Must-Follow Tips

The 30 Unhealthiest Snacks on the Planet

Do. Not. Eat.

woman snacking
Must-Follow Tips

The 30 Unhealthiest Snacks on the Planet

Do. Not. Eat.

To keep blood sugar levels stable, metabolism up, and weight loss on track, a snack can be one of the best tools in your arsenal. But if you choose the wrong foods—they're often the kinds that come in packages—then you do the exact opposite.

That's why we've rounded up 30 of the most popular chips, crackers, popcorn, and snack bars that either have sketchy nutritionals or do more harm than good for your belly. Make sure you're not munching on any of the following—and then start snacking smart with these Healthiest Snacks Under $1.

Category: Chips


1

Lay's Potato Chips, Barbecue

lays potato chips bbq

1 oz (about 15 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 150 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugars, 2 g protein

These are an American favorite—especially for the male population. They're not the worst chip on this list in calories or sodium, but they do still contain 10 grams of fat. If six-pack abs are in your sights, these chips are not your friend.

2

Ruffles Original

ruffles original

1 oz (about 12 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 160 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, < 1 g sugars, 2 g protein

Lay's Sour Cream and Onion outrank these Classic Ruffles nutritionally, and although these may have a more pleasing texture, they're not worth the eye-popping fat content. (Trivia: Ruffles was originally created to mimic the ruffles in fabric during the late 1950s. Its design was supposed to prevent breakage.)

3

Lay's Potato Chips, Classic

lays potato

1 oz serving (about 15 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat) 170 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, < 1 g sugar, 2 g protein

These are so salty and oily, you'll find a coating on both your fingers and tongue after just one. They outrank the chips below because you can consume more for the same caloric cost (15 chips vs 10). But we don't recommend it.

4

Pringles Sour Cream & Onion

pringles sour cream

1 oz serving (approx. 15 chips): 150 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 1 g protein

The use of soybean oil and MSG drops the rank of these Pringles. MSG increases appetite by blocking the message to the brain that you've eaten your fill—hello, abdominal fat! Consuming MSG is only one of the 40 Bad Habits That Are Giving You Belly Fat!

5

Herr's Ketchup Flavored Potato Chips

herrs ketchup

1 oz: 150 calories, 10 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 300 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 2 g protein

If you're one of those people who puts ketchup on literally everything, you're probably tempted to indulge in these chips. But proceed with caution. Combining two salty items can only produce one result: sky-high sodium and fat. One serving contains 10 grams of fat and 300 mg of sodium. Stay away from these chips and these 150 Worst Packaged Foods in America to keep the pounds flying off your frame.

6

TERRA, Sweet Potato, No Salt Added

terra, sweet potato

1 oz serving (about 17 chips): 160 calories, 11 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 1 g protein

These no-added-salt contain 3 more grams of fat than Lay's version, but are lower in sodium by a whopping 85 milligrams! In the chip world, 10 milligrams of sodium per serving is unheard of. However, Lay's outranked them due to their fat and calorie content.

7

Lay's Sour Cream and Onion

lays sour cream

1 oz serving (about 17 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, < 1 g sugar, 2 g protein

The nutritional profile of these and Ruffles' Original are about the same. However, if you go for volume, you can eat more five more of these chips. Plus, they contain fewer calories, fat, and sodium.

8

Ruffles Deep Ridged, Bacon & Cheddar Loaded Potato Skins

ruffles deep ridged

1 oz (about 10 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 170 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 2 g protein

Ruffles' complex flavors are simply junky. In eating 10 measly chips, you'll cash out 160 calories, 10 grams of fat and 170 milligrams of sodium.

9

Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream

ruffles cheddar

1 oz serving (about 11 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 2 g protein

Similar to the Potato Skin version above, these Ruffles rank second-to-worst by a mere 10 milligrams of sodium. But sodium counts big time. For every extra gram of salt you eat in a day—that's a mere ⅕ of a teaspoon, or about what you'll find in one of those tiny salt packets from the soup shop—your risk of obesity climbs by 25 percent, according to a study at Queen Mary University in London. Researchers speculate that sodium alters our metabolism, changing the way we absorb fat.

10

Fritos Corn Chips, Chili Cheese

fritos corn chips, chili cheese

1 oz (about 31 chips): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 270 mg sodium, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 2 g protein

One serving of these Fritos costs you 10 grams of fat and 270 milligrams of sodium, both diet demons. They're also made with caramel coloring, which is often found in soft drinks (one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet, has been proven to cause cancer in animals and is a possible carcinogen in humans. If the possibility of absorbing more fat doesn't scare you, an increased risk of cancer should.

