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Are Hot Pockets Bad For You?



Short answer

Hot Pockets are bad for you. The list of ingredients on the box of Hot Pockets is extremely long and includes words the average person can’t even recognize. Many harmful preservatives and additives are found within Hot Pockets.



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Long answer

The ingredient list on the Hot Pockets box isn't just long, it covers one entire side of the box! These frozen little pockets are typically marketed towards kids, but they are hardly a healthy meal. Aside from the sugar and saturated fats that make up the roughly 300 calorie count per pocket, they also contain a handful of preservatives, additives, and modified substances.

Some of the ingredients you should pay attention to in Hot Pockets include sodium phosphate, carrageenan, sodium nitrate, and soy lecithin. The ingredients also list “color added” but doesn’t state the dye used. 

Sodium phosphate is generally safe for consumption is small amounts; the problems arise when it’s eaten frequently. If you regularly eat processed meats, canned tuna fish, and well Hot Pockets, you’re definitely getting your fair share of this ingredient. Too much of this chemical causes an imbalance in phosphorus and calcium increasing your risk for osteoporosis and kidney disease.

Carrageenan is derived from seaweed and used to thicken food. It is generally not able to be absorbed by the body, though, and can even trigger an immune response in the gut leading to inflammation, ulcers, bleeding, and GI cancer.

Sodium nitrates form nitrosamines under certain conditions, which have been linked to degenerative neurological disorders and heart disease when consumed in high amounts. They are also commonly found in processed meats.

Soy, in general, is bad for you in large amounts because of the way it mimics estrogen in the body. The extraction of lecithin from the soy plant typically uses large amounts of hexane. Many people are allergic to both soy and hexane. Soy is also a heavily GMO product.

While these can be cooked in the oven, most people make them in the microwave in the convenient little sleeve they come it called a crisping sleeve. The purpose of this sleeve is to transform the microwave infrared radiation into thermal radiation. These sleeves are better known as susceptors, and often contain flakes of aluminum. Aluminum has been shown to lead to degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Aluminum can also increase estrogen-like effects and gene expression that can lead to cancer.

Possible short-term side effects

  • allergic reaction
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • inflammation
  • ulcers
  • diarrhea

Possible long-term side effects

  • osteoporosis
  • kidney disease
  • heart disease
  • degenerative brain disorders
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Amy's Cheese Pizza Snacks

  • Organic ingredients
  • Cheese-filled delight
  • Convenient snack size
  • Non-GMO
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 07-06-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 07-06-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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