The 100 Unhealthiest Grocery Foods in America
The average supermarket is now a minefield of more than 38,000 items. Quite a few can help strengthen your body, but even more can turn it to mush—and none more so than the dietary detonators that follow. Know them and what to avoid, and you can sidestep them in the supermarket.
Luckily, not all grocery picks are bad, but here, we’re highlighting the 100 unhealthiest grocery store foods you should stay far away from.
Loaded with preservatives and salt, these are some of the worst saboteurs of a slim belly. You’ll be sure to Google “how to stop belly bloat” after eating them and seeing what happens.
Oscar Mayer Smoked Cooked Ham
Deli meats are notoriously high in sodium, and none are worse than ham. In hopes of boosting the flavor and extending the shelf life of deli cuts, manufacturers will inject a sodium solution directly into the meat, turning a few slices of lean protein into a vessel that, in the case of this Oscar Mayer folly, pack in a nightmare level of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, but an ideal limit would be 1,500 milligrams for most adults per day. Here, you’re getting 600 milligrams of sodium from just three slices of ham! Added to the rest of the food you eat in the day, and you could easily exceed the daily maximum intake.
Buddig Original Beef
Most deli meats fail in one of two ways: too much fat or too much sodium. Buddig’s products routinely fail in both ways.
Land O’Frost Premium Honey Smoked Turkey Breast
Land O’Frost competes with the Buddig buy we just mentioned for the most calorie-dense lunch meat around.
Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon
There’s more sodium than regular pork bacon, but also more than triple the number of ingredients—with just two grams of protein per slice. You might think you’re eating better by reaching for turkey bacon, but that’s not the case here.
Pepperoni is the downfall of far too many pizzas served in America, and the blame rests entirely on its egregious load of fat and preservatives. This one is no exception.
Bar-S Classic Bologna
Just two slices of Bar-S Bologna will cost you 720 milligrams of salt, which is about a third of your entire day’s worth!
Hot Dogs & Sausages
Throw these on the grill, and you’ll also be throwing some pounds on your frame.
Hillshire Farm Polska Kielbasa
Both kielbasa and chorizo are spicy sausages, but they can be packed with calories, fat, and sodium. Opt for Al Fresco’s chicken sausage instead, and you get more protein while cutting down on the calories, fat, and sodium, too.
Johnsonville Beddar with Cheddar
More calories, less protein, and a hearty dose of kidney-harming phosphates. This is a skip.
Hillshire Farm Smoked Bratwurst
About 80 percent of this brat’s calories come from fat.
Hormel Lean Ham with Smoke Flavoring
Canned ham carries far more sodium than fresh ham. Unless you simply must have it, switch to chicken and save yourself the added cardiovascular strain.
Even Spam’s light version contains a high sodium content and added nitrites.
Spam With Real Bacon
This canned protein contains as much saturated fat as two whole Snickers bars.
Just because these products don’t have meat in them doesn’t make them automatically healthier.
Tofurky Kielbasa Sausage
While we love that this plant-based sausage packs in the protein, it’s got way too much sodium to make it on our Eat This list, so it’s on our Not That list instead.
Boca All American XL Veggie Burger
Even without non-GMO soy, this still falls flat, thanks to its outrageous sodium content.
Cereal & Granola
The right way to start your day is to ditch these high-sugar cereals. To see more of the boxes you should ditch, don’t miss these 26 Unhealthiest Cereals on the Planet.
Quaker Natural Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds
Granola must have a top-notch PR guy. After all, someone managed to convince an entire nation of eaters that clumps of oats and raisins glued together with sugar is somehow healthy. One cup of this one has the calorie equivalent of about four servings of Cookie Crisp cereal!
Kellogg’s Honey Smacks
This is among the most sugar-loaded boxes in the cereal aisle. What’s more, it barely has any fiber to stabilize your blood sugar.
RELATED: No-sugar-added recipes you’ll actually look forward to eating.
Post Cocoa Pebbles
This pick is not just devoid of fiber, but it’s also soaked with hydrogenated oils (a source of saturated fat) and colored with artificial, potentially-carcinogen-containing caramel color.
General Mills Golden Grahams
Loaded with sugar, lacking in fiber, and saturated with sodium, this cereal should be skipped. And who’s really sticking to a mere ¾-cup serving, anyway?
General Mills Reese’s Puffs
Double up on the serving size, and you’ll take in 18 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of 4.5 tablespoons.
Bread can be made with just two ingredients: water and flour. Store-bought breads, on the other hand, can be made from more than 20. These are among the worst of the worst. Find out better options with our 20 Best and Worst Breads from the Store.
Wonder Classic White Bread
With just one gram of fiber per slice, you’re better off skipping the sandwich and making it open-faced. This loaf is nothing but empty carbs and added sugars.
