Why You Should Think Twice About Eating Trix Cereal

Ah, General Mills. We meet again. It's becoming clear that the ties that bind you and your cereal comrades together are fraying at the edges. Perhaps, as they continue to be pulled apart — by journalists, food bloggers, and the lip-smacking literati of the breakfast world — the curtain that hides the inner-workings of Big Cereal will begin to unravel completely.

Today, the spotlight is on Trix, that colorful bowl of artificially-flavored cornmeal, permanently tailed by a ravenous rabbit who, like Wile E. Coyote before him, is engaged in an eternal struggle to obtain that which will always be just beyond his reach. The Trix Rabbit takes step after step towards his goal, unaware he is climbing the Penrose stairs. His is an unquenchable thirst, a quest for the holy grail that can never be completed; for, as we all well know, Trix are for kids.

But if that bowl of cereal is the carrot dangling at the end of a string, the real question is: who is holding the stick?

Why Trix isn't your best breakfast option

General Mills is once again disinclined to comment; though, as their historical blog makes obvious, they don't mind using the Trix Rabbit for fun and games. In 2015, GM ran a contest to find a "real" Trix Rabbit, calling into question the validity — indeed, the rabbithood — of the Trix Rabbit himself. Incidentally, the contest was intended to celebrate the removal of artificial colors and flavors from the cereal — a move that GM reversed not two years later (via Yahoo Finance). 

It turns out that without artificial coloring and flavoring, it's a bit tricky, so to speak, to get all those neon greens and electric blues into every fruity bite. This is probably because those colors don't actually occur in nature. 

"We heard from many Trix fans that they missed the bright, vibrant colors and the nostalgic taste of the classic Trix cereal," a spokesperson for the company said. So, out went the turmeric, radishes and strawberries, in came the dyes and sugars. According to Time, Trix is 38 percent sugar, and for a cereal that is aggressively marketed towards children, that's a lot. The American Heart Association recommends kids stay under the 25 gram per day mark when it comes to added sugars, and for adults the limit is not much higher. As for our furry friends, on the other hand...

Silly rabbit, or silly us?

Let's delve deeper into this (so-called) "Silly Rabbit," shall we, dear reader? According to Rabbit Care Tips, rabbits are comparable in intelligence to dogs and cats, and they can even solve logic puzzles and learn tricks; so the condescending moniker doesn't exactly suit. More worrying is the fact that rabbits are notoriously vegan, with hay and leafy greens making up the bulk of their diet (via VCA). As you may recall from eating Trix as a child, there aren't many fibrous lettuce leaves in the mix.

So who is the silly one, here? Does it make sense that the Trix Rabbit has such insatiable thirst for a cereal that even humans know to steer clear of? Which is more likely: that the Trix Rabbit is a conniving sugar fiend, ready to hop over any children who get between him and his artificially flavored cornballs? Or that, perhaps, this friendly, intelligent creature, whose diet consists primarily of hay and whose creator also birthed the comparably trivialized Underdog character (via General Mills), has repeatedly tried to take Trix away from kids — not for selfish gain, but to protect our children from artificial colors and flavors, from grams of sugar...from themselves?

Maybe the Trix Rabbit is not so silly, after all. Maybe we owe him a debt of gratitude.