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The Calorie Conundrum: Unveiling the Mystery Behind Frosted Pop-Tarts’ Lower Calorie Count

The Mystery of Frosted Pop-Tarts: How Do They Have Fewer Calories Than Unfrosted?

Pop-Tarts have been a popular breakfast treat for decades, satisfying our sweet tooth and providing a quick and convenient meal on the go. But have you ever wondered why frosted Pop-Tarts have fewer calories than their unfrosted counterparts? It may seem counterintuitive, but there’s a fascinating explanation behind this perplexing phenomenon. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of Pop-Tarts and uncover the truth about their calorie content.

The search for answers

It all started with a curious Princeton student named Spencer Gaffney, who went on a snack run with his friends one fateful night in 2009. While perusing the nutrition labels of various snacks, they stumbled upon an unexpected revelation: frosted strawberry Pop-Tarts had 10 fewer calories per serving than the unfrosted variety. Intrigued by this anomaly, Gaffney took to the University Press Club blog to share his discovery and seek answers.

Unraveling the mystery

To get to the bottom of this calorie conundrum, Gaffney and his friends scrutinized the nutrition facts of both frosted and unfrosted Pop-Tarts. They meticulously compared serving sizes to ensure a fair comparison. Surprisingly, both versions referred to a single Pop-Tart. This led them to wonder how adding frosting and sprinkles could result in fewer calories.

A closer look at the label

While Gaffney’s observation initially puzzled him, a crucial clue was hidden in plain sight: the weight of each food item. Six years later, Quartz magazine contacted Kellogg’s, the maker of Pop-Tarts, to shed light on the mystery. A company representative provided a definitive answer, explaining that unfrosted Pop-Tarts have a slightly thicker crust to compensate for the lack of frosting, resulting in a few more calories per serving.

The weighty difference

The weight of the Pop-Tart is evidence of this phenomenon. According to the nutrition labeling website Smart Label, an unfrosted strawberry Pop-Tart weighs 52 grams per cookie, while the frosted strawberry Pop-Tart weighs only 48 grams per cookie. This seemingly insignificant 4g difference accounts for the extra 10 calories in the unfrosted version. In essence, the extra crust compensates for the lack of frosting, resulting in a higher calorie count.

Closing the case

With this revelation, the mystery of why frosted Pop-Tarts have fewer calories than unfrosted is finally solved. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, the difference lies in the thickness of the crust and the weight of each cookie. The next time you indulge in a Frosted Pop-Tart, you can enjoy the delicious taste without worrying about excess calories.


The world of nutrition is full of surprises, and the case of frosted Pop-Tarts having fewer calories than unfrosted is a testament to that. We’ve learned that the addition of frosting and sprinkles doesn’t magically remove calories from the treat. Instead, it’s the slightly thicker crust of unfrosted Pop-Tarts that compensates for the lack of frosting, resulting in a higher calorie content. So the next time you find yourself debating between frosted and unfrosted Pop-Tarts, you can make an informed choice based on this newfound knowledge. Happy snacking!


Is it true that frosted Pop-Tarts have fewer calories than unfrosted?

Yes, it may seem counterintuitive, but frosted Pop-Tarts do have fewer calories than their unfrosted counterparts.

How does adding frosting reduce the calorie count of a Pop-Tart?

The calorie discrepancy occurs because unfrosted Pop-Tarts have a slightly thicker crust to compensate for the lack of frosting, resulting in a higher calorie count per serving.

Are frosted and unfrosted Pop-Tarts the same serving size?

Yes, both frosted and unfrosted Pop-Tarts have the same serving size, which typically refers to a single cookie.

What is the difference in weight between frosted and unfrosted Pop-Tarts?

An unfrosted Strawberry Pop-Tart weighs approximately 52 grams per cookie, while a frosted Strawberry Pop-Tart weighs approximately 48 grams per cookie, which accounts for the difference in calorie content.

Does this mean that Frosted Pop-Tarts are a healthier option?

The difference in calories between frosted and unfrosted Pop-Tarts is relatively small. While frosted Pop-Tarts may have fewer calories, it’s important to consider other nutritional factors when determining the overall healthiness of a food choice.

Can I enjoy Frosted Pop-Tarts guilt-free?

While Frosted Pop-Tarts have a slightly lower calorie count, it’s still important to eat them in moderation and maintain an overall balanced diet. Enjoy them as an occasional treat, but be mindful of your overall calorie intake.

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