Skip to content

The Worst Grocery Store Item of 2020, According to a Nutritionist

This treat comes in a pack of two, but even one has tons of fat, sugar, and carbs.
FACT CHECKED BY Checkmark Amanda McDonald
blurred grocery store aisle

Many things have happened in the year of 2020, including the launch of new food items throughout supermarkets in the U.S. With the average grocery store carrying about 40,000 items, it's almost impossible to not splurge. But doing so could make your New Year's a bit more…bloated.

As 2020 comes to an end, Eat This, Not That! wanted to find what the worst new grocery item of the year was. With help from Emily Kaley, a performance dietitian with a BA and MS in nutrition, we narrowed it down to a beloved frosted toaster pastry with a POP, but that's full of added sugars and saturated fat.

Pop-Tarts Pretzel Chocolate

poptarts pretzel chocolate

One pack of two pastries contains:

390 calories, 14 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 5 g polyunsaturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat), 560 mg sodium, 64 g carbs (1 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 4 g protein

The high amount of calories, fat and sugar in a single pack of these toasted treats makes it an easy choice as the worst grocery item of the year. Just two contain more than the daily intake of sugar for kids, which is less than 25 grams, according to the American Heart Association. These treats are also filled with carbs and have a lack of fiber and other nutrients. Eating these on a regular basis could lead to high blood sugar symptoms like digestion issues, acne, hunger, sugar cravings, and more.

"When I look at a product with around 400 calories, I look to see if it is well-balanced," Kaley says. "To see if the product has a good amount of fiber, smart carbohydrates, healthy fats, some protein and a handful of micronutrients (vitamins & minerals). I wouldn't consider these products to be well-balanced."

No matter how good a warmed-up Pop-Tart may sound, Kaley says "if you frequently eat excess sugar, the extra insulin in your bloodstream can affect your arteries, inflamed artery walls, add stress to the heart and more."

She adds that while your body can make many nutrients, known as "non-essential nutrients," other "essential nutrients" must be obtained from food or supplements. They can be broken up into two categories, macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat and micronutrients: vitamins and minerals. The new Pretzel Chocolate Pop-Tarts don't offer any of these, and is certainly a product to leave on the shelf on your next grocery trip.

For more grocery items to avoid on your weekly shopping trip, be sure to read The 100 Unhealthiest Grocery Foods in America. And for nutritional info on all your favorite foods delivered straight to your email inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter!

Keira Wingate
Keira graduated from DePaul University with a BA in Journalism and is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Read more
Filed Under