Frosted Flakes Is Worse For You Than You Thought

For decades, this beloved blue box of cereal was a staple in American households. Whether you opened your pantry cabinet looking for a before-school breakfast (or a late-night snack), or you were sitting in front of the television watching cartoon reruns, Frosted Flakes were just always there. And, according to Tony the Tiger himself, it was because they aren't just good — they're GRRRREAT.

Except, well, adulthood — and massive improvements in health and science — have started to show that this easy morning meal isn't so easy on your body after all. Despite being one of the top selling cereals in the United States, Frosted Flakes is actually a lot worse than its adorable animal mascot may make them seem. According to Insider, the cereal actually used to go by the name Sugar Frosted Flakes — the brand dropped the "Sugar" in 1983, which should tell you all you need to know about what's really lurking in this classic's ingredient list. Nevertheless, we're here to help you dive into this bowl a bit deeper.

If you wake up with a bowl of Frosted Flakes, prepare for an afternoon sugar slump

Frosted Flakes are actually a great source of Vitamin D, like the boxes proudly advertise — there's no question there. A single one-cup serving of the cereal offers 10 percent of the daily recommended intake.

However, it's what the box isn't advertising that's the problem. Sure, the word "Frosted" already implies that there's a bit of sugar in this ingredient list, but the actual amount might surprise you. One cup of Frosted Flakes contains a whopping 12 grams of sugar — and all 12 grams are added sugars. That's nearly a quarter of the average daily recommended intake.

And if you're going to pair your flakes with a side of strawberries (because everyone knows, fresh fruit in a bowl of processed cereal is the key to a balanced life, right?), that's another eight grams of natural sugar per cup of berries. By the time the sun rises, you may end up with a major sugar rush — and a doozy of an afternoon crash.

The Frosted Flakes ingredient list is short, but definitely sweet

A quick glance at the nutritional information for Frosted Flakes is already pretty jarring, but a deeper look at the ingredient list shows just how much of a dessert this breakfast can be.

First up is milled corn: AKA, the processed part that the docs always warn shoppers about. The second ingredient is, of course, sugar — that's no surprise, given what we've covered. But the third is something that not many are familiar with: malt flavor. According to Healthline, malt flavoring is derived from maltose, which "is a sugar made out of two glucose molecules bound together." Maltose isn't necessarily as potent as normal sugar, but it's often found in hard candies and cereals as a sweetener nonetheless. So, if your traditional sugar wasn't enough, Kellogg's found a way to satisfy your sweet tooth even more with this one.

Eat This, Not That! honored the sugary cereal with 16th place in their list of the worst cereals to start your morning with. Ironically enough, one of the few cereals that beat out the original was Frosted Flakes Energy Clusters, which clock in at 17 grams of sugar per serving. All we're saying is, at least 14th place winner Lucky Charms offers marshmallows to justify its own 13 grams of sugar per cup — if you're going to have a bowl of sugar for breakfast, it might as well be worth it!

There's little nutritional value in Frosted Flakes overall

Healthline explains that despite marketing that suggests otherwise, breakfast cereals like Frosted Flakes contribute very little nutritionally. If you're too pressed for time (or just can't shake your cereal habit — we get it), then it's important to stick with a bowl that has at least three grams of fiber per serving. You'll feel more full throughout the day, and less tempted to give in to the inevitable sugar crash. Sad news flash: Frosted Flakes boasts just one gram of fiber per serving, so you may want to swap the box for something a bit more filling the next time you're in the cereal aisle.

If you still want to start your day with some Frosted Flakes — or your kids insist on a bowl now and again, thanks to Tony the Tiger's persuasive marketing skills — Healthline suggests adding in a protein to balance out the meal. You can toss some nuts into your bowl for an added crunch, or meal prep a batch of hard boiled eggs. It's the best of both worlds: You still don't have to cook, but at least you'll be treating your body to a bit more than a sugar rush each morning.