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The #1 Worst Thing to Buy at Costco's Bakery

Step away from that two-for-one deal.
shelves and selection at costco bakery

After a trip to Costco to stock up on all the essentials, you may find yourself craving something sweet before you hit the road. And with the bakery right there and full of tasty goodies, it's perfectly OK to splurge and treat yourself once in a while. But if you want to get a sweet fix without throwing off your entire day, registered dietitians and nutritionists agree that there's one food to avoid at the Costco bakery: the muffins.

Megan Byrd, a dietitian and owner of the food blog The Oregon Dietitian, explains that—like everything else at Costco—the bakery items are larger than average. "The problem with oversized muffins is that having larger-sized packages and actual items increases how much you actually eat," says Byrd. This means that you'll consume more saturated fats, processed carbohydrates like white flour and sugar, and overall calories—all of which can contribute to weight gain.

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Costco's oversized muffins are a great price, but they're horrible for your health

costco muffins
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It's not just about the number on the scale. Byrd adds that eating these oversized muffins can also "increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes." Furthermore, she notes that a sugar-packed muffin can cause teeth issues and increase your cravings for more sugar and carbs.

Costco's large muffins are especially unhealthy because a bigger muffin equals a bigger volume of bad ingredients, according to Donna Rose RDN, LDN, owner of Nona's Nutrition Notes. "Starting with calories, large muffins can have a whole meal's worth and then some," Rose says. "Large muffins have all the more saturated fats, sugar, and preservatives than their smaller counterparts." Furthermore, she emphasizes that Costco's huge muffins offer precious little nutrition in exchange for the hefty caloric price.

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Kristin Gillespie, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, registered dietitian nutritionist at Exercise With Style, also says that large muffins—particularly those found at Costco and other commercial bakeries—are typically "incredibly high in calories and undesirable nutrients like saturated fat and sugar." She explains that the vast majority of the calories in a muffin from Costco come from flour and sugar. "In fact, one of these mega-muffins may contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar," says Gillespie. But despite the high calorie content, don't be surprised if you find yourself hungry by the time you get home and begin unpacking your purchases. "The macronutrient content of these muffins will likely leave you feeling hungry only a short time after consumption," Gillespie says. And then, of course, there's the inevitable blood sugar spike and crash you're bound to experience.

Because Costco's bakery nutrition information isn't available online, it can be difficult to plan ahead. It's not readily available at the counter either, but Byrd recommends asking. In her experience, she says that when she has requested nutritional information at the counter, it has been given to her. "If you request it in person, they may just hand it to you over the counter," she says. So you may not be able to plan ahead as much as you'd like, but at least you won't be completely in the dark about the calories, saturated fat, and sugars you'll consume when you choose your treat at the bakery.

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Caitlin Flynn
Caitlin Flynn is a freelance lifestyle, food, and travel writer. Read more
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