Category: Microwave Popcorn


11

Jolly Time Mini Bags Blast O Butter, Ultimate Theatre Style

jolly time mini bags blast o butter, ultimate theatre style

Per 3 tbsp (43 g) unpopped (4.5 cups popped, 1 serving per bag): 210 calories, 16 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 6 g trans fats), 410 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (4 g fiber, < 1 g sugar), 3 g protein

Although we kept serving sizes consistent for most of the popcorn bags, we made an exception for this one. That's because the bag is marketed as a single serving, so we'd assume people would likely work through the entire thing. Doing so means you'll set yourself back three days worth of soon-to-be-banned trans fats (from partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil) and a quarter of your day's worth of fat. It's not just microwaveable popcorn that does it; check out these 14 Sneaky Types of Food With Bogus Serving Sizes to see more examples of how you could be duped into consuming more calories than you were initially led to believe.

12

Cousin Willie's Buttery Explosion

cousin willie’s buttery explosion

Per 2 tbsp (30 g) unpopped (5 cups popped): 160 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 3 g trans fat), 340 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (5 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 3 g protein

This bag of kernels is a relic of the old days. Before the FDA announced in 2015 that it was banning partially hydrogenated oils—also known as artery-clogging trans fats—from food, the majority of microwaveable popcorn brands contained this shelf-stable ingredient. Because the ban will be enforced starting in 2018, many brands have moved away from this cardiotoxic ingredient. Not Cousin Willie's. The Indiana-based company serves up 150 percent of your recommended maximum intake of trans fats—one of the worst foods for your brain—in their standard serving.

13

Pop-Secret Homestyle

pop-secret homestyle

Per 2 tbsp (32 g) unpopped (3.5 cups popped): 150 calories, 9 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Besides the high sodium and fat content, we were also irked by Pop-Secret's addition of propyl gallate to their kernels. It might be classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), but a National Toxicology Program study reported an association with tumors in rats. Unfortunately, that study came out in 1982, and any significant findings since then are sparse. Before we eat anything, we'd rather have ample evidence suggesting an ingredient is safe rather than partial suggestions the additive could be an endocrine disruptor, just like BPA.

14

Smart Balance Smart Movie Style Microwave Popcorn

smart balance smart movie style microwave popcorn

Per 3 tbsp (32 g) unpopped (3.5 cups popped): 170 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 420 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 3 g protein

15

Pop-Secret Double Butter Flavor

pop-secret double butter flavor

Per 2 tbsp (32 g) unpopped (3.5 cups popped): 180 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 380 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

It might have less fat than the brand listed below, but Pop-Secret contains more saturated fat—the type of fat that's been found to increase levels of your bad gut bacteria that cause weight gain.

16

Orville Redenbacher's Pour Over Movie Theater Butter

orville redenbacher’s pour over movie theater butter

Per 2 tbsp (33 g) unpopped (3.5 cups popped): 180 calories, 14 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Those 14 grams of fat are full of linoleic acid: an omega-6 fatty acid that has been found to be possibly adipogenic, which means it promotes fat storage in our bodies. Luckily, you have the calorie-cutting power in your own hands, thanks to Orville Redenbacher's "Pour Over" butter. Use the flavor sparsely!

17

Orville Redenbacher's Movie Theater Butter

orville redenbacher’s movie theater butter

Per 2 tbsp (34 g) unpopped (5 cups popped): 160 calories, 10 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 3 g protein

This might surprise you, but the ingredients of Orville Redenbacher's Movie Theater Butter and the exact same as the "Home Recipe" bowl listed below. But because there's more fat and sodium in this recipe, we'd recommend going with the option below.

18

Orville Redenbacher's Home Recipe Pop-Up Bowl

orville redenbacher’s home recipe pop-up bowl

Per 2 tbsp (35 g) unpopped (4 cups popped): 170 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (3 fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

It might be called "Home Recipe," but we'd bet you don't have "artificial flavors" or "TBHQ" in your pantry. We do, however, hope you have these 20 Healthy Pantry Staples!

Category: Crackers


19

Keebler Club Crackers, Original

keebler club crackers, original

Serving size: (13 pieces, 30 g)
Nutrition: 130 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 230 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

They're a go -to staple snack when your stomach is upset—but unfortunately not so great in general.

20

Ritz Roasted Vegetable

ritz roasted vegetable

Serving size: (5 crackers, 16 g)
Nutrition: 80 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 150 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber

As the name suggests, this box contains a handful of dehydrated vegetables. The problem is, the main ingredient is still refined flour, and it's bogged down with hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup, one of the 50 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.

