Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Are Baked Cheetos Bad For You?

Also Known As: Oven Baked Crunchy Cheese Flavored Snacks



Short answer

While better than regular Cheetos, Baked Cheetos are still bad for you. Aside from the enriched vitamins and minerals, they contain dangerous ingredients that could be extremely detrimental to your health.



Long answer

Baked Cheetos, while a slightly healthier option compared to regular Cheetos, are still a highly processed food with saturated fats, MSG, natural and artificial flavoring, and artificial colors.

The health effects of saturated fats, especially those found in processed foods, are generally negative. Research shows that saturated foods raise cholesterol levels which increase your risk of heart disease. Cheetos only contain 1 gram of saturated fats, but if you frequently consume processed fatty foods your risk is beyond what you eat in Cheetos.

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a known horrible ingredient by any name. It is known to cause symptoms like headaches, skin flushing, sweating, pressure, numbness, burning in the face, heart palpitations, nausea, chest pains and muscle weakness. Collectively, these symptoms are referred to as the “MSG symptom complex.” 

Natural and artificial flavoring are chemically produced flavors to enhance your eating experience. More or less, the presence of these ingredients should tell you that your food has been so overly processed that it remains with no flavoring of its own. After all, Cheetos do contain Cheddar cheese, so why do they need these extra ingredients to boost flavor? Artificial flavoring has a laundry list of potential health effects including allergic reaction, hyperactivity, seizures, cancer, and organ damage.

Artificial coloring has some similar negative health effects to artificial flavorings. They also cause hyperactivity in children, and beyond that coloring like Yellow 5 & 6 are carcinogenic and can alter your genetic make-up. Yikes!

On the upside, these Cheetos are made with enriched corn meal that supplies some vitamins and minerals. All ingredients together, a one-ounce serving size of Cheetos contains 10% of the RDA of B2 (riboflavin), 15% of B3 (niacin) and 25% B1 (thiamin). The body uses these B vitamins as a coenzyme to make energy from carbohydrates along with other health benefits such as minimizing cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis. One serving of Cheetos also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium.

Possible short-term side effects

  • allergic reaction
  • msg symptom complex
  • hyperactivity

Possible long-term side effects

  • seizures
  • cancer
  • kidney & brain damage
  • heart disease
  • high cholesterol

Ingredients to be aware of


  • contains some vitamins and minerals

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

HIPPEAS Chickpea Puffs

  • 3g protein per serving
  • 2g dietary fiber
  • Vegan-friendly snack
  • Gluten-free treat
  • Crunchy texture
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 09-14-2016
Last updated: 12-01-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 09-14-2016
Last updated: 12-01-2023

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