the effects cereal can have on the human body and whether or not, as healthline.com suggests, eating sugary breakfasts can cause your body to crave carbohydrates later in the day.
Here’s what $20 worth of processed, assembly-line cereal did to me, over the course of one week.
Day 1: Honeycombs
As a kid, I always loved sitting in the grocery cart while my parents shopped. However, I loathed trips through the cereal aisle, as Lucky Charms and Cocoa Crispies taunted me. I knew my mom would reflexively swat my hand if I dared try to sneak such unhealthy items into our cart.
So, I eagerly anticipated the start of my weeklong cereal binge. Since Honeycombs always seemed so exciting during the TV commercials of my youth, I tried them first. The verdict: they weren’t terrible, but they weren’t at all exciting, either, and lost their flavor quickly once submerged in milk. Honeycombs have nearly 22 carbs per 1-cup serving, too, which isn’t ideal for someone who eats large meals as I do.
Day 2: Corn Pops
Corn Pops also called to me. I occasionally ate these during summers as a kid, while on vacations to the family cabin in Minnesota. Sadly, they weren’t as good as I remembered.
Corn Pops can’t be considered remotely healthy, either: Although they don’t have an abundance of sodium (100 mg per 27-gram serving), this Kellogg’s cereal does have 25 grams of carbs, coupled with 11 grams of sugar. I noticed, over the course of the week, that cereals this sugary made my energy crash a couple of hours after I ate them.
Day 3: Apple Jacks
Unexciting to say the least, Apple Jacks tasted like a far-lesser version of Froot Loops. If I never eat them again, I won’t be disappointed. This overly sugary cereal (14.5 grams per cup) was the most lackluster of the bunch I tried.
Day 4: Frosted Flakes
Frosted Flakes have one serious knock against them: an abundance of sodium — a whopping 170 mg per suggested serving size (34 grams of cereal). Frosted Flakes (14 grams of sugar per serving) are also reportedly among the sweetest of breakfast cereals, with only Cap’n Crunch (17 grams) packing significantly more sugar per serving. Not surprisingly, my kids preferred Tony the Tiger’s breakfast of choice.
Frosted Flakes were probably my favorite among the cereals I tried, too. They stayed crunchy longer than their competition, for one thing. Again, though, they did provide a fairly notable sugar crash roughly two hours after eating.
Day 5: Froot Loops
Finally, we met again, old friend.
Froot Loops were my favorite breakfast as a kid, on the rare occasion I was allowed them. As such, I eagerly anticipated diving into a bowl, accompanied with that trademark, citrus-y scent.
I ripped open my box of Froot Loops, only to discover that the kids’ cereal now has colors like blue, green, and purple?! They didn’t have those colors when I was younger, and I’d argue that their addition does nothing to add to Froot Loops’ flavor. Sadly this cereal, with its 26 carbs per serving, just wasn’t as good as I remembered. As with other sugary cereals, I ate this week, Froot Loops seemed to cause me to get hungrier and hungrier as the day went on.
And, like the other sugary cereals I consumed this week, Froot Loops left me largely unfulfilled. Some things, it appears, are best left in the past.
Ultimately, my breakfast-cereal binge left me unfulfilled. Most of the kids’ cereals failed to deliver in terms of taste. And, the sugary breakfasts often caused my energy to plummet later in the day.
In fact, Froot Loops actually seemed to make me get hungrier as the day went on. At least for me, kids’ breakfast cereals simply weren’t worth the money.