If nutrition didn’t matter at all, I might just eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch every day. It’s super delicious. But of course, a lot of that delicious taste comes from sugar... So today, let’s take a closer look: Just how unhealthy is Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch is made with whole grain wheat and real cinnamon, which have health benefits. However, due to its 12g of added sugar per serving, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not very healthy overall.
Below, I’ll compare Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s nutrition to other popular cereals. I’ll answer questions about whether Cinnamon Toast Crunch is good for weight loss (and weight gain), whether it can cause acne, and more.
Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bad for You?
Here are the 11 questions I’ll be answering about Cinnamon Toast Crunch nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Made Of?
- Does Cinnamon Toast Crunch Have a Lot of Sugar?
- Does Cinnamon Toast Crunch Have Fiber?
- Does Cinnamon Toast Crunch Have Iron?
- Does Cinnamon Toast Crunch Have Protein?
- Can I Eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Still Lose Weight?
- Can Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cause Acne?
- What Happens if You Eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch Every Day?
- Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Healthier Than Frosted Flakes?
- Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Good for Bulking?
- Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Vegan?
1. What Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Made Of?
Let’s start by looking at the actual ingredients for Cinnamon Toast Crunch:
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Rice Flour, Canola and/or Sunflower Oil, Fructose, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Salt, Cinnamon, Trisodium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Caramel Color. BHT Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), Iron and Zinc (mineral nutrients), A B Vitamin (niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), Vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), Vitamin A (palmitate), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), A B Vitamin (folic acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch is made with whole grain wheat. It’s the main ingredient, listed first. This whole grain wheat provides some fiber content, which we’ll cover more below.
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch has 12g of added sugar per serving. That’s quite a bit of sugar. In addition, this cereal also has other simple carbs like rice flour, fructose, maltodextrin, and dextrose. For more on the sugar content, see below.
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch has caramel color. This coloring ingredient can potentially contain a carcinogen called 4-MeI. For example, in a Consumer Reports study, many sodas with caramel color tested at surprisingly high levels for 4-MeI.
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch has real cinnamon. Cinnamon has many health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, decreased heart disease risk, improved insulin sensitivity, lowers blood-sugar levels, and more. (source)
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch has added vitamins and minerals. This is only a small benefit, as most of these nutrients are quite common, and they’d likely be absorbed better from whole foods. But still, it may provide a small benefit.
Like most foods, Cinnamon Toast Crunch has a mix of good and bad ingredients. But in my opinion, the biggest concern is just all that sugar.
So let’s take a closer look at the sugar content next.
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2. Does Cinnamon Toast Crunch Have a Lot of Sugar?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch has 12 grams of sugar per serving (1 cup or 41g). This is six times the sugar found in Cheerios, and three times the sugar of Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies. It’s about the same amount of sugar as in Frosted Flakes or Froot Loops.
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 Cinnamon Toast Crunch to other popular cereal brands:
|Cereal||Serving Size||Total Sugars||Added Sugar|
|Cheerios||1 1/2 cup (39g)||2g||2g|
|Cinnamon Toast Crunch||1 cup (41g)||12g||12g|
|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|
|Life||1 cup (42g)||8g||8g|
|Raisin Bran||1 cup (59g)||17g||9g|
|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|
As you can see, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is among the highest-sugar cereals in this list. And it’s worth noting: Aside from sugar, it also has some rice flour and other simple carbs that will turn into sugar in your body, too.
So if you have blood-sugar issues, you may want to avoid Cinnamon Toast Crunch or limit your portion sizes.
- Does Cinnamon Toast Crunch have high fructose corn syrup? Cinnamon Toast Crunch does not have high fructose corn syrup. However, it does contain some fructose, as well as normal sugar and dextrose.
- Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch keto friendly? Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not keto friendly or low carb. It has 33g of carbohydrate in each serving (1 cup or 41g).
3. Does Cinnamon Toast Crunch Have Fiber?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch has a low to moderate amount of fiber. There are 2g of fiber per serving, or almost 5g of fiber per 100g of cereal. That’s about twice as much fiber as Corn Flakes, but much less fiber than Cheerios, Weetabix, or Shredded Wheat.
Fiber can help a bit to slow down the digestion of sugar and carbs. Fiber also comes with many other health benefits. And Cinnamon Toast Crunch has a little fiber due to the whole grain wheat.
Here is a table showing how Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal compares to several other popular cereals for fiber content:
|Cereal||Estimated Fiber per 100g|
|Cinnamon Toast Crunch||4.9g|
As you can see, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is nowhere near being the highest-fiber cereal… But it’s not the lowest either, thanks to being made with whole wheat.
4. Does Cinnamon Toast Crunch Have Iron?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch has about 3.6mg of iron per serving. That’s about 20% of the Daily Value (DV) for iron per serving, based on the needs of an adult with a 2,000 calorie diet.
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 Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Vitamin C is shown to improve absorption of non-heme iron when eaten together.
So have some fruit with your Cinnamon Toast Crunch! Here’s a list of high vitamin-C fruits to especially focus on.
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5. Does Cinnamon Toast Crunch Have Protein?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch only has 2 grams of protein per serving (1 cup or 41g). That is pretty low. However, if you’re eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch with milk of some sort, it could have 8 grams or more of protein per serving.
None of the ingredients in Cinnamon Toast Crunch are particularly high in protein, but there’s still a little protein from the grains and other ingredients.
