Are Cheetos Bad for You? (Alternatives Included)

Are Cheetos Bad for You 

Cheetos are one of the most well-known snacks around the world. Their cheesy aroma, orange color, and melt-in-your-mouth texture reward your entire body with feelings of pleasure and accomplishment. They are indeed delicious treats, but, like other snacks, are Cheetos bad for you? 

Cheetos will increase the risk of several health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even certain cancers being a processed, high-fat snack. Cheetos taste good, you can never eat only one, but they are an unhealthy and unnatural snack that is bad for your health. 

You can have a small amount of Cheetos once in a while, but you should be aware that there are healthier and more satisfying snacks that you can have instead of Cheetos. Below I will try to give you some information that can help you better understand why unnatural snacks are so addictive, what makes a healthy snack, and I’ll even give you some ideas of healthy snacks you can have instead of Cheetos. 

Why Are Cheetos so Addictive? 

Cheetos are so addictive because they were made to be that way. When I say “made,” I mean that a group of chemists, technicians, and even phycologists were hired by Frito-Lay, the company that owns Cheetos, to create a special snack. It should be perfectly crunchy, have the right aroma, and leave you with that satisfactory taste in your mouth and that “well-done” feeling in your brain that only unnatural snacks can. 

This crispy, cheesy snack is indeed one of the best, well-thought snacks in the industry. If not, let’s see. 

A Cheeto melts instantly in your mouth, and you don’t have to chew it. You don’t have to work on it. Your brain will feel like it hasn’t eaten much, allowing you to continue because you are not satisfied with the amount of food you’ve eaten. Still, the calories, fat, and salt (sodium) are there, and none is good for your health. 

The second thing that makes Cheetos so addictive is that they are bland. They do not have an overpowering flavor. Yes, they smell like cheese but do they taste like it? No. According to researchers, highly-seasoned snacks tend to give you that feeling of satisfaction and fullness sooner, while tasteless snacks, like Cheetos, will just keep you going. 

Why Are Cheetos Unhealthy?

Cheetos are exactly the opposite of what we are looking for in a healthy snack. They are high in fat, high in carbohydrates, and high in sodium, while they have a small percentage of protein. This doesn’t mean that you can never eat Cheetos again. It means that you can have them but not as a go-to snack and not regularly or in high portions. 

But after all, what should we look for in a snack to be considered healthy? You should look for something that will take your hunger away and make you feel satisfied without the need to eat more food. Unfortunately, most snacks in the supermarket are high in refined carbs and sugar. This means that they’ll give you that feel-good feeling but will not be that good, nutritious, healthy snack that will satisfy your food cravings. 

There are many options, but looking for snacks high in protein is simpler and easier. Protein is responsible for making you feel full and satisfied. Every time you eat food high in protein, it will release appetite-suppressing hormones, which will then slower your digestion and stabilize your blood sugar levels, boosting your energy at the same time. 

The question now is: are Cheetos high in protein and low in carbs and sugar? In a single serving of Cheetos (around 28 grams), we have 10 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbohydrate, 250 mg of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. [1] The answer is simple when we look at the numbers Cheetos are not a healthy snack and not one we should have as a go-to solution on busy days.

Are Cheetos Healthier Than Chips?

Cheetos are not healthier than chips, but the other way around is also not true. Both are high-fat, processed snacks that do not fit into the healthy checkbox. There are a lot of different potato chips, so I decided to compare the Cheetos with Lays’ Potato Chips as they are from the same company and they are the preferred chips for Americans. 

You now know the nutrition facts for a 28-gram serving of Cheetos. This single serving provides 150 calories (roughly 8% of an adult’s recommended daily calorie intake). 

What about the chips, then? The same serving will provide you with 160 calories, more than you get with the Cheetos, but the same grams of fat and protein, a slightly higher amount of carbohydrates (15 vs. 16), and slightly lower sodium (140 mg). [2]

Looking at the data, the answer to the question is Cheetos healthier than Chips is no, but the truth is that Chips are also not healthier than Cheetos. They are both bad for your health and shouldn’t be considered part of a healthy diet.

Are Cheetos or Doritos Better for You? 

Lower in fat, sodium, and calories when compared to Cheetos, Doritos have the same amount of protein and 3 grams more carbohydrates than Cheetos. [3]

So, the same answer applies to the chip’s dilemma. None of them is good for your health, but if you had to choose one or the other, I’d say Doritos takes the victory home. 

RELATED: Off Brand Doritos: 9 Snacks You Must Try
Are Cheetos Bad for You 

Are Cheetos Ok to Eat?

Even though Cheetos are not one of the healthiest snacks in the world, it is ok for you to eat them occasionally and in small portions. There are, however, healthier snack options that you can choose from, even if you are craving junk food.

Cheetos have an even healthier version, the Cheetos Puffs White Cheddar, which has half the calories of the original Cheetos. Made from organic cornmeal, the White Cheddar Cheetos also have less fat and less sugar.

Still, there are much better and healthier options that you can try when you are craving junk, salty foods. Here are some ideas [4]:

Hard-boiled eggs: with 6 grams of proteins, this portable snack will keep you satisfied in between meals and will help you reduce your daily calorie intake;

Cheddar cheese slices (1-2 oz): besides being strong in protein (7 grams per portion), cheese is also an important source of other nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and selenium. It’s easy to prepare and carry around but be aware that it is also high in calories, so you should eat it in moderation;

22 almonds: the equivalent of one handful of almonds will provide you with 6 grams of protein, healthy fats, and vitamin E and can even help you control your weight;

Apple slices with peanut butter: high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium, this combination will allow you to not only feel satisfied but also to control your good and bad cholesterol;

Edamame: an easy snack to enjoy on the go, one cup of edamame will provide you with 17 grams of protein (you read correctly, 17).

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!