Saying whether Chex cereal is healthy is actually a bit tricky. Because in reality, it’s a whole line of cereals—not just one. Rice Chex is different from Wheat Chex, and they’re both different from Chocolate Chex. That said, today, let’s analyze and compare them all.
Chex cereals are made with healthy whole grains, and they are free of artificial colors and sweeteners. However, some flavors have as much as 12g of sugar per serving—the same as Frosted Flakes. Wheat Chex is probably the healthiest Chex cereal, due to its high fiber content.
Below, I’ll dig into the details of Chex cereal’s nutrition, comparing it to other popular cereals. I’ll answer questions about whether Chex is good for weight loss, whether it can cause acne, and more!
Is Chex Cereal Good for You?
Here are the 9 specific questions I’ll be answering about Chex cereal nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Is Chex Cereal Made Of?
- Is Chex Cereal High in Sugar?
- Is Chex Cereal High in Fiber?
- Is Chex Cereal Low in Sodium?
- Is Chex Cereal High in Iron?
- Is Chex Cereal Good For Weight Loss?
- What Is the Healthiest Chex Cereal?
- Can Chex Cereal Cause Acne?
- Is Chex Cereal Vegan?
1. What Is Chex Cereal Made Of?
Let’s start by looking at the actual ingredients for Chex cereal. I’ll share my takeaway points below the table:
|Rice Chex||Whole Grain Rice, Rice, Sugar, Salt, Molasses. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. [Plus Vitamins & Minerals]|
|Corn Chex||Whole Grain Corn, Corn Meal, Sugar, Corn Starch, Salt, Baking Soda. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. [Plus Vitamins & Minerals]|
|Wheat Chex||Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Salt, Molasses, Baking Soda. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. [Plus Vitamins & Minerals]|
|Honey Nut Chex||Whole Grain Corn, Corn Meal, Sugar, Corn Starch, Honey, Salt, Molasses, Canola and/or Sunflower Oil, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Natural Almond Flavor. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. [Plus Vitamins & Minerals]|
|Cinnamon Chex||Whole Grain Rice, Rice, Sugar, Canola and/or Sunflower Oil, Salt, Rice Fiber, Cinnamon, Molasses, Natural Flavor. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. [Plus Vitamins & Minerals]|
|Peanut Butter Chex||Whole Grain Corn, Corn Meal, Sugar, Peanut butter (peanuts, sugar, monoglycerides, salt), Corn Starch, Canola and/or Sunflower Oil, Salt, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. [Plus Vitamins & Minerals]|
|Chocolate Chex||Whole Grain Rice, Rice, Sugar, Canola Oil, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Salt, Molasses, Natural Flavor. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. [Plus Vitamins & Minerals]|
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- Chex cereal is made with whole grain flour. The first ingredient in every Chex cereal flavor is a whole grain. Most are made from whole wheat rice or corn. These whole grain are relatively healthy. They add some fiber content, which we’ll cover more below. (Wheat Chex has the most fiber by far.)
- Chex cereal has added sugar. Every flavor of Chex has added sugar. Some also have molasses or honey. Most have processed flours like corn meal and corn starch. These are low-fiber, quick-digesting carbs that may spike blood-sugar levels. For more on sugar content, see below.
- Chex cereal is free of artificial sweeteners or colors. There are no controversial artificial sweeteners or colors like sucralose or red 40. So Chex’s ingredients are relatively “natural” in that regard.
- Chex cereal has added vitamins and minerals. This is only a small benefit, as the nutrients in Chex cereal are common for the most part—and they’d likely be absorbed better from whole foods. But it may provide some benefit.
- Many flavors of Chex cereal have processed vegetable oil. Many (but not all) flavors have canola oil and/or sunflower oil. These are highly processed oils that add more empty calories in addition to the sugar.
Overall, Chex cereal ingredients are a mix of good and bad. The real key to whether Chex is “healthy” may have to do more with questions like, How much sugar is there? How much fiber? And so on.
So, let’s take a closer look at those areas next.
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2. Is Chex Cereal High in Sugar?
Chex cereal has 3g to 12g of sugar per serving, depending on the flavor. Rice Chex is the lowest-sugar flavor, with only 3g per serving, similar to Cheerios or Corn Flakes. Meanwhile, Honey Nut Chex is the highest-sugar flavor, with 12g per serving—the same as Frosted Flakes.
