I remember when I found out all the colors of Froot Loops actually taste the same. The colors are a lie. I was shocked. It makes you wonder, what else this cereal is hiding? Well today, let’s take a closer look. Let’s examine this cereal from a nutrition perspective.
Froot Loops have 12g of added sugar per serving, making them one of the highest-sugar cereals sold today. Froot Loops also have artificial colors, which can cause hyperactivity in some children. They are also relatively low in fiber and protein. Overall, Froot Loops are not very healthy.
Below, we’ll look closely at Froot Loops’ ingredients and nutrition facts. We’ll discuss whether Froot Loops can fit into a weight-loss diet, whether they can help with muscle gain, whether they can cause acne, and more.
Are Froot Loops Bad for You?
Here are the 9 specific questions I’ll be answering about Froot Loops nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Are the Ingredients in Froot Loops?
- Are Froot Loops High in Sugar?
- Are the Artificial Colors in Froot Loops Safe?
- Do Froot Loops Have Protein?
- Do Froot Loops Have Fiber?
- Are Froot Loops Good for Weight Loss?
- Are Froot Loops Good for Muscle Gain?
- Are Froot Loops Bad for Acne?
- Are Froot Loops Vegan?
1. What Are the Ingredients in Froot Loops?
Let’s start by looking at exactly what Froot Loops are made of.
Froot Loops ingredients: Corn flour blend (whole grain yellow corn flour, degerminated yellow corn flour), sugar, wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, modified food starch, contains 2% or less of vegetable oil (hydrogenated coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), oat fiber, maltodextrin, salt, soluble corn fiber, natural flavor, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, yellow 6, BHT for freshness. [Added Vitamins and Minerals.]
Here’s what I notice from these ingredients:
- Froot Loops are made with a blend of whole grains and processed grains. Froot Loops have whole-grain corn flour and whole-grain oat flour. These whole grains provide some fiber and potential health benefits, but they are paired with more processed carbs—it’s not a 100% whole-grain cereal.
- Froot Loops have added sugar. In fact, Froot Loops are among the highest-sugar cereal brands. This sugar is processed, high-glycemic, and adds empty calories. Froot Loops has other processed carbs, too, like maltodextrin and modified food starch. We’ll cover more about the sugar content of Froot Loops below.
- Froot Loops have artificial colors. Specifically, they have Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Blue 1. These dyes are controversial for causing hyperactivity in some children, and for possible connections to cancer. Read more details below.
- Froot Loops have vegetable oil. Generally speaking, vegetable oil is highly processed, high in calories, and low in nutrients. Luckily, there’s not a lot of vegetable oil in Froot Loops, though—it’s in the “2% or less” part of the ingredients list.
- Froot Loops have added vitamins and minerals. This is really only a small benefit. Most people probably get these nutrients from other foods anyway, and they would likely be better absorbed from whole foods. That said, they may provide some benefit.
- Froot Loops have BHT. BHT is a preservative, sometimes negatively associated with BHA, which can have cancer-causing effects at high levels. But the research is more reassuring for BHT than for BHA. And in fact, BHT may be anti-carcinogenic at low levels. So this ingredient should not be a concern.
Overall, the ingredients of Froot Loops lack much nutritional value beyond simple carbs and some common fortified vitamins and minerals.
For most people, the biggest concern in Froot Loops would be the sugar. And the artificial colors are also not great. So let’s look closer at those issues in the next few sections.
- Do Froot Loops have real fruit? No, Froot Loops do not have real fruit. The sweet flavor comes from added sugar, and the colors come from artificial coloring dyes.
- Is Froot Loops junk food? Due to their high sugar content, artificial colors, and vegetable oil, many people would classify Froot Loops as junk food. However, Froot Loops have some whole grains, too—so they’re not as bad as some other junk foods.
2. Are Froot Loops High in Sugar?
Froot Loops are high in sugar, with 12 grams of added sugar per serving (1 1/3 cup or 39g). This is six times the sugar of Cheerios, and four times the sugar of Corn Flakes. It is around the same sugar content as Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, or Fruity Pebbles.
The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 25g of sugar per day for women and 36g per day for men. That means only 3 or 4 cups of Froot Loops would “use up” your entire daily sugar intake.
Also, keep in mind: No added sugar is needed for human health. Really, the healthiest diet would likely only have natural sugar from fruit and whole foods. So for me, any amount of “added sugar” is a negative.