Arnold Brick Oven Premium White Bread
After flour and water, the third ingredient is sugar, and the fourth is inflammatory soybean oil. That doesn’t sound appetizing to us.
Sara Lee Honey Wheat
Most breads are made from a form of wheat, but unless it says “whole,” you’re paying for stripped-down grains with little fiber.
Nature’s Own Perfectly Crafted, Brioche Style Bread
With 5 grams of sugar and zero blood-sugar-stabilizing fiber, we’re hoping you skip this loaf every time you’re shopping for sandwich ingredients.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White
This bread is made with simple-sugar-heavy flour that’s devoid of all the fiber whole wheat has to offer.
Tortillas, Wraps, & Pitas
Sorry, but swapping out your bread for a wrap is one of the 18 “Healthy” Swaps That Aren’t Better For You.
Mission Wraps Garden Spinach Herb
A basic tortilla takes about four ingredients to construct—flour, water, oil, and salt—but Mission uses much more. So what is this wrap made of? A lot of enriched flour and vegetable shortening, neither of which makes for a healthy wrap. And there’s no real spinach in these wraps, just spinach powder, which is reflected in the measly fiber content.
Toufayan Classic White Pita Bread
Switch to Food for Life’s Whole Grain Pocket Bread, and you’ll double the fiber and drop 50 calories.
Guerrero Soft Taco Tortillas
This tortilla contains 2 grams of saturated fat coming from hydrogenated soybean oil, an inflammatory oil.
Mission Flour Tortillas Medium/ Soft Taco Size
Each of these tortillas delivers 17 percent of your day’s sodium—and that’s before putting any fillings inside.
These are some of the worst carbs to eat in the a.m. Ditch them, as well as these 37 Worst Breakfast Habits for Your Waistline.
Sara Lee Deluxe Plain Bagels
This is essentially a wedge of empty carbs, so it’s an invitation for a blood sugar roller coaster.
RELATED: Learn how to fire up your metabolism and lose weight the smart way.
Pepperidge Farm Bagels Cinnamon Raisin
This bagel packs as many carbs as five slices of toast and more than half a day’s worth of sugar! This is not the way to start your morning.
Thomas Cinnamon Swirl Bagels
This sweet breakfast bagel boasts more than triple the amount of sugar than fiber—we’ll pass!
These grains are less than great.
Goya Thai Jasmine Rice
Refined grains like this tend to prime your body for belly fat storage.
Gold Medal Organic All-Purpose Flour
We applaud the organic effort, but it doesn’t mean much once Gold Medal strips most of the fiber from the grain.
Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Long Grain & Wild
Wild rice has more protein than brown rice, but it still comes up short when stacked against more robust whole grains and seeds.
Rice-A-Roni Cheddar Broccoli
Neither cheese nor broccoli places higher than partially hydrogenated palm oil in this box’s ingredient list.
Rice-A-Roni Herb & Butter
A single serving chews through about 40 percent of your day’s sodium allotment.
Knorr Cajun Sides Dirty Rice
You’ll get a slew of empty carbs and about a third of your day’s sodium intake from this.
Rice-A-Roni Chicken Flavor Lower Sodium
Lower sodium? Lower than what, a salt shaker? It might bill itself as lower sodium, but it’s still a high number.
Pass on these pastas.
No Yolks Broad Noodles
Yolks or not, this pasta is still made with regular, nutrient-hollow refined flour.
Barilla Angel Hair
These numbers are pretty standard for run-of-the-mill white pasta. Aim for better.
De Cecco Linguine with Spinach
Not even spinach can save this linguine. The green leaf is the second ingredient, yet it brings more color than it does nutrients to these noodles. Add some real fresh spinach to your dish for a boost of nutrients.
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner Original
This iconic box is a nutritional disaster, complete with a third of your day’s sodium allotment when it’s prepared according to instruction.
American Beauty Quick Cook Rotini
If you’re going to make a cheesy pasta dish, the least you can do is start with a more wholesome noodle than this one.
Nissin Chow Mein Spicy Chicken Flavor
Eat the whole bowl, and you’ll get half your day’s saturated fat and sodium, plus a pool of inflammatory vegetable oils.
Pasta Roni Fettuccine Alfredo
Alfredo is bad enough as it is, but Pasta Roni’s version compounds the nutritional negligence with partially hydrogenated oil and a smattering of artificial colors. Each serving of this side dish has a meal’s worth of calories (440 when prepared). It also has the sodium equivalent of 97 Cheez-Its! Save yourself by boiling your own pasta and tossing it with olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan.
Nissin Cup Noodles Chicken
One container of this cup is loaded with 47 percent of your daily sodium and 25 percent of your day’s saturated fat.
Betty Crocker Suddenly Pasta Salad Classic
This simple-sounding side dish packs a staggering 21 percent of your daily sodium.