The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 25g of sugar per day for women and 36g per day for men. But no added sugar is needed for human health. Really, the healthiest diet would likely just have some natural sugar from fruit and whole foods.
So, for me personally, any amount of “added sugar” is a negative. Unfortunately, most popular foods today come with a bunch of sugar.
Here is a table comparing the sugar content of Chex to other popular cereal brands:
|Cereal||Serving Size||Total Sugars||Added Sugar|
|Cheerios||1 1/2 cup (39g)||2g||2g|
|Chocolate Chex||1 cup (43g)||11g||11g|
|Cinnamon Chex||1 cup (40g)||8g||8g|
|Corn Chex||1 1/4 cup (39g)||4g||4g|
|Corn Flakes||1 1/2 cup (42g)||4g||4g|
|Froot Loops||1 1/3 cup (39g)||12g||12g|
|Frosted Flakes||1 cup (37g)||12g||12g|
|Grape Nuts||1/2 cup (58g)||5g||0g|
|Honey Nut Chex||1 cup (43g)||12g||12g|
|Life||1 cup (42g)||8g||8g|
|Peanut Butter Chex||1 cup (41g)||9g||9g|
|Raisin Bran||1 cup (59g)||17g||9g|
|Rice Chex||1 1/3 cup (40g)||3g||3g|
|Rice Krispies||1 1/2 cup (40g)||4g||4g|
|Shredded Wheat||1 1/3 cup (60g)||0g||0g|
|Special K||1 1/4 cup (39g)||5g||4g|
|Wheat Chex||1 cup (59g)||6g||6g|
Basically, the low-sugar flavors of Chex—Rice Chex and Corn Chex, especially—are not too bad. They are comparable to cereals like Cheerios, Corn Flakes, or Rice Krispies.
However, the high-sugar flavors of Chex—Honey Nut Chex and Chocolate Chex, especially—are among the most sugary cereals out there.
And it’s worth noting: Aside from sugar, Chex is made from grains that will turn into sugar in your body, too. So if you have blood-sugar issues, you may want to avoid Chex cereal or limit your portion sizes.
- Does Chex cereal have high fructose corn syrup? Chex cereal is sweetened with normal sugar, not high fructose corn syrup.
- Is Chex cereal keto friendly? Chex cereal is not keto friendly or low carb. Chex cereal has 31g to 51g of carbohydrate in each serving. The majority of the calories in Chex cereal come from carbs, not fat or protein.
3. Is Chex Cereal High in Fiber?
Most flavors of Chex Cereal have 2g of fiber per serving. That is a moderate amount—about twice as much as in Corn Flakes. The Chex flavor with the most fiber is Wheat Chex, with 8g per serving. The Chex flavor with the least fiber is Apple Cinnamon, with <1g per serving.
Why does Wheat Chex have so much more fiber than the other Chex flavors? Well, it’s the only Chex flavor made from wheat, and it seems to be made entirely with whole grain. Meanwhile, the rice and corn flavors are partially whole grain, but not entirely.
Generally, women are recommended to get 25g of fiber per day, while men are recommended to get 38g of fiber per day. A couple servings of Wheat Chex would go a long way toward reaching those numbers.
4. Is Chex Cereal Low in Sodium?
Chex cereal is not very low in sodium. Each serving has 250mg to 340mg of sodium, depending on the flavor. That is about 30% to 80% more sodium than Cheerios.
Here is a table showing the sodium content of Chex cereals by flavor:
|Chex Cereal||Sodium Per Serving|
|Honey Nut Chex||270mg|
|Peanut Butter Chex||270mg|
For reference: The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sodium to 2,300mg per day. But they are “moving toward an ideal limit” of only 1,500mg per day. That would be about 4-6 servings of Chex cereal. So, while Chex can be eaten in moderation on a healthy diet, it is not very low in sodium.
5. Is Chex Cereal High in Iron?
Chex cereal has 3.6mg to 18mg of iron per serving, depending on the flavor. That’s 20% to 100% of the Daily Value for iron. Most flavors have 10-12 mg of iron per serving (60-70% Daily Value). Wheat Chex has the most iron per serving of any Chex cereal.