Here is a table comparing the sugar content of Froot Loops to other popular cereals:
|Cereal||Serving Size||Total Sugars||Added Sugar|
|Cheerios||1 1/2 cup (39g)||2g||2g|
|Corn Flakes||1 1/2 cup (42g)||4g||4g|
|Froot Loops||1 1/3 cup (39g)||12g||12g|
|Frosted Flakes||1 cup (37g)||12g||12g|
|Fruity Pebbles||1 cup (36g)||12g||12g|
|Grape Nuts||1/2 cup (58g)||5g||0g|
|Raisin Bran||1 cup (59g)||17g||9g|
|Rice Krispies||1 1/2 cup (40g)||4g||4g|
|Shredded Wheat||1 1/3 cup (60g)||0g||0g|
|Special K||1 1/4 cup (39g)||5g||4g|
As you can see, Froot Loops is one of the highest-sugar cereals currently available. But there’s even more to the story.
When carbs like corn and wheat flour are digested in your body, they turn into sugar relatively quickly, too. This is why diabetics and others with blood-sugar issues often limit their total carb consumption—not just “sugar.”
Cereals like Froot Loops generally rank as “medium” or “high” on the glycemic index. If you have blood-sugar issues, you may want to avoid Froot Loops or limit your portion sizes. Below, I’ll also discuss how Froot Loops may affect acne via blood-sugar levels.
3. Are the Artificial Colors in Froot Loops Safe?
Froot Loops have the artificial colors Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, and Blue 1. Research suggests these artificial colors cause hyperactivity and behavioral issues in some children. There are also concerns around possible carcinogens in the artificial colors in Froot Loops.
Some research has suggested as little as 50 mg per day of artificial colors could cause behavioral changes in children. In fact, the EU requires foods with Red 40 to have a warning saying it “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
In 2004, researchers from Harvard and Columbia University estimated that removing artificial food coloring from the diets of children with ADHD would be about one-third or one-half as effective as treating them with Ritalin.
There may also be cancer risks from some of the artificial colors in Froot Loops, but the evidence is not solid:
- Yellow 5: A 2015 study found that Yellow 5 caused DNA damage in human white blood cells that it was exposed to. It is possible that this DNA damage could lead to tumor formation if it were to happen in amounts that could not be repaired.
- Yellow 6: Yellow 6 often contains known carcinogenic contaminants, including benzidine and 4-amino-biphenyl. These contaminants have only been documented at low levels where it shouldn’t be cause for concern, however. There were also animal trials where Yellow 6 resulted in kidney/adrenal tumors—but this result is disputed. (source, source)
- Red 40: Red 40 has small amounts of benzidene, which is a known carcinogen. It’s legally allowed because the amount is small enough to have no presumed effect.
- Blue 1: An unpublished study on Blue 1 suggested that it may cause tumors in mice. In addition, a test-tube study found that Blue 1 inhibited nerve cell development. So the effect on unborn fetuses may be of concern. (source)
All of these artificial colors are still being tested on animals to determine their safety. The most established problem is hyperactivity in kids. Some governments have taken steps to add warnings or ban some of these dyes.
It’s actually hard to find good credible sources on which of these dyes are currently banned in which countries. But I found the most credible documentation that Yellow 6 is currently banned in Japan and several European countries.
4. Do Froot Loops Have Protein?
Froot Loops have 2 grams of protein per serving (1 1/3 cup or 39g). However, if you’re eating Froot Loops with milk of some sort, it could have 10 grams or more of protein per serving together.
None of the ingredients in Froot Loops are particularly high in protein. Only about 5% of Froot Loops’ overall calories come from protein, while about 9% of the calories come from fat. Nearly all the rest of the calories come from carbs.
Obviously, your selection of milk can impact how much protein is in your bowl of Froot Loops, too. If you’re choosing a plant-based milk, then soy milk or pea milk will likely have the most. Almond milk and rice milk are usually low in protein.
For tips on Froot Loops and muscle building, read more below.
5. Do Froot Loops Have Fiber?
Froot Loops have 2 grams of fiber per serving (1 1/3 cup or 39g). That is low to moderate fiber content. Froot Loops only have about half of the fiber found in Cheerios, but about two times the fiber found in Corn Flakes.
Here is a table showing roughly how Froot Loops compare to several other popular cereals for fiber:
|Cereal||Fiber per 100g|
(Note: Most figures were extrapolated from smaller serving sizes, so they are not exact.)
The health benefits of fiber are many—and only about 5% of Americans get the recommended amount. Unless you have a specific reason to be on a low-fiber diet, usually it’s healthiest to choose a higher-fiber cereal.
