Boomers Recall The Sweet Taste of A Successful Breakfast

Remember when you were young, and sugar was a good thing? Companies, in fact, thought so much of sugar in the 1960s that they could openly advertise their products as made with the real deal. No one advertised with more gusto than the cereal companies, and of course, we all remember those classic commercials for Sugar Pops, Sugar Frosted Flakes and Sugar Smacks.

That’s right, boys and girls, the Sugar Pops jingle said:

Oh, the pops are sweeter
and the taste is new
They’re shot with sugar,
through and through.

While Mister B loved Kellogg’s Sugar Pops, Mister B’s sister was a Frosted Flakes and Smacks fan. Suffice it to say, the Boomer household was a real sugar shack at the breakfast table. Even Mister B’s family dog got into the act. When Mister B had consumed his portion of the golden nuggets, the remaining milk in the bowl was an eerie pool of sweet, unnatural yellow. The dog, a good-sized German Shorthair, would climb on one of the vinyl-seated chairs within reach and lick the milk right out of the bowl until Mister B shooed him away.

About the same time boomers were being marketed to with catchy jingles and cartoon characters on the sugar cereal front, the debate grew on water fluoridation. Though it had existed in some areas since 1951, now it was coming to Mister B’s neck of the woods. By 1960, it was in wide use. The American Dental Association and a host of others backed the fluoridation as a way of improving overall dental health. Others saw it as an unnatural addition and a danger to the water supply. Certainly, post World War II was a time for dental health awareness, as annual cleanings in schools became the norm. Was it a way to combat the cavities that would result from the widespread consumption of sugar-coated cereals? Compared to the diets of many of today’s youngsters, boomers’ diets would have been considered outright healthy, yet boomers did get their fair share of cavities. Who knows? It may have been a symbiotic relationship that helped both industries to grow right along with boomers.

In the end, water fluoridation won out in many areas — including Mister B’s — and the practice continues for the water supply of more than 70 percent of the country today. Toothpaste commercials cropped up to remind us we would “wonder where the yellow went.” Crest, Colgate and Pepsodent were the big brands in our area. They say people tend to take their toothpaste choices right on into adulthood. Mister B can’t say the sugar cereals fared as well. Somehow Corn Pops, Frosted Flakes and Honey Smacks didn’t grab the attention of the children of boomers with the same heft that it did to the boomer generation.

Today it looks like the sugar battle is poised to have a mini-return with sugar as the good guy, or at least the better guy than the alternatives. High-fructose corn syrup has surpassed the volume of sugar in cereals and has kept on going to permeate practically every form of processed food boomers and their families consume. PepsiCo has released, at various intervals in recent years, retro sodas like Pepsi and Mountain Dew Throwback for a limited run. These soda pops are made with sugar rather than corn syrup, just like boomers remember.

How about it boomers, will the taste be sweeter and everything old is new again? And how about it, American Dental Association? Will Pepsi Throwback and similar retro sugar-based foods and beverages earn the ADA seal of approval?

(This is an updated version of a Mister Boomer post from June 6, 2010 — the very first post on misterboomer.com!)

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