Pop-Tarts are sweet, pre-baked breakfast pastries many children love. You can put them in the toaster or just eat them out of the package. There are plenty of Pop-Tart varieties with different flavor fillings and frosting. But are Pot-Tarts healthy or are they bad for you?
Are Pop-Tarts Bad For You?
We can very confidently say that Pop-Tarts are indeed bad for you. These unhealthy, sugary breakfast treats are loaded with problematic ingredients that can lead to long-term and serious health problems when consumed regularly and in excess.
Pop-Tarts contain many ingredients that have negative effects on health, such as additives, sugar, and sodium, and they are high in unhealthy fat. They are basically “empty calories”, meaning that they are a high calorie food with very little nutritional value.
Many people like Pop-Tarts because they are not only sweet and delicious but also extremely long-lasting. Unfortunately, it is the high artificial content in the treats that makes them able to sit on the shelf for years without going rancid or even losing any flavor.
Pop-Tarts Many Unhealthy Ingredients
Sugar: As you have probably already guessed if you’ve ever tasted one, Pop-Tarts contain a huge amount of sugar. Sugar is linked to a wide variety of health problems and diseases that we all want to avoid. It is also strongly linked to obesity, a condition that itself puts one at risk of developing troubling or even dangerous medical conditions.
Partially hydrogenated or trans fats: Partially hydrogenated or trans fats are present in large amounts in Pop-Tarts. This is problematic because these fats are detrimental to health, especially heart health. They are also linked to obesity.
Sodium: Excess sodium is bad for you, and can aggravate conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure).
Artificial colors: Pop-Tarts’ often colorful appearance is due to their inclusion of artificial colors. Artificial colors have been found detrimental to health. For example, they have been linked to hyperactivity in children with ADHD.
A single pastry is 200 calories, which 150 are from carbohydrates. It contains 17 grams of sugar which is about over four teaspoons worth and 170 mg of sodium, which is quite high. A serving size is for one pastry, however since they are packed 2 treats per foil, it’s easy for people just finish both of them and double down the calories.
Pop-Tarts claim to be a “good source of 7 vitamins and minerals”, however in reality each vitamin and mineral is at about 10% of daily value.
Possible Side-Effects of Pop-Tarts
Sugar dependency is one condition that may result if you eat too many Pop-Tarts on a consistent basis. Sugar dependency is a sort of sugar addiction. Sugar activates the brain’s pleasure centers and encourages the production of dopamine (a chemical that makes you feel good) like a drug would, and when you try to reduce your intake of the sweet treat, you might find that you experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
To beat your sugar addiction, try tactics like eating more fruit and getting more magnesium (either in your diet or by taking magnesium supplements).
Type 2 Diabetes
Consuming too much sugar can eventually result in the development of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes means that the body is not making enough insulin. As a result, excess glucose accumulates in the blood. Type 2 diabetes has many potential side effects and complications, including, for example, large blood vessel damage (heart, legs, and brain), and damage to the small vessels, as well. Type 2 diabetes patients often suffer from kidney, eye, nerve, and foot problems, as well.
Like other processed foods on the shelf at your grocery or convenience store, Pop-Tarts contain a large amount of artificial preservatives. Preservatives are harmful for a wide variety of reasons.
One issue that has been established by research to be caused or at least made worse by the ingestion of preservatives is problems with breathing (for example, asthma). It has been found that many preservatives (for example, yellow dye no. 5, benzoates, sulfates, and aspartame) may make people suffering from asthma more prone to attacks.
Preservatives may also harm the heart. When combined with the other ingredients that are found in Pop-Tarts, you can imagine that constant consumption of Pop-Tarts will not do your cardiovascular health any favors. Not only that, preservatives have also been found to be linked to making people prone to certain kinds of cancer.
As you’re probably already aware, eating too many Pop-Tarts (or an excess of any sugary, fatty food) makes you much more prone to becoming obese. Obesity is linked to a large number of health problems including, for example, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Obesity will also adversely interfere with your general quality of life, and probably make you less likely to get out and exercise and have new experiences.
Excess consumption of sugar puts you at greater risk of tooth decay. Tooth decay is not only bad for your teeth but also your gum health and consequently your overall well-being. Dental problems can also interfere with your ability to eat properly, and will thwart your confidence, making you less likely to enjoy life.
Whenever you eat sugar, it is essential that you immediately brush your teeth. If this is not possible, ensure that you at least swill some plain water around your mouth to help rinse the sugar off your teeth. This will help much more than you probably imagine. Also make sure that you are using a good toothpaste with an appropriate fluoride content.
Healthy Alternatives to Pop-Tarts
Pop-Tarts are truly a terrible breakfast choice! They offer virtually no nutritional value, and put you at risk of a host of medical issues. Get into a better routine with regard to your nutrition, and choose options like sugar-free cereal, oatmeal, and whole grain toast. Add fruit to your breakfast (and choose it as a snack during the day) to help satisfy your sweet tooth.
Keep in mind that the breakfast you choose sets you up for the day. Beginning the morning with a sugary and fatty treat like Pop-Tarts will just make you feel sluggish and crave more sugar, whereas selecting something healthy like oatmeal will fill you up and make you eat less during the rest of the day.
Not only do Pop-Tarts not make a healthy breakfast, they are also a poor choice of snack. Some people perceive them as being better than other treats such as, for example, chocolate bars, because they are marketed as a breakfast food. Don’t fall into this trap. Unfortunately, companies can market anything they want as a breakfast food regardless of its health effects.
Ensure that you do not fall into the trap of eating sugary cereals for breakfast, either. These will have almost as bad effect on your health and well-being as confections like Pop-Tarts. They are also notoriously bad for dental health.
Even if you have a picky toddler, don’t feed him/her Pop-Tarts. Get creative and make something else for your kid for breakfast. You can check out some of the kid friendly, fun and creative recipes here.
Healthier alternatives for Pop-Tarts:
What Have We Learned?
Pop Tarts are a sugary confection that should have no place on your breakfast table. If you ever eat them, it should be on a very occasional basis and as a special treat.
“Does The World Need Pop-Tarts? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hemi-weingarten/does-the-world-need-pop-t_b_358672.html
“Are You Addicted to Sugar?” http://dailyburn.com/life/health/sugar-addiction-detox
“What is Type 2 Diabetes?” https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Diabetes-the-basics/What-is-Type-2-Diabetes
“Harmful Effects of Preservatives in Foods”, http://www.livestrong.com/article/325437-harmful-effects-of-preservatives-in-foods
“Obesity and overweight”, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en