100 Unhealthiest Foods of 2018
You love things that are new. We all do. The hot new phone. The cool new TV shows. That new car smell. But not everything newer is better. In fact, in the grocery store and at popular chain restaurants, “new” usually means the same old ingredients, packaged differently, and often they’re just as unhealthy as the originals.
Manufacturers have been doing this for years. You might say it’s…nothing new.
To help you make the right food choice every time, our researchers at Eat This, Not That! scoured the aisles and analyzed the menus to collect the definitive list of the 100 Unhealthiest Foods of 2018. Within, you’ll find new foods that debuted this year, but also familiar classics that you might have purchased—and all 100 hand-picked products met at least one of our nutritional criteria. Discover which are in your house, and also don’t miss our other essential report: 70 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.
We used this list of nutritional criteria to select the products on this list.
Calories: Any restaurant meal with over 1,000 calories (50% of a standard 2,000-calorie diet) qualified for the list.
Fat: Equal to or more than 13 grams of fat, which is 20% of your daily recommended value (DRV) of fat. Fat from nuts did not qualify.
Saturated Fat: Equal to or more than 4 grams, which is 20% of your DRV of saturated fat.
Trans Fat: Any value over 0 grams of trans fat in a food qualified a food item for this list.
Sodium: Equal to or more than 560 mg sodium per serving, which is 20% of your DRV of sodium.
Fiber: Anything with less than 1 gram of fiber. (The FDA recommends consuming at least 28 grams of fiber a day on a 2,000 calorie diet.)
Sugar: More than 10 grams of sugar, which is 20% of your DRV of added sugars.
Sugar Alcohols: Equal to or more than 10 grams of sugar alcohols. Consuming too much sugar alcohol in one sitting can have a laxative-like effect; additionally, sugar alcohols might not be as safe as the industry initially assumed. Once thought to bypass the body’s metabolic process, a sugar alcohol found in your favorite foods—erythritol—can be metabolized by, and even produced in, the human body, according to groundbreaking research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Translation: sugar alcohols probably do have calories after all.) Even worse? The Cornell University researchers also identified erythritol as a biomarker for increasing fat mass.
Ingredients: We believe that the food we eat should be made with ingredients we can find in our own pantries at home. Foods that contained any of the following ingredients (ingredients which research has shown to confer negative health effects) qualified for a spot on our list: ultra-processed fats such as monoglycerides, diglycerides, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, interesterified vegetable oil, DATEM; unhealthy, inflammatory fats such as soybean and palm oil; any artificial ingredient like a sweetener, color (including caramel coloring), or flavor; preservatives such as TBHQ or potassium sorbate; bone-health-draining additives like disodium phosphate and disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate; hunger-revving ingredients like monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.
Hershey’s Gold Bar
Don’t take home the Gold. This chocolate bar is disqualified for blending fatty chocolate with salty pretzels, a saturated-fat-and-sodium knockout.
When your sandwich is a pun on a robot killing machine, maybe don’t eat your sandwich.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Thin & Crispy Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bought the Farm? Return it. It says “thin” on the package. But they’re still cookies.
Cracker Barrel Cheddar Havarti Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
We love that there are “no artificial flavors” but you’re getting nearly 20% of your day’s sodium in just one serving, and there’s four servings per box.
Trader Joe’s Chocolate Salted Caramel Mug Mix
The year’s trend of salty chocolate confections strikes again. Put this mugshot alongisde Nick Nolte’s.
Trader Joe’s Vegan Banana Bread
“Vegan” doesn’t mean healthy. You’d have to be bananas to eat a slice of bread with 17 grams of sugar.
Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
This isn’t a breakfast food. The key word here is “cake.” As in, “it’s so caloric, it takes the…”
Noosa Mates Coconut Almond Chocolate
While the yogurt industry increasingly lowers their sugar count, noosa does the opposite. Noosa? No sir.
Ben & Jerry’s Minter Wonderland
Wonder why it’s on this list? Blame the marshmallows, which add even more sugar.
Someone thought a Snickers-Nestle-Crunch mashup was a good idea. That person wasn’t a dietician.
Lean Cuisine Mango Chicken with Coconut Rice
Lean in…and read the ingredients. The sodium’s way too high.
Eat Smart Tropical Lime Salad Shake Up
Your salad shouldn’t have as much sugar as a candy bar. This one does. Shake it off.
