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The Single Most Toxic Item on Grocery Store Shelves

It's time to remove it from your list so it doesn't make its way into your shopping cart ever again.

To make the most of your trip to the supermarket, there's a good chance you have a list in hand and a planned route in your mind of which aisles you're going to tackle first. You're ready to stock up on all the foods you need to meal prep and will help you best reach your healthy-eating goals. But you might just be sabotaging all of your efforts if you're buying the worst grocery item.

That's right, there's one item that is just downright toxic and should always be left on store shelves. (And while you're making good-for-you changes, be sure you're trying out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time!)

Now, the worst grocery item you should never buy is…

Store-Bought Baked Pastries

ding dongs snack cakes
Sara Ketterer/Shutterstock

Oh, the pre-packaged, processed baked goods. These are the sweet treats that often lure you in as you're walking down the aisles, reminding you of the desserts you most likely loved as a kid. From mini donuts, bite-sized muffins, pies, to everything Entenmann's and Hostess makes (looking at you, Twinkies and Ding-Dongs), it's often hard to say no when you pass by those boxes filled with these desserts that overall seem harmless. They're small for the most part, so they can't be all that bad, right?

Sorry to break it to you, but these baked goods are nothing but trouble.

What you'll soon uncover looking at the nutrition information right on the back of the boxes is that these baked pastries are easily the worst thing you could add to your grocery cart. Take for example Hostess' Suzy Q's. Just one cake comes in at 290 calories, has 13 grams of fat, 370 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. These snacks are not only high calorie, but are high in everything—including fat, sodium, and sugar.

If you read the miles-long ingredients list next, you'll see the main star is sugar, often followed by high fructose corn syrup. Just sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Big yikes. Plus, The fact that there is virtually no fiber here is another strike. If you eat something that is low in fiber, you'll be hungry not too long after eating one of these sugar bombs. Eating more food just means you're consuming more calories.

"A lot of highly-processed foods don't tend to have a lot of fullness-causing nutrients like lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber, all of which are very important for filling you up and keeping you full," Torey Armul, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) told us previously. And it's no secret that there is a strong connection between sugary foods and weight gain.

So next time you're grocery shopping, be sure to skip over these processed dessert options. Your waistline will thank you.

Looking for more helpful tips? Well, your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

Eat This, Not That!
Inspired by The New York Times best-selling book series, Eat This, Not That! is a brand that's comprised of an award-winning team of journalists and board-certified experts, doctors, nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians who work together to bring you accurate, timely, informative, and actionable content on food, nutrition, dieting, weight loss, health, wellness, and more. Read more