Cheetos are a popular cheese flavored puffed corn snack that have been around since 1948. They come in a variety of sizes and flavors, but the classic family size bag contains 21 oz (595 g) of Cheetos puffs. Cheetos are known for being tasty, but also high in calories, fat, and sodium. For people watching their weight or nutrition, it’s important to know the calorie count of a family size bag.
Calories in a 21 oz bag of Cheetos
According to the nutritional information on the Cheetos website, a 21 oz (595 g) bag of Cheetos puffs contains:
So a family size 21 oz bag of original Cheetos puffs contains 2320 calories.
Calories per serving
The family size 21 oz bag contains about 13 servings. To determine calories per serving, divide the total calories by number of servings:
2320 calories / 13 servings = 178 calories per serving
Each 1 oz (28 g) serving of Cheetos puffs contains approximately 178 calories.
Percentage of daily value
Based on a 2000 calorie diet, the percent daily value of calories and nutrients in one serving (28 g) of Cheetos is:
|14 g, 18%
|0.5 g, 3%
|270 mg, 12%
|19 g, 7%
|0 g, 1%
|2 g, 4%
One serving of Cheetos provides 178 calories, which is 9% of the daily calorie intake based on a 2000 calorie diet. It also contains high amounts of total fat (18%) and sodium (12%).
Calories from fat
The calories in Cheetos puffs come primarily from fat.
There are 117g total fat in the 21 oz bag. Fat provides 9 calories per gram, so:
117g fat x 9 calories/g = 1,053 calories from fat
This means about 45% of the total calories in Cheetos comes from fat. The rest comes mainly from carbohydrates.
Calories from carbs
There are 252g total carbohydrates in the 21 oz bag. Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, so:
252g carbs x 4 calories/g = 1,008 calories from carbs
This means about 43% of the calories in Cheetos come from carbohydrates. When combined with the 45% of calories from fat, that accounts for most of the calories.
Calories from protein
There are 12g of protein in the 21 oz bag. Protein provides 4 calories per gram, so:
12g protein x 4 calories/g = 48 calories from protein
This means only about 2% of the calories in Cheetos comes from protein. The small amount of protein is why Cheetos cannot be considered a nutritious food.
In addition to looking at total calories, nutritionists also calculate calorie density to understand how nutrient and calorie-dense a food is.
Calorie density is measured per gram or oz of food. To find the calorie density of Cheetos:
2320 calories in 21 oz = 110 calories per oz
Cheetos puffs contain 110 calories per oz, which is considered a high calorie density. Foods with a density above 125 calories per oz are considered very energy dense because they pack a lot of calories per bite.
Comparison to other snacks
Cheetos are high in calories and fat compared to many other snacks. Here’s how they compare per 28g serving:
Cheetos provide nearly twice as many calories and over 10 times more fat as pretzels or air-popped popcorn. They are lower in calories than potato chips but higher in fat. When compared to most snack foods, Cheetos are one of the more energy-dense, higher calorie options.
The high amount of calories, fat, and sodium in Cheetos can negatively impact health if consumed frequently or in large quantities. Potential effects include:
The 2320 calories in a family size bag is more than the recommended daily intake for many people. Eating the whole bag could lead to a surplus of 1720 calories, which equals nearly 0.5 lbs (0.2 kg) of fat gain. Frequent overconsumption of calorie-dense snacks like Cheetos can cause obesity over time.
High blood pressure
There is 1780mg of sodium in a family size bag, which is over 50% of the recommended daily limit. Too much sodium is linked to high blood pressure, which increases the risk for stroke and heart disease.
With 117g of total fat, including saturated fat, eating a lot of Cheetos can raise blood cholesterol levels. High cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Since Cheetos are low in nutrients but high in calories, frequently filling up on them may displace nutrient-dense foods from the diet. This could lead to vitamin, mineral, and fiber deficiencies over time.
Acne and skin issues
The high glycemic index of Cheetos, due to refined flour and lack of fiber, can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar. This triggers inflammation and increase insulin, contributing to acne.
Ways to reduce calories
There are a few simple ways to reduce the calorie impact if you want to indulge in Cheetos occasionally:
– Measure out a single serving size instead of eating from the whole bag. This limits you to about 178 calories instead of overconsuming.
– Pair it with lower calorie foods like raw veggies or a salad to help fill you up. The extra fiber and water content help slow digestion.
– Drink water while eating them since it fills your stomach and prevents overeating.
– Choose baked Cheetos which have about 20-30% fewer calories per serving compared to regular fried Cheetos puffs.
– Buy individual snack size bags instead of a large family bag so there’s a built-in portion control.
– Share the bag with others so you don’t eat the entire high-calorie package yourself.
Healthier snack alternatives
For a lower calorie crunch, consider these healthier snack options:
Air-popped popcorn seasoned with a little bit of salt or spices provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals with just 31 calories per cup.
Boiled soybeans are low in calories and fat but rich in protein, fiber, and nutrients. 1/2 cup of edamame has about 95 calories.
Nuts and seeds
An ounce of nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pistachios contains 160-180 calories and provides protein and healthy fats.
Carrots and hummus
Dip baby carrots into a couple tablespoons of hummus for a snack under 100 calories that offers fiber, vitamins, and plant-based protein.
Top plain non-fat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of granola for added crunch. This gives protein, calcium, and probiotics.
Apples and peanut butter
Sliced apples dipped in a tablespoon of natural peanut butter provides filling fiber, nutrients, and healthy fat.
Cheetos are a tasty but nutritionally poor snack choice. A family size 21 oz bag contains 2320 calories, with most coming from fat and carbs, and provides high amounts of sodium. Just one serving delivers 178 calories and 14g of fat. Frequently eating Cheetos may contribute to weight gain, increased disease risk, and nutritional deficiencies. Moderating portions, pairing with healthier items, and choosing alternative snacks like popcorn, vegetables, and nuts can help reduce the calorie impact. Overall, Cheetos should be an occasional treat food rather than a daily snack choice.