Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Are Goldfish Bad For You?



Short answer

Though Goldfish crackers seem like a healthy snack for kids, the little fish-shaped crackers contain GMO soybeans, MSG and high levels of sodium, and may be harmful to overall health if consumed frequently.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Goldfish crackers were invented by Oscar J. Kambly in 1958.  Now made by Pepperidge Farm, Goldfish crackers were introduced to the US market in 1962 and quickly became one of the most popular kids snack in the United States.  The Goldfish cracker is very familiar to many since childhood because of the cracker’s signature golden fish shape.  Today, Goldfish crackers are offered in a variety of flavors including original, cheddar, whole grain, colored cheddar, and pretzel, among others.

Goldfish crackers have no artificial preservatives, and 0 grams of trans fat.  They contain Vitamins B1, B2, folic acid, calcium, and iron. Goldfish are endorsed among parents and children as being a healthy snack, even containing real cheddar cheese and natural ingredients, according to the crackers’ label.  However, in 2012, Sonya Bolerjack sued Pepperidge Farm in Colorado, claiming that the company could not place the term “natural” on their Goldfish cracker labels because the company used GMO soybean oil to make the child-friendly snacks. Research suggestions GMO soybeans could potentially be harmful to liver functions, damage the liver and cause toxemia, meaning the soybeans may contain toxins that could poison the bloodstream.  In another recent study in Russia, it was discovered that GMO soybeans could potentially be harmful to infants and cause infertility problems.

The Goldfish crackers also contain high amounts of sodium, 250 mg per serving.  In both children and adults, high intake of sodium can have dire side effects, including cognitive degeneration, kidney damage, high blood pressure and heart problems. In addition to this, autolyzed yeast is listed as one of the ingredients in Goldfish crackers.  Autolyzed yeast is a flavor enhancer also known as MSG or monosodium glutamate.  Some people tend to be more sensitive to MSG than others and some of the side effects of autolyzed yeast include headaches, nausea, sweating, and chest pain.  Because of the high sodium and MSG added to the wafer, Goldfish crackers should only be consumed in limited amounts and should not form part of any steady diet.

Possible short-term side effects

  • headache
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • chest pain
  • dehydration

Possible long-term side effects

  • liver complications
  • heart complications
  • infertility problems
  • high blood pressure
  • kidney damage
  • cognitive degeneration
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

Team-Picked Alternative (what is this?)

Annie's Cheddar Bunnies

  • Organic ingredients
  • Real cheddar flavor
  • Baked, not fried
  • No artificial additives
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Viviana Del Manzano
Published on: 05-27-2016
Last updated: 11-29-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Viviana Del Manzano
Published on: 05-27-2016
Last updated: 11-29-2023

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