If you need to improve your iron intake, I have a special tip for you, too: Eat vitamin C at the same meal as your Chex cereal. Vitamin C is shown to improve absorption of non-heme iron when eaten together.
So have some fruit with your Chex cereal! Here’s a list of high vitamin-C fruits to especially focus on.
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6. Is Chex Cereal Good For Weight Loss?
Chex cereal is likely not the perfect choice for a weight-loss diet. There are other cereals that could fill you up with more fiber, less sugar, and likely keep you better satisfied while in a calorie deficit. However, you can certainly lose weight while eating Chex cereal.
Chex cereal is not the lowest-calorie food, as it has processed sugar. Some flavors have a lot of added sugar (especially Honey Nut Chex and Chocolate Chex).
Any processed ingredients (including sugar) tend to have a relatively high caloric density, as the bulk and fiber are removed. To lose weight, it helps to focus on low calorie-density foods.
By itself, a few servings of Chex cereal will not make or break your weight loss diet, though. Weight loss depends on your overall diet and lifestyle.
If you’re burning more calories than you’re eating each week overall, you should lose weight. Eating some Chex cereal or other “processed foods” on occasion will not ruin your diet as long as that overall pattern is in tact.
- Is Chex Cereal Good For Losing Belly Fat? Specific foods cannot help you lose fat from a specific area of your body. Fat loss depends on your overall diet and lifestyle—not one food you eat. For more information, read my post on how to get six-pack abs.
7.What Is the Healthiest Chex Cereal?
Wheat Chex is probably the healthiest flavor of Chex cereal, as it has about four times as much fiber as most other flavors. Rice Chex is also pretty healthy, as it is the lowest-sugar flavor of Chex. Corn Chex is also fairly healthy.
Fiber is a key part of what makes a diet healthy, especially when you’re talking about your choice of carbs (like cereal). So, the higher amount of whole grains in Wheat Chex really does make it a healthier choice for most people.
Another decent choice would be Rice Chex, because at least it has less sugar than most flavors. That said, most people will find Rice Chex to be less filling and satisfying compared to Wheat Chex, due to the lower fiber content.
In any case, the three healthiest flavors of Chex cereal would be Wheat Chex, Rice Chex, and Corn Chex—probably in that order.
8. Can Chex Cereal Cause Acne?
The relationship between diet and acne is still evolving. But more and more, there is evidence that diet does play a major role in acne. And there are a few specific types of foods that are widely acknowledged as problematic.
The first big problem food for acne is dairy: Milk, cheese, ice cream, and so on. So if you’re eating your Chex cereal with cow’s milk, that could be aggravating your acne.
But the second kind of acne problem food is even more closely associated with Chex cereal. It’s sugar. As covered above, some flavors of Chex cereal have a lot of sugar—plus there are more quick-digesting carbs from the processed rice, corn, or wheat.
Milk and sugar are suspected to affect acne through similar mechanisms. It has to do with your body’s insulin response. Your body’s use of insulin is affected by eating dairy foods and also by spikes in your blood sugar. (source)
Interestingly, this means that for many acne sufferers, reducing acne is about stabilizing your blood-sugar levels. And often, that means cutting out high-GI carbs like those found in Chex cereal—or at least minimizing them.
Personally, I found that cereal was one of my worst foods for acne. Even if I chose cereals with “no added sugar,” the high-GI processed flakes still often caused problems for me.
If you want to learn more, I wrote more about acne science and how to clear your acne in this big blog post.
9. Is Chex Cereal Vegan?
Chex cereal is generally considered vegan—except for Honey Nut Chex, which has honey, which most vegans avoid. Also, Chex cereal has sugar, which is a gray-area ingredient some vegans avoid. That’s because non-organic cane sugar is often filtered with animal bone char in the production process.
Whether honey is vegan is actually a hugely debated topic. Of course, honey is an animal product, and vegans typically avoid animal products… But it’s unclear whether bees even feel pain or experience consciousness. So, it’s complicated.
And of course, there’s another potential vegan complaint with Chex cereal—the sugar could be processed with bone char. But most vegans are not so picky to boycott foods over that detail.
Most vegans would say that Chex cereal is vegan. Just don’t eat it with real cow’s milk.
If you want a more detailed answer, see my blog post “Is Chex Cereal Vegan?“
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