Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Cracklin' Oat Bran Bad For You?



Short answer

Cracklin' Oat Bran Cereal has benefits such as dietary fiber and added nutrients but also contains high sugar, saturated fat, and calories. It's fortified with vitamins and minerals, yet it includes additives and preservatives that some may wish to avoid. When consumed as part of a varied diet and in moderation, it may be a convenient breakfast option, but there are healthier whole grain alternatives with less sugar and processing that might better support nutritional goals.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Nutritional Profile of Cracklin' Oat Bran Cereal

Understanding the nutritional profile of Cracklin' Oat Bran Cereal is critical in assessing its health impact. A closer look at the nutrition label reveals both the potential benefits and concerns associated with this popular breakfast option.

Caloric Content: A single serving of Cracklin' Oat Bran (which is typically 3/4 cup, or around 51 grams) contains about 200 calories. This is relatively dense in calories when compared to some other cereal options, which could be a consideration for those monitoring their caloric intake.


  • Carbohydrates: Each serving contains approximately 40 grams of carbohydrates, including 9 grams of dietary fiber, which is 36% of the daily value (DV) and could be beneficial for digestive health. However, it also contains around 15 grams of sugars per serving, and it's important to pay attention to sugar content in the context of a balanced diet.
  • Fats: The cereal delivers about 6 grams of total fat per serving, with 3 grams being saturated fats (15% DV). The presence of saturated fats is a point of consideration due to its potential impact on heart health when consumed in excess.
  • Protein: Providing only 4 grams of protein per serving, Cracklin' Oat Bran isn't a high-protein food, but the protein it does offer can contribute to the overall daily protein needs.

Micronutrients: Cracklin' Oat Bran cereal is fortified with several vitamins and minerals, enhancing its nutritional profile. These include but are not limited to:

Vitamin/Mineral Amount per Serving % Daily Value
Vitamin A 15% 15%
Vitamin C 10% 10%
Vitamin D 10% 10%
Calcium 2% 2%
Iron 60% 60%
Vitamin E 25% 25%

It's important to note that these figures represent added nutrients as a result of fortification and not naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

Dietary Fiber: The high fiber content can be a boon for those looking to increase their intake. Fiber is known for its role in digestive health, and it contributes to satiety, which can help in weight management.

Additives: Cracklin' Oat Bran includes additives such as natural and artificial flavors and preservatives like BHT, which some consumers may choose to avoid. The inclusion of these substances should be considered in the overall assessment of the cereal's healthfulness.

When assessing Cracklin' Oat Bran's nutritional value, it is important to balance its high fiber and fortification benefits with its calorie, sugar, and fat content. Individuals with specific dietary needs or health concerns should evaluate whether this cereal aligns with their nutritional goals. Always consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian when making significant changes to your diet, particularly for those with health conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

As with many foods, moderation is key. Partaking in a varied diet that emphasizes whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Sugar Content and Its Health Implications

Many people start their day with a bowl of cereal, seeking a quick, nutritious breakfast option. However, the sugar content in cereals like Cracklin' Oat Bran can significantly impact one's health. This cereal, while marketed as a wholesome choice with its whole grain oats and fiber content, contains a higher sugar load than many consumers might expect.

According to the nutrition label, a single serving (3/4 cup or approximately 51 grams) of Cracklin' Oat Bran contains 14 grams of sugar. This equates to approximately 3.5 teaspoons of sugar. To put this into context, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) and women no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day. Therefore, just one serving of Cracklin' Oat Bran can take up a significant portion of the daily added sugar limit, especially for women.

  • High sugar breakfasts can lead to rapid spikes in blood glucose levels.
  • Consistently high intakes of added sugars are linked to various health issues, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Consuming too much sugar can also result in energy highs followed by crashes, potentially affecting mood and concentration levels.

One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that individuals with a higher consumption of added sugar have a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular mortality. With Cracklin' Oat Bran's sugar content in mind, those who are already consuming added sugars from other sources might inadvertently surpass the recommended daily intake.

