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Marshmallow-Only Lucky Charms are a Sweet Scientific Puzzle

In the fifty years since Lucky Charms were first poured into a bowl, countless kids have dreamed of ditching the Cheerio rip-offs and digging into a pile of damp marshmallows. Now, those dreams can become a reality: General Mills has announced that it will be giving away 10,000 boxes of “Marshmallow-Only” Lucky Charms. Fans can buy a box of normal Lucky Charms with a sweepstakes code inside, enter the code on, and hope they are among the lucky few. Or they could just buy knock-offs on Amazon, where they’ve been available in bags for years. Either way, the push for marshmallow love is a bit odd considering that the sweets represent a major scientific problem for General Mills.

In January, General Mills announced that they would be reformulating several of their most popular cereals that currently have artificial flavors or colors. Lucky Charms was not on the list. Why? Because of the marbits. What are marbits? Turns out that is the real name for Lucky Charms’ marshmallows. Food scientists have tried their best to remove the artificial ingredients of the marbits–they’ve been at it for a while now–but they consistently find they are unable to maintain the trademark taste without these ingredients.

The company has several patents that help protect Lucky Charms preserve its unique flavor. These include patents that protect the process by which certain parts of marbits dissolve in cold milk or water. General Mills is hoping to have an all-natural version of Lucky Charms by the end of the year, but haven’t yet succeeded at creating a product with the same taste. Regardless, the company is determined to transition their cereals to become more healthy. In the meantime, they’re going to sell the least healthy part of their cereal because, what the hell, it’s absolutely delicious.

Since the marshmallow boxes remove the only healthy part of Lucky Charms while increasing the marshmallows, it’s unsurprising the nutrition value in a box of marbits ain’t great. What really sets the pseudo-cereal apart is the sugar content. The 23.3 grams of sugar per 3/4 cup is almost double the amount in a normal bowl of Lucky Charms, which isn’t exactly healthy to begin with. That being said, it is unlikely any of this will persuade people to not get one of the boxes. Or just order “Cereal Marshmallows” from Discount Herbals on Amazon.