The Reason Apple Jacks Cereal Isn't A Good Choice For Breakfast

We know it's way easier to just pick up a box of cereal at the grocery store and toss it into your cart without checking its (sometimes extensive) ingredients list, but hear us out on this: some of your favorites might be less healthy than you think. Eat This, Not That! ranked 28 popular cereal brands according to how unhealthy their nutrition content is, and the results are kind of alarming. Here's the information:

Honey Smacks takes first place — for being the least healthy, with 60 percent of its calories coming from sugar. And the runner-up? None other than — you guessed it — Apple Jacks. Yes, we're talking about the beloved Apple Jacks cereal that sounds so healthy because there's a fruit in its name. Plot twist: in lieu of a plethora of fruit, there are a whole lot of other unhealthy and unnatural ingredients in every bite.

Apple Jacks might take second place in Eat This, Not That!'s list, but it doesn't fall too far behind its competition. According to Kellogg's website, one and one-third cup of "jacks" contains 150 calories, 13 grams of sugar, 1.5 grams of fat (0.5 saturated), 210 mg of sodium, 34 grams of carbs, two grams of protein, and two grams of fiber. Let's break that down, starting with its sugar content.

The lowdown on Apple Jacks' nutrition label

With 13 grams of sugar in every one-and-a-third cups of cereal, it's no surprise that sugar is the second ingredient listed on its nutrition label. Since nutrition labels list ingredients in order of quantity, that means there's more sugar than anything (besides corn flour blend) in the cereal.

As a reminder, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that an average adult consumes no more than 50 mg of sugar per day, which means if you have one-and-one-third cups of Apple Jacks (not including milk) for breakfast, you've already consumed 26 percent of an average adult's recommended daily sugar intake.

Sugar aside, there are a few other ingredients that you should also be on the lookout for, like food dyes. Apple Jacks contains Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 1. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), all of the latter have been known to cause allergic reactions in some people, and Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are contaminated with known carcinogens. "FDA tests show that the three most-widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are tainted with low levels of cancer-causing compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl in Yellow 5," says the CSPI.

The bottom line? Always double-check a product's ingredient list before making a purchase — and be sure you don't make these common mistakes when reading its nutrition label.