It’s also important to consider the form in which the sugars are present. While some sugars in Cracklin' Oat Bran come from naturally occurring sources such as raisins, added sugars like malted corn syrup and brown sugar syrup contribute to the total count, which health experts typically advise to limit in a balanced diet.

For those who are particularly concerned about their sugar intake, whether due to diabetes, weight management goals, or general health, it may be beneficial to look for cereals with lower sugar content or to mitigate the impacts of Cracklin' Oat Bran’s sugar by pairing it with high-protein or high-fiber foods that can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Ultimately, while Cracklin' Oat Bran can be part of a balanced diet, its sugar content is a potential concern. It is crucial for consumers to be aware of how much sugar they are consuming in total, and to consider the role that sweetened cereals can play in that total consumption.

The Truth About Fiber in Cracklin' Oat Bran

The discussion about fiber in cereals like Cracklin' Oat Bran is particularly intriguing. Often lauded for its high fiber content, which is supposed to enhance digestion and contribute to heart health, Cracklin' Oat Bran may not be as virtuous as it first appears. It's vital for consumers to scrutinize not just the quantity but also the quality of fiber present in their cereal choices.

Firstly, it's worth noting that Cracklin' Oat Bran does contain a substantial amount of fiber. According to its nutrition label, a single serving can offer about 7 grams of dietary fiber, which is about 28% of the daily recommended fiber intake for adults. This constitutes a mixture of both soluble and insoluble fibers, each with distinct health benefits.

  • Soluble fiber is known for its ability to help lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar by slowing the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
  • Insoluble fiber aids in digestion and helps prevent constipation by adding bulk to stool and facilitating its passage through the digestive tract.

However, the source of the fiber in Cracklin' Oat Bran deserves attention. Despite its name suggesting a primarily oat-based cereal, the product also includes other fiber sources, such as wheat bran. The presence of multiple sources of fiber is beneficial for providing a broader range of dietary fiber, but it also complicates understanding the specific health impacts of each type.

In the case of Cracklin' Oat Bran, it's important to consider the processing of these fiber sources. Highly processed fibers may not provide the same health benefits as those derived from less processed, whole food sources. Processing can strip away important nutrients and alter the natural form of the fiber, potentially reducing its healthful effects.

One critical aspect of fiber-rich cereals is the accompanying ingredients that may diminish the benefits of fiber. Sweeteners, artificial flavors, and additives can offset the positive health contributions of dietary fiber. For example, the high sugar content in Cracklin' Oat Bran, with 14 grams per serving, might counteract the advantages of its fiber content by increasing calorie intake and potentially leading to blood sugar spikes.

Research supports the benefits of dietary fiber for overall health. A meta-analysis published in The Lancet found that a high intake of dietary fiber and whole grains was associated with reduced risks of non-communicable diseases. The study recommended an intake of 25-29 grams of dietary fiber per day, which could be partly fulfilled by a cereal like Cracklin' Oat Bran. However, selecting a cereal with less sugar and less processed ingredients may be a healthier choice to reap the full rewards of dietary fiber.

When considering the fiber in Cracklin' Oat Bran, it is essential for individuals to look beyond the fiber content and examine the comprehensive nutritional profile. While fiber is a crucial component of a balanced diet, the quality and the context in which it is consumed play significant roles in its impact on health.

Hidden Fats: Types and Health Effects

Many breakfast cereals, including ones marketed as healthy choices like Cracklin' Oat Bran, often contain hidden fats that can influence your health. These fats are not always apparent when glancing at the front of the cereal box, but a closer examination of the nutritional label will reveal their presence. It's essential to understand the types of fats found in these products and their potential impacts on the body.

Saturated Fats

Cracklin' Oat Bran contains saturated fats, which, when consumed in excess, are linked to increased cholesterol levels and a higher risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to no more than 5% to 6% of your daily caloric intake. It's crucial to factor in the saturated fat content from all sources, including seemingly innocuous breakfast cereals.

