Did you know Frosted Flakes almost had a kangaroo as a mascot, instead of a tiger? Really. Its name was “Katy the Kangaroo.” Luckily that never happened, and Tony the Tiger has led this cereal to worldwide fame. But today, let’s analyze the health impact of this cereal.
Frosted Flakes have 12g of added sugar per serving, making it one of the sugariest cereals sold today. Frosted Flakes are also relatively low in fiber and protein, making it less filling than whole-grain cereals. Therefore, Frosted Flakes are not very healthy and could potentially cause weight gain.
Below, we’ll look at whether Frosted Flakes can potentially fit into a weight-loss diet, whether they can help with muscle gain, whether they could cause acne, and much more.
Are Frosted Flakes Bad for You?
Here are the 8 specific questions I’ll be answering about Frosted Flakes nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Are the Ingredients in Frosted Flakes?
- Are Frosted Flakes High in Sugar?
- Do Frosted Flakes Have Protein?
- Do Frosted Flakes Have Fiber?
- Are Frosted Flakes Good for Weight Loss?
- Are Frosted Flakes Good for Muscle Gain?
- Are Frosted Flakes Bad for Acne?
- Are Frosted Flakes Vegan?
1. What Are the Ingredients in Frosted Flakes?
Let’s start by looking at exactly what Frosted Flakes are made of.
Frosted Flakes ingredients: Milled corn, sugar, malt flavor, contains 2% or less of salt. Vitamins and Minerals: Iron (ferric phosphate), niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), folic acid, vitamin D3, vitamin B12.
Here’s what I notice from these ingredients:
- The main ingredient in Frosted Flakes is milled corn. Is milled corn healthy? Well, it’s not the worst food. But it’s not the best, either. It’s mostly just simple carbs, without much other nutritional value. It’s not very nutrient dense.
- Frosted Flakes have added sugar. In fact, Frosted Flakes are among the highest-sugar cereal brands. This sugar is processed, high-glycemic, and adds empty calories. We’ll cover more about the sugar content of Frosted Flakes below.
- Frosted Flakes have added vitamins and minerals. This is really only a small benefit. Most people probably get these nutrients from other foods anyway, and most would be better absorbed from whole foods. That said, it may provide some benefit.
- Frosted Flakes have relatively simple ingredients. Many cereals (like Fruity Pebbles) have artificial colors, which can cause hyperactivity in some kids. Other cereals, like Fiber One, have artificial sweeteners, which may worsen gut health. But Frosted Flakes have just a few basic ingredients. That’s kind of nice, I suppose.
Overall, the ingredients of Frosted Flakes lack much nutritional value beyond carbs and some common fortified vitamins and minerals. For most people, the biggest concern would just be the sugar. So we’ll cover that more in the next section.
- Is there anything healthy in Frosted Flakes? Frosted Flakes do not have any remarkably healthy ingredients. The main ingredient, corn, could maybe be considered neutral. The added vitamins are perhaps positive, but they are nothing too special.
- Is Frosted Flakes junk food? Due to its high sugar content, many people would classify Frosted Flakes as junk food. However, Frosted Flakes may not be quite as bad as other “junk foods” which also have processed oil, artificial colors, and even more unhealthy ingredients.
2. Are Frosted Flakes High in Sugar?
Frosted Flakes are high in sugar, with 12 grams of added sugar per serving (1 cup or 37g). This is six times the sugar of Cheerios, and four times the sugar of Corn Flakes. It is around the same sugar content as Froot Loops 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 2 to 3 cups of Frosted Flakes would “use up” your entirely 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 Frosted Flakes 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, Frosted Flakes is one of the highest-sugar cereals on the market. But there’s even more to the story.
When carbs like “milled corn” are digested in your body, they quickly turn into sugars, too. This is why diabetics and others with blood-sugar issues often limit their total carb consumption—not just “sugar.”
Cereals like Frosted Flakes generally rank high on the glycemic index. If you have blood-sugar issues, you may want to avoid Frosted Flakes or limit your portion sizes. Below, I’ll also discuss how Frosted Flakes may affect acne via blood-sugar levels.
3. Do Frosted Flakes Have Protein?
Frosted Flakes have 2 grams of protein per serving (1 cup or 37g). However, if you’re eating Frosted Flakes with milk of some sort, it could have 10 grams or more of protein per serving together.
None of the ingredients in Frosted Flakes are particularly high in protein. Only about 6% of Frosted Flakes’ overall calories come from protein. 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 Frosted Flakes, 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 Frosted Flakes and muscle building, read more below.
4. Do Frosted Flakes Have Fiber?
Frosted Flakes have 1 gram of fiber per serving (1 cup or 37g). That is not very much fiber. Frosted Flakes only have about one fourth of the fiber found in Cheerios.
Here is a table showing how Frosted Flakes 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 higher fiber foods.
So it’s quite a disappointment that Frosted Flakes are not only high in sugar but also low in fiber.
- Are Frosted Flakes Good for Constipation? Frosted Flakes are not the best cereal to relieve constipation, as they’re not particularly high 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 fine choice.
5. Are Frosted Flakes Good for Weight Loss?
Frosted Flakes 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 Frosted Flakes.
Frosted Flakes 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 Frosted Flakes 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 Frosted Flakes 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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6. Are Frosted Flakes 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 Frosted Flakes stack up in those areas?
- Calories: As covered above, Frosted Flakes are relatively high in calories. So, if you struggle to eat enough calories to gain muscle, Frosted Flakes may be an option that allows you to get more calories in.
- Protein: Frosted Flakes 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, Frosted Flakes will not really help your macros.
From these two points, we can deduce the following:
Frosted Flakes are not great for cutting, since they have relatively high calories without providing much satiation or protein. But Frosted Flakes 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 Frosted Flakes good to eat after a workout? If you’re going to eat Frosted Flakes, 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 fruit could also do the job.
- Are Frosted Flakes good for weight gain? Frosted Flakes 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.
7. Are Frosted Flakes 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 Frosted Flakes 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 Frosted Flakes. It’s sugar and high glycemic index carbs. As covered above, not only does Frosted Flakes have added sugar—it has more high-GI carbs from milled corn, 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 high-GI carbs like those found in Frosted Flakes—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.
8. Are Frosted Flakes Vegan?
Frosted Flakes 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.
For a look at every flavor of Frosted Flakes and their vegan status, see my dedicated post, “Are Frosted Flakes Vegan?“
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