21

Nabisco Ritz Bits Sandwiches Cheese

nabisco ritz bits sandwiches cheese

Serving size: (13 pieces, 31 g)
Nutrition: 160 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated), 160 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber

Time to stop reaching into your tote bag and doling these out to your kiddos; they're soiled with sugar and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.

22

Sunshine Cheez-It Original

sunshine cheez-it original

Serving size: (27 crackers, 30 g)
Nutrition: 150 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 230 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrates, < 1 g fiber

Cheez-Its' lack of fiber prevents these crackers from having a meaningful impact on hunger. If you're going to snack, do so smartly.

23

Keebler Club Crackers, Multigrain

keebler club crackers, multigrain

Serving size: (4 crackers, 14 g)
Nutrition: 70 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated), 130 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

If you're looking for a plain cracker to calm your tummy, you can find one with a lot less fat than this! (And psst! Beware these 14 Sneaky Types of Food With Bogus Serving Sizes!)

24

Keebler Town House Flatbread Crisps Sea Salt & Olive Oil

keebler town house flatbread crisps sea salt & olive oil

Serving size: (16 crackers, 30 g)
Nutrition: 140 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated), 280 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, < 1 g fiber

The 4 grams of fat here come from soybean oil, which the experts are not exactly fans of.

25

Nabisco Wheat Thins Original

nabisco wheat thins original

Serving size: (16 crackers, 31 g)
Nutrition: 140 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Wheat Thins rely heavily on refined grains, which means less protein and fiber in each serving.

Category: Energy Bars


26

Detour Cookies 'n Cream Bar

detour cookies ’n cream bar

Serving size: 1 bar
Nutrition: 200 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated), 22 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 14 g protein

The second ingredient (after the protein) on this label is fructose, aka sugar! Not to mention, sugar and glucose syrup aren't much farther down the list of ingredients. Your body turns excess sugar into fat and stores it away, and this bar packs a glut of the sweet stuff that your body will funnel right to your gut. "The truth is that not all bars are created equal. Energy bars can fit into your meal plan, but being savvy about nutrition labels and ingredients is necessary in order to make the best decision," says Carrillo. Checking for too much sugar (try to stay under 10 grams) can be a good place to start.

27

Powerbar Performance Chocolate

powerbar performance chocolate

Serving size: 1 bar
Nutrition: 240 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 45 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 25 g sugar, 8 g protein

Twenty-five grams of sugar will definitely boost your energy — but expect a serious crash not too long after. "This bar was formulated to fuel endurance workouts. Bars like these have high loads of carbohydrate from sugar (the first ingredient) and are not created as a meal replacement or day-to-day bar for the majority of the population. Because it's made to provide quick fuel, it's also low in protein and fiber," says Carrillo. That's a sacrifice you just shouldn't make when you're trying to burn fat; fiber and protein are the two nutrients that will keep you feeling full and satisfying and, therefore, out of the snack drawer.

28

Balance Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter

balance bar chocolate peanut butter

Serving size: 1 bar
Nutrition: 200 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated), 22 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 14 g protein

The second ingredient (after the protein) on this label is fructose, aka sugar! Not to mention, sugar and glucose syrup aren't much farther down the list of ingredients. Your body turns excess sugar into fat and stores it away, and this bar packs a glut of the sweet stuff that your body will funnel right to your gut. "The truth is that not all bars are created equal. Energy bars can fit into your meal plan, but being savvy about nutrition labels and ingredients is necessary in order to make the best decision," says Carrillo. Checking for too much sugar (try to stay under 10 grams) can be a good place to start.

29

Clif Bar Chocolate Brownie

clif bar chocolate brownie

Serving size: 1 bar
Nutrition: 240 calories, 4.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 44 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 22 g sugar, 9 g protein

Clif Bars are a popular choice among the masses due to their wide range of flavors and accessibility, but according to Carrillo, they're not a balanced snack choice. "Clif bars have too many carbohydrates (more than half from sugar) for the average person. Their nutrition composition makes them a better choice for endurance athletes who require fuel for activity lasting longer than one hour," says Carrillo. You could have a serving of chocolate for fewer calories than this bar.

30

Zone Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

zone perfect chocolate chip cookie dough

Serving size: 1 bar
Nutrition: 180 calories, 5 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 24 g carbohydrates, < 1 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 10 g protein

With 10 grams of protein and only 180 calories, this bar may look like a good choice at first glance, but don't be fooled. It contains four different forms of sugar within the first six ingredients listed on the nutrition label. Brown rice syrup and corn syrup are at the top of the list, meaning they have more of a presence in the bar than any other ingredient. And with less than one gram of fiber, this bar will break down quickly and leave you hungry for more instead of fueled and focused. For better nutrition and protein bar options, don't miss our list of 16 Best Nutrition Bars for Every Goal.