Trans Fats

Although Cracklin' Oat Bran does not list trans fats in its nutritional information, it's worth noting that some cereals may contain trace amounts due to processing. Trans fats are particularly harmful and have been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, inflammation, and other chronic conditions. The FDA has taken steps to remove artificial trans fats from the food supply, but naturally occurring trans fats can still be found in some foods.

Fat Content in Cracklin' Oat Bran

A single serving of Cracklin' Oat Bran cereal contains about 9 grams of total fat, which includes 3.5 grams of saturated fat. To put this in perspective, it represents over 15% of the recommended daily value for saturated fat, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This percentage indicates a significant amount of saturated fat for a breakfast cereal, highlighting the necessity of moderation and a balanced diet.

Health Effects of Hidden Fats

Consuming moderate amounts of fats is an essential part of a balanced diet. However, the hidden fats in Cracklin' Oat Bran and similar products can covertly contribute to a high intake of the less healthy fats. Regularly consuming high levels of saturated fats can lead to a variety of health concerns, including:

  • Raised low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels
  • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Potential contribution to weight gain and obesity

While fats are a valuable energy source and aid in the absorption of vitamins, it's the type and quantity of fat that are most critical. Consumers are encouraged to closely monitor their intake of cereals like Cracklin' Oat Bran that may contribute a substantial amount of saturated fat to their diet.

It is advisable for individuals to refer to dietary guidelines and speak with healthcare professionals to determine the proportion of fats that best align with their specific health goals and dietary requirements.

Controversy Over Preservatives and Artificial Flavors

With a myriad of breakfast options available, it's essential to scrutinize the ingredients that go into our first meal of the day. Two such contentious elements found in many processed foods, including some cereal brands like Cracklin' Oat Bran, are preservatives and artificial flavors. Preservatives are added to prolong shelf life and maintain product freshness, while artificial flavors enhance taste. However, their inclusion in our diet has sparked debates among health experts and consumers.

Preservatives in cereals may involve compounds like BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) or BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), chemicals added to prevent the fats in cereals from going rancid. Scientific opinions on these substances vary. The FDA considers them "generally recognized as safe," allowing their use within prescribed limits. However, some studies hint at potential health risks. A report by the National Toxicology Program suggests that BHT could be "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" based on animal studies, whereas other studies have found it to exert antioxidant properties which might be beneficial in small amounts.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program. Report on Carcinogens, Fourteenth Edition. "Butylated Hydroxyanisole." 2016.
  • Yoshida, Y., Niki, E. Antioxidant effects of BHT on the propagation of oxidation in edible oils within the initial stages. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2003

The debate over artificial flavors is equally complex. They are synthetic chemicals created to mimic natural flavors and are considered safe by food regulatory agencies when used as intended. However, advocacy groups and some health professionals caution against their overuse due to potential long-term effects and a lack of thorough testing for all compounds used in flavor mixtures.

Controversy also surrounds the potential behavioral effects of artificial flavors and colors in children, with some studies suggesting a link to hyperactivity. For those who are sensitive to additives, preservatives, or artificial flavors, products like Cracklin' Oat Bran may trigger reactions or contribute to other health concerns.

  • Schab, D.W. & Trinh, N.H.T. (2004). "Do artificial food colors promote hyperactivity in children with hyperactive syndromes? A meta-analysis of double-blind placebo-controlled trials." Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 25(6), 423-434. doi: 10.1097/00004703-200412000-00007

Transparency from manufacturers about the use of these ingredients can help consumers make informed choices. Many health-conscious individuals prefer cereals free from artificial flavors and preservatives, opting for natural or organic options. It's worth examining whether the potential risks associated with these additives align with one's personal health goals and dietary concerns.

Although the controversy persists, becoming an informed consumer is key. Reading labels thoroughly, understanding ingredient functions, and considering the broader dietary pattern are crucial steps towards making choices that best serve one's health.

