If you notice, when this seminal 2013 commercial touts HNC's greatness it specifically emphasizes the HONEY in the name. That's not just because it slides in seamlessly to Nelly's "Ride Wit Me." It's because the "nuts" in HNC is actually "natural almond flavor," according to the ingredient list.
Now, it's important to note that Honey Nut Cheerios DO have a warning for people who are allergic to nuts. It's also important to note that General Mills doesn't necessarily have to tell us exactly what is inside its "natural almond flavor."
And most importantly, the pits of apricots and peaches -- a byproduct of the fruit, generally thrown away -- are commonly used to "naturally" imitate almond flavors in mass-produced food on the cheap. Those pits can also trigger nut allergies, so a nut-allergy warning on products containing pits would make sense anyway.
So yes, there is a very good chance that natural nut essence you love in your daily bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios is really just the ground-up pits of apricots -- which are really just garbage peaches. Or at the very best, the pits of peaches -- which are really just garbage pears.
The good news? We are all going to die one day anyway, so it's best not to worry about the little stuff. Especially at breakfast.
h/t the Consumerist