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

Is Cap'n Crunch Bad For You?



Short answer

Yes, Cap’n Crunch is bad for you. The cereal contains an unhealthy amount of sugar, which causes problems as minor as a mid-morning crash... and as serious as obesity. It is also made with controversial food coloring and preservatives that have been linked to cancer.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Cap’n Crunch is a popular children’s breakfast cereal, which was introduced in 1963. It’s made from lightly sweetened corn oats, and it’s designed to stay crunchy in milk.

On its vibrant red box, Cap’n Crunch cereal lays clear some nutritional facts: it’s only got 110 calories per serving, 200 milligrams of sodium, one gram of saturated fat and 12 grams of sugar! That’s not so bad, right?

Wrong. When you flip the box over, you can see that the serving size is 3/4 cup, which should be an immediate red flag. Most breakfast cereals are portioned into one-cup servings. So the fact that Cap’n Crunch portions their cereal differently seems like a deliberate attempt to deceive and appear nutritionally comparable to healthier choices like Cheerios or Corn Flakes.

On the back of the box, you can also see that sugar is listed as Cap’n Crunch’s second primary ingredient at 12 grams per serving. This is problematic: most nutritionists maintain that it's best to select cereals with fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving. This way, you satisfy your sweet cravings without starting the day off with dessert. It also helps you avoid a mid-morning sugar crash—along with the corresponding headache and irritability.

Even worse than a crash, the over-consumption of sugar leads to obesity. In turn, obesity can create a whole slew of health problems including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

So how can you avoid unhealthy breakfast cereal like Cap’n Crunch? Check the labels: look for high-fiber options with as little sugar as possible. It will help you maintain a healthy weight—and potentially even shed some pounds. A recent study by the UCLA found that overweight teens who reduced their daily sugar intake by grams lost belly fat and saw improved insulin function. Additionally, the same study revealed that individuals who increased their fiber intake experience similar results.

Low-sugar and high-fiber options are important—but there are other ingredients you need to watch out for when selecting a healthy cereal. For example, Cap’n Crunch also contains artificial colors and preservatives: yellow 6 and 7 and BHT, which have all been linked to cancer, among other health concerns.

To eliminate your risk, stay away from Cap’n Crunch and other sugary, highly processed cereals. Try a cereal like Cascadian Farms. Read labels. And remember: when it comes to ingredients, fewer is more than likely better.

Possible short-term side effects

  • headache
  • irritability

Possible long-term side effects

  • obesity
  • cancer
  • type 2 diabetes
  • hypertension
  • heart disease

Ingredients to be aware of

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Cascadian Farm Cereal

  • Organic ingredients
  • Gluten-free formula
  • Delicious berry vanilla
  • Non-GMO
  • 10.25 oz size
Learn More!

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View Sources | Written by Rachel Adams
Published on: 11-29-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources
Written by Rachel Adams
Published on: 11-29-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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