Comparing Cracklin' Oat Bran to Whole Grain Alternatives

When examining the nutritional profile of Cracklin' Oat Bran cereal, it's crucial to compare it with other breakfast options, specifically whole grain alternatives, to assess its standing in a health-conscious diet. Whole grains are known for their beneficial nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Here's an analytical juxtaposition of Cracklin' Oat Bran and its whole grain counterparts:

  • Fiber Content: Fiber plays a pivotal role in digestive health and satiety. Cracklin' Oat Bran provides a decent amount of fiber, but some whole grain cereals may offer higher levels, which could be more beneficial for maintaining gastrointestinal health.
  • Sugar Levels: One notable issue with Cracklin' Oat Bran is its sugar content. Whole grains often have little to no added sugar, making them a wiser choice for those monitoring their sugar intake.
  • Essential Nutrients: Whole grains come equipped with an array of essential nutrients in their natural form. While Cracklin' Oat Bran is fortified with vitamins and minerals, the bioavailability and efficacy of naturally occurring nutrients in whole grains might be superior.
  • Caloric Density: For individuals concerned about calorie intake, Cracklin' Oat Bran tends to be more calorie-dense, which could be a disadvantage compared to lighter whole grain options.
  • Processed versus Whole: The processing involved in producing Cracklin' Oat Bran can strip away some of the natural nutrition found in less processed whole grain options, which retain more of their original nutrient profile.

Recent studies suggest the importance of consuming minimally processed foods. A publication in the Journal of Nutrition emphasizes the benefits of whole grains and recommends them as part of a balanced diet (Jones et al., 2016). We can contrast this with the processing involved in the creation of Cracklin' Oat Bran, which involves the addition of sweeteners and other ingredients that may not align with a whole food diet.

Factor Cracklin' Oat Bran Whole Grain Alternatives
Fiber Medium High
Sugar High Low/None
Nutrients Fortified Naturally Occurring
Calories High Lower
Processing Processed Minimal

In summary, while Cracklin' Oat Bran may be a convenient and tasty option for a quick breakfast, whole grain alternatives often provide a more nutrient-dense profile with fewer additives, which is conducive to overall health and well-being. Making an informed decision requires assessing personal dietary goals, preferences, and nutritional needs in the context of these comparisons.

Frequently asked questions

Preservatives like BHT in Cracklin' Oat Bran extend shelf life and prevent the fats from going rancid, ensuring product freshness. However, the health benefits are controversial, and some studies suggest potential risks. It's important for consumers to weigh these factors when considering their dietary choices.

The fiber in Cracklin' Oat Bran can contribute to satiety, which might help with weight management. However, its high sugar and calorie content could negate these benefits. For weight loss, it's advisable to choose cereals with high fiber but lower sugar and calories, and to pay attention to portion sizes.

To mitigate the high sugar content in Cracklin' Oat Bran, you can balance your breakfast by adding high-protein foods, like Greek yogurt or nuts, and additional fiber from fresh fruit. These can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the potential impact of the cereal’s sugar content.

Cracklin' Oat Bran is fortified with added nutrients like vitamins A, C, D, E, and minerals such as iron and calcium. However, minimally processed whole grains may offer a superior range of nutrients in their natural form with better bioavailability. Choosing whole grain alternatives can provide essential nutrients without the need for fortification.

Ask a question about Cracklin' Oat Bran and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • blood glucose spikes
  • energy highs and crashes
  • potential for allergic reactions to additives

Possible long-term side effects

  • increased cardiovascular risk
  • weight gain
  • increased ldl cholesterol
  • potential carcinogenic effects from preservatives

Ingredients to be aware of

  • high sugar content
  • saturated fats
  • artificial flavors
  • preservatives like bht
  • malted corn syrup
  • brown sugar syrup


  • digestive health from dietary fiber
  • satiety leading to potential weight management
  • fortified with vitamins and minerals

Healthier alternatives

  • whole grain cereals with low or no added sugar
  • minimally processed foods
  • organic options free from artificial flavors and preservatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran

  • Organic hot cereal
  • High in fiber
  • Non-GMO
  • Convenient 4-pack
  • Boosts digestion
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-19-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-19-2024

Random Page

Check These Out!