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

Is Kix Cereal Bad For You?

Also Known As: Kix, Kid Tested Mother Approved



Short answer

Kix Cereal is not bad for you when enjoyed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. It is a source of whole grains and is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, but it also contains added sugar and salt. While it has a relatively modest sugar content compared to other cereals, it's important to monitor total sugar intake, especially in children. Kix is typically free of artificial colors and flavors yet may include other additives. As with any food, portion size and overall dietary context are key for maintaining health.



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Long answer

Nutritional Content and Ingredient Analysis of Kix Cereal

When analyzing the nutritional content and ingredient list of Kix Cereal, it is vital to evaluate the constituents for both their health benefits and potential concerns. Kix Cereal, marketed as a whole grain product, touts itself as a good source of vitamins and minerals for children and adults alike. To provide a comprehensive analysis, let's break down the main ingredients, as well as the vitamins and minerals it contains.

Main Ingredients:

  • Whole Grain Corn: This is the primary ingredient in Kix Cereal, offering dietary fiber and essential nutrients. Whole grains are generally considered beneficial for heart health and digestion.
  • Corn Meal: Often used in cereals as a filler, corn meal can contribute to the intake of whole grains but may be less nutrient-dense than whole grain corn.
  • Sugar: Kix contains sugar, which can contribute to the overall calorie count. While not excessive in Kix compared to other cereals, sugar intake should still be monitored, especially for children.
  • Salt: A common ingredient in processed foods, salt is used for flavor. The sodium content in Kix is moderate and should be considered within the context of one’s total daily sodium intake.
  • Brown Sugar Syrup: This sweetener adds to the sugar content. Consumers should be aware of the total sugars when consuming this cereal, particularly in combination with additional sweeteners like honey, or fruit.

Vitamin and Mineral Fortification:

  • Iron and Zinc: These are essential minerals provided in Kix Cereal for cellular function and immune health. Iron is particularly critical for preventing anemia.
  • Vitamin C: An antioxidant, Vitamin C is included for immune support and can help with iron absorption from the cereal.
  • Vitamin E: This fat-soluble vitamin plays a key role in protecting cell membranes and is added to Kix Cereal for this benefit.
  • B Vitamins: Fortified with B Vitamins like folic acid, niacinamide, and riboflavin, Kix Cereal can aid in energy metabolism and maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Calories, Macronutrients, and Fiber:

Nutrient Amount per Serving % Daily Value
Calories 88 kcal* -
Total Fat 1g* 1%
Sodium 180mg* 8%
Total Carbohydrates 20g* 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g* 11%
Sugars 3g* -
Protein 2g* 4%

*Values are based on a typical one-cup serving size of Kix cereal without milk.

It should be noted that dietary recommendations vary by age, gender, and activity level. The percentages provided are based on an average adult diet of 2,000 calories per day, and consumers should adjust according to their individual dietary needs. The nutritional content of Kix suggests that it is a cereal with modest sugar content and a source of both macronutrients and micronutrients. Nevertheless, it is crucial for consumers to consider the additive effects of consuming multiple sources of sugars and processed grains throughout the day, especially when feeding children. An ingredient concern in processed cereals such as Kix is the potential presence of additives and preservatives which may have varying health implications, though Kix is typically free of artificial colors and flavors, aligning with a preference for more natural ingredients.

In summary, the detailed breakdown of Kix Cereal's ingredients indicates that while it does possess certain nutritional merits, careful consideration should be given to portion sizes, sugar content, and the context of an individual's overall dietary pattern. Consulting the latest dietary guidelines can provide additional insight into how cereals like Kix might fit into a well-balanced diet.

Sugar Levels in Kix: How Much is Too Much?

Understanding the sugar content in our breakfast cereals is crucial, as excessive sugar consumption can have various detrimental effects on our health. Kix cereal, which is marketed as a kid-friendly, healthy breakfast option, can contain sugar levels that may be cause for concern for some consumers.

According to the nutrition facts provided by the manufacturers, a single serving of Kix cereal - which is approximately 1.25 cups (29g) - contains about 3 grams of sugar. This equates to less than a teaspoon of sugar per serving. However, dietary guidelines suggest that added sugars should not exceed 10% of total daily calories. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this means no more than 200 calories should come from added sugars, translating to about 50 grams or 12 teaspoons per day.

For children, the American Heart Association provides more stringent recommendations, advising that children over the age of two should consume no more than 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of added sugar daily. Given these guidelines, Kix cereal's sugar content per serving does not exceed these recommendations. However, it's important to note that this is only for a single serving, and consumption can quickly add up if more than this amount is consumed, or if additional sugar is added to the cereal.

Moreover, the context of overall dietary patterns is key. If a child's diet is already high in added sugars from other sources such as snacks or sugary beverages, even the modest amount of sugar in Kix cereal might contribute to an excessive daily intake. It's also worth considering the sugar content in the milk or milk alternatives that are typically added to cereal, which can further increase the total sugar consumed during a breakfast meal.