Obviously, your selection of milk can impact how much protein is in your bowl of cereal, too. If you’re choosing a plant-based milk, then soy milk or pea milk will likely have the most. Almond milk and rice milk are usually low in protein.
As someone who does a bit of bodybuilding and who loves cereal, I have a bonus cereal protein tip. Here it is: Mix protein powder into your milk before you pour it on your cereal. This simple change can turn cereal into a decently high-protein meal—while keeping it easy, quick, and delicious.
6. Can I Eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Still Lose Weight?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch would not be the best choice for a weight-loss diet. Other cereals could help fill you up with more fiber and less sugar, and perhaps keep you more satisfied in a calorie deficit. But certainly, you can still lose weight while eating this cereal.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not a low-calorie food since it has processed sugar and oil. Processed ingredients tend to have a relatively high caloric density, as the bulk and fiber are removed. To lose weight, it helps to focus on whole foods.
By itself, a few servings of Cinnamon Toast Crunch 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 Cinnamon Toast Crunch or other “processed foods” on occasion will not ruin your diet, as long as that overall pattern is in tact.
- How many calories are in a whole box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch? A12.2 oz box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch has around 1,434 calories.
7. Can Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cause Acne?
The relationship between diet and acne is still evolving. But increasingly, there is significant 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 Cinnamon Toast Crunch with cow’s milk, that could already be aggravating your acne.
But the second kind of acne problem food is even more closely associated with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s sugar. As covered above, this cereal has a fair amount of sugar in each serving (12 grams)—plus it has more carbs from the grain-based flour.
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 people with acne, reducing acne is about stabilizing your blood-sugar levels. And often, that means cutting out high-GI carbs like those found in Cinnamon Toast Crunch—or at least minimizing them.
Personally, I found that cereal was one of the worst foods for my acne. Even if I chose whole-grain 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.
8. What Happens if You Eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch Every Day?
How Cinnamon Toast Crunch affects your body will depend on your overall diet. If you only eat a small serving of Cinnamon Toast Crunch daily—and if your lifestyle is healthy overall—then you may not face any bad consequences.
However, if you eat large portions and excess calories—and if your overall diet and lifestyle is unhealthy—that could cause more bad consequences long-term. What kind of specific issues? Well…
Eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch may spike your blood sugar. Blood sugar spikes can have many negative short- and long-term effects. These can potentially include:
- Lethargy (“sugar crash”) and hunger;
- Insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes;
- Hardening of the blood vessels, leading to increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Also, Cinnamon Toast Crunch may lead you to eat excess calories. Since it’s a processed food with a high calorie-density, it’s easy to overeat. And if you overeat calories too often, you could have weight gain and associated health issues.
9. Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Healthier Than Frosted Flakes?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch would generally not be considered healthier than Frosted Flakes. In fact, Frosted Flakes may be slightly healthier, as it has 30% fewer calories and 20% less sodium per serving (1 cup). Neither cereal is considered very healthy.
Here is a table comparing these two cereals:
|Cinnamon Toast Crunch||170||230mg||12g||2g|
Here’s the breakdown:
- Calories: Cinnamon Toast Crunch is about 30% higher in calories. This may be due to the higher fat content in Cinnamon Toast Crunch, as it contains some vegetable oil (Frosted Flakes has no oil).
- Sodium: Cinnamon Toast Crunch is about 20% higher in sodium.
- Sugar: Both cereals are pretty high in sugar, with 12g per serving.
- Fiber: Cinnamon Toast Crunch has more fiber—but honestly, neither cereal has a whole lot (2g vs 1g).
And when we look at the ingredients, too, Cinnamon Toast Crunch gives a little more cause for concern. Cinnamon Toast Crunch has caramel color, which is a bit of a controversial coloring ingredient—but Frosted Flakes doesn’t have anything like that.
Overall, neither cereal is very healthy, but Cinnamon Toast Crunch may be slightly worse.
10. Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Good for Bulking?
What if you’re trying to gain weight and build muscle? Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch a good choice? Well, it depends a bit on your priorities. It can get the job done, but it may not be the best option.
Most people still want to eat somewhat healthy while bulking. If you eat too much junk food, you may end up gaining a lot of unnecessary fat during your bulk. And honestly, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a bit of a junk food.
The best cereal for a bulk might be something like shredded wheat or oats. Those are healthy sources of carbs, without much dietary fat. (Or you can choose Mini-Wheats, if you want to model Alex Hormozi’s crazy 6-week bulk where he gained 35 pounds.)
That said, you can definitely gain muscle while eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch. To build muscle, the most important thing nutritionally is just a calorie surplus and enough protein. And you can definitely eat in a calorie surplus with Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
To make sure you get enough protein, you may want to choose a high-protein milk, or add protein powder into your milk. If you eat a lot of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with rice milk or almond milk, you won’t be getting a lot of protein.
11. Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Vegan?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch is generally considered vegan. However, it does have sugar, which is a gray-area ingredient some vegans avoid. The reason is that non-organic cane sugar is often filtered with animal bone char in the production process.
The only vegan complaint I could see against Cinnamon Toast Crunch is that the sugar could be processed with bone char. But most vegans are not so picky to boycott foods over that detail.
Most vegans would argue that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is vegan—just don’t eat it with real cow’s milk.
[For more detail, see my separate post: Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Vegan?]
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