Farm Rich Hand Pulled Pork Sliders
“Abadee abadee abadee that’s all folks.”
Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Big Cup
They wedged a cookie into a Reese’s cup. E.T., phone your nutritionist.
ThinkThin Chocolate Strawberry
This bar has an alcohol problem—too many sugar alcohols.
PowerBar Protein Plus Reduced Sugar Lemon Poppy Seed
If it looks like cake, it’s probably as bad as cake—in this case, points off for the sugar alcohols. Instead, grab a bar from the “best” side of our guide: 25 Best & Worst Low-Sugar Protein Bars.
Ronzoni Gluten Free Rotini
Don’t be fooled into thinking all gluten-free products are automatically healthy. In this case, Ronzoni uses a trans fat alternative—mono and diglycerides—to bind the gluten-free flours. Your better option can be found on our list of 30 Best & Worst Dry Pastas in America.
Ben & Jerry’s Pecan Resist
In an era of empowerment, we love the message. We just don’t love the ingredients.
Hebrew National Beef Franks in a Blanket
It wouldn’t be kosher to call them “pigs.” But the high sodium count leaves us verklempt.
ZONE Perfect Nutrition Bar Dark Chocolate Almond
When you’re in the zone, you probably don’t want to be powered by a cheap protein like isolated protein or inflammatory oils like fractionated palm kernel.
Market Pantry Macaroni & Cheese Bites
Don’t say cheese. These have more salt than your average macaroni.
Olive Garden Meatball Pizza Bowl
If you lost your poor meatball, it’d be for the best: This dish has over the FDA-recommended day’s worth of sodium.
Chili’s Ultimate Smokehouse Combo
According to The Center for Science in the Public Interest, ordering this combo of jalapeno-cheddar smoked sausage, dry rub ribs, and smoked brisket is worse than chowing down on three of the chain’s sirloin steak dinners.
El Pollo Loco BBQ Bacon Avocado Chicken Tostada Salad
One salad, one thousand calories. The chicken is crazy, indeed.
Blue Bunny Load’d Sundae Bunny Tracks
Silly rabbit! Sundaes shouldn’t have a quarter day’s worth of calories and over a day’s worth of added sugars!
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White
“Hearty” sounds healthy. But this is Wonder Bread in fancy packaging. Pick a loaf that got our approval from our report: 20 Best & Worst Store-Bought Breads.
Nature Valley Coconut Almond Protein Chewy Bars
Send this one back to nature and find a protein bar with 5 grams of sugar or less, like KIND’s Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt.
Sara Lee Italian Bread
White bread is white bread, in any language.
Hostess Suzy Q’s
With “50% more cake” and “50% more creme,” this is 100% worse for you.
Wendy’s Bacon Maple Sandwich
Bacon + maple syrup + fried chicken = sandwich of our dreams. But a nightmare in reality, with more than a half-day’s worth of sodium.
Starbucks Cold Brew Cocoa and Honey With Cream
Oh, honey—Cold Brew is strong enough as it is. Why add sweetener?
Bob Evans Sausage, Egg & Cheese Burrito
Nothing like starting the day off with five servings of Frito’s worth of sodium.
Post Malt-O-Meal Double Chocolate Brownie Crunch
If it looks like dessert, tastes like dessert and is named after a dessert, it’s dessert. Not a cereal.
Pillsbury Strawberry Toaster Strudel
This classic is playing up the frosting in its marketing. Like that’s a good thing.
Hungry-Man Selects Classic Fried Chicken
If you’re hungry, man, you should probably pick up a dish that’s less caloric than three Egg McMuffins.
Marie Callender’s Spaghetti With Meat Sauce
Mamma mia! That’s a lotta sodium.
Red Baron Classic Crust 4 Cheese
Fly away from this pie as quickly as you can. Add another slice—who eats just one?—and you’ll surpass half your day’s allotment of sodium. Want a frozen pizza that meets our standards? Take a look at our guide: 25 Best and Worst Frozen Pizzas.
Hungry-Man Home-Style Meatloaf
No matter how hungry you are, you shouldn’t pick a frozen meal that meets half your day’s worth of fat and saturated fat.
Stouffer’s Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo
Who knew you could pack so much fat in such a small bowl? This Stouffer’s is stuffed.
