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Are Cracker Jacks Bad For You?



Short answer

Cracker Jacks are not the healthiest snack out there. Popcorn can be healthy, but not when it’s candy coated in sugar and texture enhancing chemicals.



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Long answer

We have to remember that there is almost always something unhealthy found in processed foods, whether it be artificial flavors, genetically modified ingredients, preservatives, monosodium glutamate (MSG) or whatever it may be. Quick snacks and processed foods are usually made with cheap ingredients that make them taste really good but aren’t that good for you.

In this case, Cracker Jacks doesn’t contain gluten, casein, lactose or MSG and is considered completely kosher. However, we should take note of the added ingredient soy lecithin. This is a chemically produced emulsifier used to alter the look and taste of the food, giving it a smoother texture. Soy lecithin is very commonly used in processed foods to bind watery substances and oily substances together. So this is nothing more than a lab-made ingredient to enhance the appearance of cheap food.

Soybean oil, another soy product, is also used in the Cracker Jack recipe. Generally, soy is not all that healthy to consume. First off, most soybeans are genetically modified (GMO) and sprayed with poisonous pesticides.

Second are the harmful side effects of eating soy products. Besides the fact that many are allergic to soy, studies have reported that soy can cause hormonal imbalances in the body, change in mood, adverse effects to the reproductive system and poor brain development for fetuses and young children. 

Let’s not forget the sugar. Cracker Jacks contain 3 different types of sugars: “normal” sugar (which is usually made from GMO sugar beets and not pure cane sugar), high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and molasses. 

HFCS is widely used because it’s sweeter and more inexpensive to produce than regular sugar. The interesting thing is that HFCS is actually worse for your body than regular sugar. This is because the calories from fructose are not used for energy in the body, rather they are sent to the liver to get rid of it. This causes stress on the body and creates harmful side effects such as hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes), a fatty liver and an unsatisfied appetite.  

Moreover, a serving size of Cracker Jacks for a normal sized bag is only 1/2 cup and each bag contains 3 servings. So if you were hungry and decided to eat the whole thing it would be 360 calories, 6g of fat, 210mg of sodium, 69g of carbohydrates, 3g of fiber, 6g of protein and a whopping 45g of sugar.

Possible short-term side effects

  • allergic reaction from peanuts or soy
  • sugar-rush
  • increased fat production
  • stomach ache

Possible long-term side effects

  • hormonal imbalances
  • change in mood
  • damage to reproductive system
  • poor brain development for fetuses and children
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • heart disease
  • obesity
  • insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes)
  • fatty liver
  • overeating

Ingredients to be aware of

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)


  • Gluten-free snack
  • Sweet and salty
  • Convenient party size
  • Whole grain goodness
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Aubrie Robinson
Published on: 05-04-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Aubrie Robinson
Published on: 05-04-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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