Here are some concerns associated with high sugar intake:

  • Increased risk of obesity due to high caloric intake without significant nutritional value.
  • Elevated incidence of type 2 diabetes from the strain put on the insulin response system.
  • Greater chances of developing dental caries, commonly known as cavities.
  • Potential links to adverse mental health outcomes, including alterations in mood and behavior.

Regular monitoring of sugar intake is therefore vital, and parents should be aware of the cumulative sugar their children consume throughout the day. To contextualize, a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics revealed that the average American child consumes more than three times the recommended amount of added sugars.

Ultimately, while Kix cereal might not be excessively high in sugar on its own, it's part of a larger dietary pattern that should be managed to maintain a healthy balance. Limiting the overall consumption of added sugars is a prudent approach to support long-term health.

Whole Grains in Kix Cereal and Their Health Benefits

Whole grains play a pivotal role in a balanced diet, offering an array of health benefits that are crucial for maintaining wellness. Kix Cereal includes whole grain corn as one of its primary ingredients, which can contribute positively to your daily whole grain intake. Below, we explore the notable health benefits associated with whole grains like those found in Kix Cereal:

  • Rich in Nutrients: Whole grains are a natural source of essential nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and selenium. These nutrients support a myriad of bodily functions, from energy production to immune defense.
  • Dietary Fiber: The fiber in whole grains promotes digestive health by aiding in regular bowel movements and may help prevent constipation. Fiber intake is also linked with a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, as it can contribute to feelings of fullness and assist in weight management.
  • Lower Risk of Heart Disease: Regular consumption of whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, individuals who consumed the most whole grains had a 22% lower risk of heart disease compared to those who consumed the least.
  • Blood Sugar Control: The low glycemic index (GI) of whole grains can help in moderating blood sugar levels by causing a slower rise in blood glucose after a meal, which is beneficial for individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance.
  • Weight Management: Their high fiber content makes whole grains more satiating, potentially aiding in weight control. In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a review demonstrated that whole grain intake was inversely related to body mass index (BMI).

For those looking to maximize the health benefits, it's important to consider the proportion of whole grains in their cereal choice. While Kix Cereal does offer the advantage of whole grain corn, consumers should balance it with other whole grain sources throughout their diet to ensure they are meeting their daily recommended intake.

Additives and Preservatives Commonly Found in Cereals

Breakfast cereals, including Kix, often contain a variety of additives and preservatives designed to maintain freshness, improve texture and enhance flavor. Understanding these ingredients is crucial for making informed dietary choices. Below we'll delve into common additives and preservatives found in cereals, like Kix, and discuss their potential impacts on health.

1. BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene):

BHT is an antioxidant frequently used to prevent oils in cereals from becoming rancid. While the FDA recognizes BHT as "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS), its safety has been debated. Some animal studies suggest a link to cancer, but the evidence is not conclusive in humans. Further research is necessary to confirm these findings.

2. Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS):

Many cereals are sweetened with sugar or HFCS, which contribute to flavor and texture. However, high consumption of added sugars is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men.

3. Artificial Colors:

Artificial colors are used to make the cereal visually appealing, especially to children. Some artificial colors have been flagged for potential adverse effects. For instance, studies indicate that certain synthetic food dyes may contribute to hyperactivity in sensitive children. The connection between artificial colors and health is complex and still under investigation, highlighting the need for cautious consumption.

4. Artificial Flavors:

These are chemical compounds designed to mimic natural flavors. While considered safe by regulatory agencies, artificial flavors can impact individuals with sensitivities or allergies. The long-term effects of consuming a wide range of artificial flavors are not fully understood, warranting moderate intake.

5. Preservatives:

Preservatives such as calcium propionate and sodium benzoate are added to cereals to inhibit mold growth and prolong shelf life. While they are also recognized as safe by the FDA, some studies suggest potential adverse effects such as triggering allergies or hyperactivity, particularly in children with asthma or sensitivities.

When examining cereal labels, it's essential to consider the broader dietary context. Consuming these additives and preservatives in small amounts, as part of a balanced diet, might pose minimal risk for most individuals. However, regular intake of high levels of these additives, especially in children or sensitive individuals, could potentially lead to health issues over time. Opting for cereals with minimal additives and focusing on whole food ingredients can be a proactive approach to managing exposure to these substances.

Kix Cereal and its Glycemic Index Impact

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking system for carbohydrates based on their impact on our blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion have the highest GIs. Their blood sugar response is fast and high. Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream, have a low GI. For those monitoring their blood glucose levels or aiming to maintain stable energy throughout the day, understanding the GI of foods is crucial.

Kix Cereal, made of whole grain corn with a bit of added sugar and salt, presents an interesting case when it comes to its glycemic impact. Whole grains are typically associated with a lower GI because they contain more fiber, which slows down the digestion process. However, the added sugars may potentially increase the cereal's overall GI.

While the manufacturer does not explicitly state the GI of Kix Cereal, we can infer its impact by looking at its ingredients and nutritional profile:

  • Whole Grain Corn – Has a lower GI due to its fiber content.
  • Sugar – Increases the GI, causing a faster rise in blood glucose levels.
  • Vitamin E – Added to preserve freshness, has no direct impact on GI.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cereals based on puffed or flaked corn typically have higher glycemic responses. Kix Cereal, while puffed, is not as heavily processed as some cereals, which might mitigate rapid sugar absorption somewhat. Another study in the Journal of Food Science and Technology suggests that the extrusion process used in cereal production can alter the starch structure, potentially influencing GI.

