Are Animal Crackers Healthy? The Truth About Your Favorite Snack

Animal crackers have been a beloved snack for generations. They’re a staple in lunchboxes, a common sight at picnics, and a favorite of both children and adults. 

While they look cute and taste good, are animal crackers healthy for you?

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the ingredients and nutritional information of animal crackers from Stauffer to see whether or not they are good for you. 

Short answer: Animal crackers are not healthy as they have high sugar content, low nutritional value, use of processed flour and the presence of harmful ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors.

Read on to find out about animal crackers in detail.

Also read: The Truth About Popcorners: Are They Really Healthy?

Nutrition value of Animal Crackers

A single serving (30g) of animal crackers from Stauffer (original) contains:

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fiber: less than 1g
  • Sodium: 105mg

Ingredients in Animal Crackers

Animal crackers typically have three main ingredients, i.e., Wheat flour, sugar, and oil. All other ingredients you will find are added to improve the flavor of the snack.

Here are the key ingredients that you would find in Stauffer animal crackers:

  • Enriched wheat flour, 
  • Sugar, 
  • Soybean oil, 
  • High fructose corn syrup, 
  • Salt, 
  • Baking soda, 
  • Emulsifier(soy lecithin)
  • Natural flavor
  • Spice

If you choose to go with the chocolate flavor of Stauffer animal cracker, some extra ingredients that you find include Cocoa, Graham flour, Chocolate, Salt, Artificial flavor, Caramel color, FD&C Blue, FD&C Yellow, Sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate.

5 Reasons Animal Crackers are not healthy

1. Low in nutrients 

Animal crackers may seem like a healthy option due to labels such as ‘low fat,’ ‘zero trans fat,’ and ‘zero cholesterol’ on the packaging.

But in reality, they are also almost zero in nutrition.

For example, Stauffer (original) animal crackers have just 2g of protein and less than 1g of fiber per serving, which is relatively low.

While they may contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals, they are not considered a significant source of nutrition.

2. Made from processed wheat flour

If you look at the ingredients label of the animal crackers, you will find that most of them contain Enriched wheat flour.

Enriched wheat flour is processed wheat flour made solely from the endosperm of the wheat kernel. As a result, it is primarily composed of carbohydrates. 

To make the flour a little nutritious, food companies add synthetic nutrients, mainly B vitamins, and promote it as Enriched wheat flour.

If consumed in excess, this type of wheat flour can result in weight gain, inflammation, insulin resistance, and other health problems.

3. Contains added sugar 

Animal crackers often come with added sugar which provides a sweet taste but can be detrimental to your health.

A single serving of animal crackers can contain up to 7g to 8g of sugar, which is about 26% of the daily sugar limit for adults and 33% for children, per the American Heart Association.

And since animal crackers are often consumed in larger quantities, it’s easy to see how they can quickly add up.

In the long run, consuming too much added sugar may result in weight, obesity, diabetes, and other serious health issues.

4. Use of high fructose corn syrup

Many animal crackers on the market use High fructose corn syrup as an ingredient.

It is a sweetener made from corn starch and is usually used in processed food to preserve and enhance the flavor.

However, evidence suggests that high fructose corn syrup(HFCS) can contribute to the development of metabolic disorders [1].

Additionally, some studies have also reported that excessive consumption of food containing HFCS can result in weight gain and increased risk of fatty liver disease[2][3].

5. Use of artificial colors

Some brands of animal crackers, such as Stauffers, use various artificial colors in their products, which can potentially be harmful to health.

These artificial colors include caramel, FD&C Blue, and FD&C Yellow.

As per studies, FD&C Blue, also known as Brilliant blue, has been known to cause hypersensitivity reactions[4]

Whereas FD&C Yellow, also known as Tartrazine, has been found to be contaminated with carcinogens. [5]

Although not all animal crackers may contain these artificial colors, checking the ingredients label before making a purchase is important. 

Are Animal Crackers good for diabetics?

Animals Crackers are made from processed wheat flour and contain added sugar and sweeteners, which are not the best choice for diabetics as they can affect blood sugar levels.

Even if you find animal crackers made from whole wheat flour, it is important to check for other ingredients that might increase the risk.

Are Animal Crackers healthier than chips?

When compared nutritionally, animal crackers typically contain fewer calories, fat, and sodium than most chips. However, they also tend to have more sugar.

So while animal crackers may be slightly healthier than chips, they are not necessarily healthy food. 

Here is the nutrition comparison of animal crackers to popular chips available in the market.

SnackCaloriesSugarFatSodiumFiber
Animal crackers(Stauffer)(30g)1207g2g105mg<1g
Lays(28g)1500.7g3.5g150mg1g
Pringles(28g)1460g3.9g146mg1g
Fritos(28g)1600g10g200mg1g

Are Animal crackers from Zoo and Barnum’s healthy?

Besides Stauffer, Zoo and Barnum’s are two other popular brands of animal crackers, but are they healthy?

When looking at the ingredients, both Zoo and Barnum’s animal crackers use similar ingredients, such as enriched wheat flour, sugar, soybean oil, baking soda, salt, emulsifiers, and natural and artificial flavors.

However, one potential benefit of Barnum’s animal crackers is that they do not contain high fructose corn syrup. 

In terms of nutrition, there is no significant difference between the three brands. 

Here is a quick nutritional comparison for you.

NutrientsStauffer(30g)Barnum’s(28g)Zoo(56g)
Calories120120230
Carbohydrates25g22g47g
Sugar7g7g15g
Fat2g3.5g3.5g
Protein2g1g4g
Fiber<1g0g1g
Sodium105mg85mg150mg

Whether you choose Stauffer, Barnum’s, or Zoo animal crackers, if consumed excessively, it can cost you your health.

Final words

Despite their cute and cuddly appearance, animal crackers are not a healthy choice. They’re often high in sugar and made using processed ingredients, which, if consumed excessively, can contribute to weight gain, obesity, and other health problems.

However, that’s not to say you can’t enjoy them as a treat in moderation.

Look for animal crackers that are made with whole wheat flour and low in sugar, and contain natural ingredients.

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Yatender

Yatender

Yatender is the founder of investohealth.com, which is a health and wellness blog. He is passionate about writing, health and helping people. He believes that everything can be possible if you put your heart in it. He is always open to queries and suggestions for his articles, you can connect with him on his social media platforms.

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