- Are Froot Loops Good for Constipation? Froot Loops are not the best cereal to relieve constipation, as they’re not not nearly the highest in fiber. For high-fiber cereals, I’d look at Fiber One, All-Bran, Uncle Sam, or this cereal named “Poop Like a Champion.” Shredded wheat is also a good choice.
6. Are Froot Loops Good for Weight Loss?
Froot Loops are likely not the best choice for a weight-loss diet. Other cereals could help fill you up with more fiber and less sugar, and likely keep you more satisfied in a calorie deficit. However, you can still lose weight while eating Froot Loops.
Froot Loops are not low in calories, as they have high amounts of processed sugar. Processed ingredients tend to have a relatively high caloric density, as the bulk and fiber are removed. To lose weight, it helps to focus on whole foods.
By itself, a few servings of Froot Loops will not make or break your weight loss diet, though. Weight loss depends on your overall diet and lifestyle.
If you’re burning more calories than you’re eating overall, you should lose weight. Eating some Froot Loops or other “processed foods” on occasion will not ruin your diet, as long as that overall pattern is in tact.
If your goal is weight loss, I would consider (A) tracking your calories, or (B) following some of these 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories.
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7. Are Froot Loops Good for Muscle Gain?
When looking at foods for muscle building and bodybuilding, the two main factors people discuss are usually calories and protein. So, how do Froot Loops stack up in those areas?
- Calories: As covered above, Froot Loops are relatively high in calories. So, if you struggle to eat enough calories to gain muscle, Froot Loops may be an option that allows you to get more calories in.
- Protein: Froot Loops are relatively low in protein, with only 2g of protein per serving. So if you’re aiming for a high-protein diet to help with muscle building, Froot Loops will not really help your macros.
From these two points, we can deduce the following:
Froot Loops are not great for cutting, since they have relatively high calories without providing much satiation or protein. But Froot Loops may be fine if you’re bulking, since they can help you consume more calories, and it’s generally ok to eat a lower protein diet (percentage-wise) during a bulk.
As someone who lifts weights and loves cereal, I also have a cereal protein tip: Mix protein powder into your milk. This simple change can turn cereal into a decently high-protein meal—while keeping it easy, quick, and delicious.
- Are Froot Loops good to eat after a workout? If you’re going to eat Froot Loops, then after a workout may be a good time to eat them, since the simple carbs can help refill your glycogen stores. That said, a healthier source of simple carbs like real fruit could also do the job.
- Are Froot Loops good for weight gain? Froot Loops can be used for weight gain if they are eaten as part of a calorie surplus. But your overall daily and weekly calorie balance is what really matters.
8. Are Froot Loops Bad for Acne?
The relationship between diet and acne is still evolving. But increasingly, there is significant evidence that diet does play a central role in acne. And there are a few specific foods that are widely acknowledged as problematic.
The first big problem food for acne is dairy: Milk, cheese, ice cream, and so on. So if you’re eating your Froot Loops with cow’s milk, that could already be aggravating your acne.
And the second kind of acne problem food is even more closely associated with Froot Loops. It’s sugar and high glycemic index carbs. As covered above, not only does Froot Loops have added sugar—it has more carbs from corn and other grains, as well.
Milk, sugar, and high-GI carbs are all suspected to affect acne through similar mechanisms. It has to do with your body’s insulin response. Your body’s use of insulin is affected by eating dairy foods and also by spikes in your blood sugar. (source)
Interestingly, this means that for many acne sufferers, reducing acne is about stabilizing your blood-sugar levels. And often, that means cutting out processed carbs like those found in Froot Loops—or at least minimizing them.
Personally, I found that cereal was one of the worst foods for my acne. Even if I chose cereals with “no added sugar,” the high-GI processed flakes still often caused problems for me.
If you want to learn more, I wrote a lot more about acne science and how to clear your acne in this blog post.
9. Are Froot Loops Vegan?
Froot Loops are generally considered vegan. They do not contain egg, dairy, meat, or honey. However, they do have sugar and vitamin D3, which are gray-area ingredients that some vegans avoid.
Non-organic cane sugar is often filtered with bone char to give it its pure white color. Meanwhile, vitamin D3 is usually derived from lanolin (from sheep’s wool).
Some vegans boycott these ingredients, but many don’t worry about it. Personally, I don’t worry about these ingredients, and I explained more about why in this blog post.
Another weird thing to note: In Australia and New Zealand, Froot Loops seem to contain carmine as the red dye. Carmine is a natural red dye made from crushed dead beetles—so, yeah, that’s not vegan.
For a closer look at every kind of Froot Loops and their vegan status—such as Unicorn Froot Loops and Canadian Froot Loops—see my dedicated post, “Are Froot Loops Vegan?“
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