“Enjoy an Ice Cream Cone Shortly Before Lunch”

10 classic ads from the sugar and cereal industries

Since the 1930s, sugar has been finding its way into a large proportion of what we eat. But not on its own. The research and PR arms of the Sugar Association, the leading trade group representing sugar growers and refiners, was bent on promoting the benefits of the sweet stuff to the masses, despite growing suspicions that sugar might play a role in serious conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. In their new Mother Jones exposé, best-selling author Gary Taubes and independent researcher Cristin Kearns Couzens used internal sugar documents to show how the industry set about countering scientific evidence on sugar’s risks, commissioning studies by sugar-friendly researchers, and recruiting food and beverage companies—among them Coca-Cola, Nabisco, General Foods, and Quaker Oats—to help finance the effort. Here are a handful of decades-old ads designed to promote the wholesome goodness of sugar and its usefulness as a diet aid. In 1972, as I point out in our sugar timeline, the Federal Trade Commission ordered the sugar industry to stop making these kinds of erroneous claims.  

1971, Woman’s Day, Sugar Information Inc.


1951, General Foods


1953, Life, Domino Sugar


1959, Sugar Molecule, Sugar Information Inc.


1954, Confectioner’s Journal, Sugar Information Inc.


Sugar Information Inc.


Sugar Information Inc.


1955, Life, Refined Syrups and Sugars Inc.




1966, Good Housekeeping, GW Sugar


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