How long have you been eating Honey Nut Cheerios? Childhood favorite, right? How long, then, have you been wondering the same question—are there nuts in Honey Nut Cheerios? Well, the answer is actually quite complicated and can be summarized into three words—yes and no.

The Original

Here's your chance to watch a 1980s commercial for a change.

I hope that besides having this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, you've also noticed the emphasis on both the honey and the nut in Honey Nut Cheerios. The line below the huge "Honey Nut Cheerios" on the front of the box reads "a sweetened toasted oat cereal, with crusted NUTS and honey." The original recipe from 1979, believe it or not, did contain nuts.

The Ambiguous "Natural Almond Flavor"

It was in 2006 when General Mills announced the huge news that they were ditching the ground almonds that were in the original recipe. Going down Honey Nut Cheerios' ingredient list today, you will discover "natural almond flavor" surprisingly hidden far down on the list. A much more obvious line below says, in all caps, "CONTAINS ALMOND INGREDIENTS." Yep, I just found out why I shouldn't eat Honey Nut Cheerios (I'm allergic to almonds).

This also means that General Mills did not do this out of kindness or hope that people who are allergic to almonds will be able to enjoy this delicious cereal. You guessed right, they probably did it to cut costs.

The Real Story

nut, almond, walnut
Torey Walsh

"Natural almond flavor" is about as vague of an ingredient as it can possibly get, since the FDA does not press for specification. What is in there? We will never know for sure, but the New York Times reports that peach and apricot pits contain a kernel that tastes like an almond. If it sounds like recycling a waste product, that's because it is.

Fortunately, peaches and apricots are close relatives of almonds, so their pits do indeed resemble the almond flavor General Mills is after. This is bad news for people who are allergic to almonds because they are likely allergic to these as well.

Are there nuts in Honey Nut Cheerios? I cast my vote on no. Regardless, if you have almond allergies, let's not venture down that path.