Why unfrosted Pop-Tarts have more calories than the frosted kind

The Pop-Tart for dieters.
The Pop-Tart for dieters.
Image: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
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Late at night in the fall of 2009, Spencer Gaffney, a sophomore at Princeton University, was wandering the aisles of the university store searching for a late night snack when he noticed something interesting: At 210 calories, an unfrosted strawberry Pop-Tart had 10 more calories per serving than its frosted counterpart.

Gaffney wrote up a blog post to share his confusion. “It’s one of those things that when you find out about it, you want to tell everybody about it,” Gaffney, who now works in finance but was then a member of the University Press Club, told Quartz.

Four years later, the post about the Pop-Tart discovery went viral on Reddit and to this day, it still brings readers to the club’s blog The Ink, as the second most-viewed post in its history. But Gaffney never got an answer from Kellogg’s about why the disparity exists.

Now, after contacting Kellogg’s ourselves, Quartz finally has solved the mystery of the unfrosted Pop-Tarts.

“Unfrosted Pop-Tarts have a slightly thicker crust to compensate for the lack of frosting, resulting in a few more calories per serving,” a Kellogg’s representative told Quartz in an email. It compensates for its sad lack of frosting in several ways, the representative said: “the overall composition of the food, including weight, breakability, toastabilty.”

The lesson: Never underestimate the power of a direct question (and a PR rep’s email address).