Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Are Pop-Tarts Bad For You?

Also Known As: Kellogg's Pop-Tarts



Short answer

Yes, Pop-Tarts are bad for you. These sugary pastries are high in fat, sugar, sodium, and additives, yet offer little nutritional value.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Introduced to the consumer in 1964, Pop-Tarts are pre-baked pastries ready for the toaster or microwave, and do not require refrigeration. Pop-Tarts can be kept in the pantry or store shelf for years without going bad or losing flavor, due to the artificial preservatives so commonly found in American food products today. These quick preparation pasties are marketed towards people that typically don’t have the time to sit down and enjoy a healthy breakfast. However, as with all heavily processed foods, when you trade convenience for nourishment, you do so at your own peril. 

The data as it regards healthy eating weighs heavily against this infamous breakfast treat. All the nutrition facts on the box are given for one serving. One serving in the case of Pop-Tarts, is only one Pop-Tart, though the prepackaged pastry pack contains two Pop-Tarts. It is unlikely for most people to eat just one. Many companies use this clever type of packaging/labeling to make consumers think they are eating less fat, sugar, and sodium since typically many people do not look at the serving size listed.

Pop-Tarts are packed with sugar. Each individual Pop-Tart contains a minimum of 14 grams of sugar. This morning pastry also has a large amount of high fructose corn syrup. The American Heart Association (AHA) says that daily allotted sugar for men should be no more than 36 grams, women no more than 24 grams and depending on the age of the child no more than 23 grams. This means that two Pop-Tarts consume all of the daily sugar allowances in men, women, and children. On average, the typical American ingests nearly 84 grams of sugar every day, of which two Pop-Tarts would make up nearly 50%, on some occasions. Sugar is now well-known to cause or compound health problems like diabetes, inflammation, obesity, tooth decay, hyperactivity, and fatigue.

Pop-Tarts are loaded up with fat. One Pop-Tart contains a minimum of six grams of fat, which means that as you enjoy the whole prepackaged amount, you will take in about 12+ grams of fat. The fat combined with the large sugar content is a recipe for weight gain.

Pop-Tarts contain a minimum of 190 milligrams of sodium (salt) per serving. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends in taking no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day and for some groups of people that number is lower.  Due to the fact that these morning toaster treats are generally consumed by two servings at a time, the salt intake is usually doubled.  Salt has been well-studied as it correlates to human health and is known to cause and compound poor health, the most common of which is hypertension and heart disease.

Other harmful ingredients to be aware of include partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats. There are numerous health risks associated with the harmful fats. Pop-Tarts also contain artificial colors including, Blue #1, and Yellow #6. Additional colors may be included depending on the Pop-Tart variety. Artificial colors have numerous consequences to health, such as having carcinogenic properties, negative behavior effects on behavior, and much more.

It is important to understand that Pop-Tarts vary greatly depending on the variety. For the purpose of this article, we used the traditional frosted strawberry Pop-Tart. However, there are numerous other varieties with exotic names that sound like a morning dessert. As the varieties change, the contents of fat, sugar, salt levels change. It is also highly likely that different additives and chemicals are found in other varieties. It is important to read the ingredients list on any variety you are considering in order to determine exactly how bad the Pop-Tart is. There is really nothing positive to say—avoid this delicious treat and enjoy some home-made granola, a whole wheat bagel, or some organic steel cut oatmeal instead. A healthy breakfast will make for a great start to your day.

Possible short-term side effects

  • blood sugar spikes
  • hyper activity followed by fatigue
  • dehydration
  • inflammation

Possible long-term side effects

  • tooth decay
  • hypertension
  • diabetes ii
  • obesity
  • sugar dependency
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of


  • convenience
  • large variety of flavors

Healthier alternatives

  • home-made granola
  • organic steel cut oats

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Organic Frosted Wildberry Acai Pastries

  • Organic ingredients
  • Contains real fruit
  • Frosted deliciousness
  • Non-GMO
  • Convenient snack
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 03-30-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 03-30-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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