For those concerned about the glycemic impact of Kix Cereal, consider these practical tips:

  • Pairing Kix with a protein source or healthy fat can help reduce the overall GI of the meal. For example, adding nuts or whole milk can moderate blood sugar spikes.
  • Portion control is key; consuming smaller portions can limit the glycemic load — the measure of how much eating a food raises your blood glucose level.
  • Paying attention to the body's individual response to Kix Cereal is essential. Blood glucose can be monitored post-consumption to see how the cereal affects individual blood sugar levels.

Individual responses to carbohydrates can vary due to factors like metabolism and insulin sensitivity, so it's important to note that the GI serves as a guideline rather than a definitive indicator of how a food will affect everyone's blood sugar levels.

To conclude, while Kix Cereal contains whole grains that can have a beneficial effect on its glycemic impact, the addition of sugar and the processing methods used in its production may increase its GI. Awareness and moderation, in conjunction with a balanced diet, can help mitigate the potential glycemic consequences of consuming Kix Cereal.

Breakfast Cereal Consumption: Portion Size and Frequency Considerations

When evaluating whether Kix or any breakfast cereal is 'bad' for you, it is crucial to consider portion size and frequency of consumption—two factors with significant influence on your overall dietary balance. Despite breakfast cereals often being marketed as a quick and healthy start to the day, assessing how much and how often they are consumed can reveal a more nuanced impact on health.

A standard serving of Kix cereal, according to the package, is one cup (approx. 30 grams), which provides a specified amount of nutrients and calories. Adhering to this serving size is essential because it's easy to pour more than the recommended amount, especially when not using a measuring cup. Exceeding portion sizes can lead to an inadvertent increase in calorie intake, and subsequently, potential weight gain if consistent over time.

For a detailed breakdown of how serving size affects nutritional intake, consider the following:

Serving Size (Cups) Calories Total Sugar (g) Added Sugar (g) Whole Grains (g)
1 (recommended) 88 3 3 13
1.5 132 4.5 4.5 19.5
2 176 6 6 26

The frequency of consumption is equally important. While a bowl of Kix cereal can be part of a balanced breakfast, relying on it daily may not provide the diversity of nutrients needed for optimal health. Nutritional experts recommend a diet that includes a wide range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats for a well-rounded nutrient intake. Studies, such as those published in the Journal of Nutrition, suggest that dietary patterns characterized by a variety of foods are associated with better health outcomes.

For individuals aiming to limit their sugar intake, it's worth noting that while Kix cereal is lower in sugar compared to many other sweetened cereals, it does contain added sugars. Regularly selecting breakfast options with less or no added sugar can contribute to a healthier eating pattern and align with the American Heart Association's recommendations for reducing added sugar consumption.

Ultimately, the key to incorporating Kix cereal into a healthy diet is moderation and balance. By controlling portion sizes, limiting frequency, and supplementing with a variety of other nutrient-dense foods, individuals can enjoy Kix cereal as a part of their breakfast routine without it negatively impacting their overall health.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, the whole grains in Kix cereal, specifically the whole grain corn, provide dietary fiber which can promote satiety and help with weight management. Fiber in whole grains assists in slowing digestion, potentially leading to a reduced appetite and decreased calorie intake over time. However, portion control is vital, and the cereal should be part of an overall balanced diet that includes various foods.

Kix cereal is typically marketed as being free of artificial colors and flavors, which aligns with a growing consumer preference for more natural ingredients. Parents who are concerned about the potential risks associated with artificial additives can be reassured by this aspect of Kix’s formulation. Nonetheless, it is always advisable to read the product label for the most current ingredient information.

Kix cereal contains 3 grams of added sugar per serving, which is within the American Heart Association’s recommendation of no more than 25 grams of added sugar daily for children over the age of two. However, it's important to account for all sources of added sugars throughout the day, including those from other foods and beverages, to ensure that the total does not exceed recommended limits.

While Kix cereal has a relatively lower sugar content compared to many other cereals, it does contain added sugars. Individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance should monitor their overall carbohydrate and sugar intake. Kix can be included in their diet if portion size is controlled and it fits within their daily carbohydrate allowance. It's advisable to pair it with a source of protein or healthy fats to help modulate blood sugar response.

Ask a question about Kix Cereal and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible long-term side effects

  • increased risk of obesity
  • elevated incidence of type 2 diabetes
  • greater chances of developing dental caries
  • potential links to adverse mental health outcomes

Ingredients to be aware of


  • source of dietary fiber
  • essential nutrients
  • immune health
  • energy metabolism
  • healthy nervous system
  • lower risk of heart disease
  • blood sugar control
  • weight management

Healthier alternatives

  • whole food ingredients
  • other whole grain sources

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Nature's Path Whole O's

  • Organic cereal
  • Gluten-free
  • Non-GMO
  • 19g whole grains
  • Low fat
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-13-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-13-2024

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