“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



Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.