Starbucks Chicken Sausage & Bacon Biscuit
Starbuck this trend. There are far better ways to start your day than by consuming the same amount of sodium as what’s in three bags of Rold Gold pretzels.
Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche Cookie Squares
Grab a chocolate chip cookie and save yourself 20 grams of sugar.
Fanta Grape Soda
Dontcha want-a Fanta? No thanks. This is liquid sugar.
Burger King Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Have it your way and order something else. This sandwich is king of sodium.
Campbell’s Well Yes! Sipping Soup, Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato
This soup is pretty sipping salty!
Kellogg’s Honey Smacks
Have a bowl of this cereal and you’ll be smacked with the equivalent sugar count of two Krispy Kreme Cinnamon Sugar Donuts. It’s one of The Unhealthiest Cereals on the Planet.
Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream
Mmm, nothing is as satisfying as the crunch of a vegetable oil-soaked potato chip that’s been seasoned and dyed with artificial ingredients. Oh wait…
Kraft Cheez Whiz Original Cheese Dip
Gee-whiz, we’ll pass on dipping into this salty slurry of “cheese.”
Peter Pan Creamy Original
It’s time to grow up and toss this jar of peanuts, sugar, and hydrogenated vegetable oils out of your pantry.
Denny’s Dulce de Leche Crunch Pancake Breakfast
This breakfast checks all the (wrong) boxes: more calories than a 120-pound woman should eat in an entire day, more sodium than anyone should eat in a day, and three days worth of sugar.
Red Lobster Shrimp Linguini Alfredo
There’s nothing shrimpy about the salt in this dish: There’s a whole day’s worth.
Burger King’s Pie Made with Twix
It’s not a Twix Pie; it’s a pie made with Twix. In fact, it has more than three times the amount of fat, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar as a Twix.
Häagen-Dazs TRIO Salted Caramel Chocolate
Three times the flavor, you get what feels like three-times the sugar grams.
Quaker Overnight Oats, Orchard Peach Pecan Perfection
We’re quaking in our boots. Buy the brand’s many other and equally delicious varieties that have less than 23 grams of sugar. You can find the best in our ranking of All 25 Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets—Ranked!
White Castle Breakfast Waffle Slider With Sausage, Egg & Cheese
The salt and sugar counts here has our legs waffling.
Nabisco Chips Ahoy Original Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ahoy, matey—these have more sugar than a store-bought cookie needs, plus vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavor.
Mrs. Fields Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mr. Fields must have a sweet tooth. His wife over-sugars his dessert.
Crunch the numbers, and you’ll see there’s about 10 grams more sugar than we’d like.
Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, Sharp White Cheddar
This is the daddy mac of high sodium counts—not healthy for you or your kids.
Talenti Peanut Butter Fudge Sorbetto
Go for Breyer’s Natural Vanilla and save calories and sugar.
Lipton Mango Iced Tea
You’ve heard the expression “spill some tea”? Now do it. And then pick up a copy of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse to see how choosing the right tea can actually help you blast fat.
Post Cinnamon Pebbles Cereal
Wilmmmmmma! This is candy for breakfast and absolutely zero fiber!
Au Bon Pain Strawberry Banana Yogurt Smoothie
Smoothies should be nutrition at the press of a button. That’s why there’s Zero Belly Smoothies. Zero Belly Smoothies are plant-based protein drinks that have been shown to make a dramatic impact on your life in as little as 72 hours. They will flatten your belly, heal your digestive system, and strip away unwanted fat in just days.
Sonic Handmade Onion Rings
Good thing they’re handmade. That means you can hand them back to the chef—there’s a half day’s worth of fat here.
Jamba Juice Island Pitaya Bowl
We pitaya the fool who orders this calorie bomb, which is full of added sugars.
Ben & Jerry’s Truffle Kerfuffle
“Kerfuffle is a humorous-sounding word for a mostly non-humorous situation: some kind of disturbance, scandal or mess.”—Vocabulary.com
California Pizza Kitchen Waldorf Chicken Salad
Waldorf and Statler would jeer the day’s worth of sodium!
Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Crunchers
When it’s crunch time, avoid candy with “crunch” in the name. You’re crunching sugar and starchy rice.
TGI Fridays Mac & Cheese Burger
Two comfort food classics team up to deliver more salt than an entire bag of Lay’s potato chips. Discomforting.
Olive Garden Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara
Chicken out and order one of these go-to meals nutritionists order at Olive Garden.
