Unhealthy Cereals Declining in Popularity

Excessive sugar intake is a really underrated health risk. As with the declining popularity of soda, sugary cereals are also facing more scrutiny as people generally understand more about the risks of consuming too much sugar.

Mass marketers of breakfast cereals have been in a downward sales spiral for about a decade, so they’re getting back to their roots (sort of). Few folks know that some of the oldest and biggest brands of today’s artificially flavored, neon-colored, empty-calorie cereals started out as health foods, often springing from religious or utopian movements.

For instance, Ralston Purina’s Wheat Chex cereal was first packaged in 1937 under the name of Shredded Ralston, specially formulated for followers of Ralstonism. What was that? A strict, bizarre, racist cult with a demonic mission: To make America a nation of Caucasian purity. Webster Edgerly, the unhinged founder of Ralstonism, proposed an efficient means for achieving his pure-white dream world: Castrate all males of “impure” lineages at birth.

The big manufacturers today aren’t going full-tilt Ralstonist to reclaim market share, but they are going back to pitching their products as health food, hoping to woo millennials who want cereals with more protein, fiber, and natural ingredients and none of the artificial additives the industry has been dumping into its Choka-Mocha-Salted-Sugar Bombs. Some brands are seeking Good-For-Ya credibility by buying out organic brands such as Kashi (consumed by Kellogg’s) and Annie’s Homegrown (swallowed by General Mills). But the sweeping shift of this $10-billion market to healthier alternatives is, in fact, an enormous, grassroots victory, driven by the organic movement, groups like Center for Science in the Public Interest, Good Food entrepreneurs, fearless nutritionists and especially by countless moms, dads and kids who simply refused to swallow the industry’s crap.

It’s worth noting the recommendation that sugar intake mostly be limited to 35-50 grams a day. It’s also my own experience that telling people about the merits of watching their sugar consumption helps them lose unnecessary weight.