There’s 57 reasons not to eat this classic, and they’re all named sugar.
Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise
The ingredients are real, to be sure: real fatty.
Olive Garden Loaded Pasta Chips
They’re also loaded with too many calories, a staggering amount of fat and a day’s worth of salt.
Kraft Singles American Cheese
While there is some cheddar cheese in this slice, about half of it is protein concentrate, sodium citrate, milk, modified starches, and preservatives. If only Kraft would make American great again.
Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle Buttermilk Biscuits
Call him the Pillsbury Doh’boy. No biscuit needs that much sodium.
Olive Garden Tour of Italy
It takes less than a day to fly to Italy. So why does this have more than a day’s worth of sodium?
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios
Cheerio, as in, “goodbye.” The first ingredient might be whole grain oats, but don’t be fooled into pouring this cereal into a bowl. The brand adds highly process fats such as monoglycerides to keep that peanut butter smooth.
Wonder Classic White Bread
Will Wonder never cease putting sugar into white bread?
Mug Cream Soda
Your mug will experience some serious tooth decay if you continue sipping on a drink this sugary daily. It’s among the worst of the worst when it comes to sodas ranked by toxicity.
Blue Diamond Almond Milk Vanilla
This Diamond is rough: There’s 13 grams of sugar in almond milk!!! Instead, find the best dairy-free blend with our guide: The Best and Worst Milks & Milk Alternatives.
Fritos Chili Cheese Corn Chips
Deep fried corn chips are bad enough—these have MSG and caramel coloring.
Nestle Coffee-Mate French Vanilla
It’s not milk. It’s not cream. It’s: Water, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (High Oleic Soybean and/or High Oleic Canola), and Less than 2% of Sodium Caseinate (a Milk Derivative)**, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Natural and Artificial Flavors.
Nissin Cup Noodles Very Veggie
It may have more veggies than the original cuppa, but there’s still about half a day’s worth of sodium here.
Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce
Sweet merciful Maude—who neds 16 grams of sugar in their BBQ sauce?
Pepperidge Farm Brussels Cookies
These are cookies just like Mom used to make, if Mom cooked with sugar, palm or interesterified and hydrogenated soybean and/or hydrogenated cottonseed oils.
Starbucks Juniper Latte
What some coffee with your sugar?
Dark Chocolate Twix
Don’t come to the dark side. This has more sugar than a candy bar should.
MOD Pizza Cheesy Garlic Bread
It ain’t easy being cheese when you have this many calories and and this much sodium.
Red Lobster Lobster Mac and Cheese
Another mac and cheese, another spot on the Unhealthiest list, this one because of the calories.
Premier Protein Vanilla Shake
We like the protein, but not the artificial sweeteners. Find a replacement via our 26 Best and Worst Grab-And-Go Protein Shakes.
Tostitos Salsa Con Queso
Imagine salting a corn chip that’s already salted—that’s this.
Odwalla Mango Protein Shake
It’s better to eat your calories than drink them. Here, you get all the sugar from fruit without the fiber.
Chili’s Beef Bacon Ranch Quesadillas
At nearly two days’ worth of sodium, you can count this quesadilla among the 20 Saltiest Restaurant Meals On The Planet.
Naked Protein & Greens
The naked truth: There’s too many calories in this “healthy” juice.
Applebee’s Fish & Chips
When it comes to fried seafood, abandon ship and opt for grilled instead. And while we’re on the subject, you should also avoid these other 46 Most Caloric Dishes in America.
Ruby Tuesday Crispy Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday / who could hang and eat with you? / So much salt, two times a full day / girl, I’ll never miss you.
Magnum Tub White Chocolate Vanilla
Magnum means large, right? Like, large amount of sugar and fat?
It’s the most famous and they’ll never change the recipe, even though you know high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, and natural flavors aren’t classic; they’re played out.
Oreo Mega Stuf Cookie
Mr. Big Stuf, who do you think you are? Twice as bad as a regular Oreo.
Friendly’s Clam Strips Platter
With friends like these, who needs a day’s worth of sodium?
Skippy Natural Peanut Butter, Creamy
Skip it. Your peanut butter should be two ingredients: peanuts and salt. Skippy beefs their “natural” PB with sugar and palm oil. You’ll find our Eat This!-approved picks in our exclusive report: The 36 Top Peanut Butters—Ranked!