Cake & Pancake Mixes
These picks aren’t doing your belly any favors.
Bisquick Pancake Mix
The award for Most Shocking Use of Trans Fats goes to Bisquick. According to their website, the recipe still includes partially hydrogenated oils, a source of trans fat. For those not looking to boost their cholesterol with every bite of pancake, there are excellent alternatives out there, like the fiber-rich mix from Simple Mills.
Pillsbury Sugar Free Brownie Mix Chocolate Fudge
Pillsbury laces its brownies with artificial sweeteners acesulfame potassium and sucralose, as well as sugar alcohol maltitol, which has been found to show laxative-like symptoms when people overconsume it. That doesn’t sound like something you want with your dessert, right?
Just because it says it’s gluten-free, it doesn’t make it healthy. For more of the worst GF products, see our report: 40 Best and Worst Gluten-Free Products, too.
DeBoles Gluten Free Rice Angel Hair
Although it may fit your gluten-free lifestyle, this pasta is nutritionally void.
King Arthur Gluten Free Flour
White rice flour is nutritionally bankrupt, just like all white flours. This one is no exception
Udi’s Gluten Free Double Chocolate Muffins
These muffins have more sugar than a Snickers bar.
Glutino Gluten Free Multigrain Bread
The fiber and protein in this bread could be better. Craft your gluten-free sandwich with Rudi’s Gluten-Free Multigrain bread instead, and you’ll double your fiber and protein intake.
Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mix Devil’s Food
Betty fails to deliver a gluten free treat that’s worth eating with this cake mix.
Glutino Gluten Free Pretzel Twists
Glutino packs in about 25 percent of your daily sodium allotment in one serving of its pretzels. Talk about a belly-bloating snack!
Chips, Pretzels, & Snacks
Read this before you tear into a box or bag. Chomp on the right chips by using our guide: 35 of Your Favorite Chips — Ranked!
Kettle Sea Salt & Vinegar Chips
This is a thoroughly mediocre bag of fried potatoes.
Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion
This classic bag of Lay’s packs snackers with an excessive amount of calories and fat.
Gardetto’s Special Request Roasted Garlic Rye Chips
Gardetto’s finally replaced partially hydrogenated oils with soybean oil, but the bag is still full of sketchy ingredients like caramel color, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, and BHT, so they’re still a pass.
El Sabroso Original Guacachip
The bag says “real avocados,” but the ingredients statement says “avocado powder,” so none of the fats or fiber in this snack are coming from the creamy, nutrient-dense fruit.
Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy
A whopping 11 grams of fat comes from vegetable oil in this product. Unsurprisingly, you can chalk up Cheetos’ bright orange hue to a slew of artificial dyes as well.
Chester’s Puffcorn Cheese
Nearly two-thirds of the calories in this pick come from the frying oil.
Fritos Chili Cheese Flavored Corn Chips
It takes Frito-Lay a laundry list of ingredients to make these chips. Carcinogen-containing caramel coloring is the most nefarious of the lot.
Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili
These Doritos list inflammatory vegetable oil as its second ingredient behind corn, followed by salt and sugar. Need we say more?
Bugles Nacho Cheese Flavor
Each serving of these little horns contains nearly 40 percent of your day’s saturated fat limit.
Tostitos Salsa Ranchera Tortilla Chips
Despite corn being the first ingredient, this chip contains eight times more fat than fiber.
Bugles Sweet & Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter
Four different kinds of oil give this mix about as much saturated fat as four strips of bacon.
Snyder’s of Hanover Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces
A thick application of palm oil gives this bag considerably more fat than Rold Gold’s pretzels.
Rold Gold Tiny Twists Cheddar
Pretzels are salt magnates regardless of brand, but Rold Gold regularly packs in twice the sodium as its competitors. Each individual Tiny Twist has about 24 milligrams.
Cheez-It Snack Mix Double Cheese
If the sodium count itself in such a small serving doesn’t scare you, how about how salt appears in the ingredients list 11 times?
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers Pretzel
These fish are swimming in sodium. You’ll get almost 20 percent of your entire day’s worth of salt in one serving.
Gardetto’s Original Recipe Snack Mix
While we commend Gardetto for removing artery-clogging trans fats by omitting partially hydrogenated oils from their snack line, each carb-laden serving is still doused in a blend of inflammatory vegetable oils, chemical seasonings, and preservatives.
Sorry to add your favorite toppable cracker to the list, but each serving has 4.5 grams of fat from soybean, canola, and/or partially hydrogenated cottonseed oils,plus a hidden shot of high fructose corn syrup.
It may be a high fiber food, but these popcorn brands are too doused in oil to have any nutritionally redeeming qualities.
Pop Secret Jumbo Pop Butter
Though free from partially hydrogenated oils, Pop Secret still loads on the inflammatory palm oil.
Orville Redenbacher’s Poppycock Original
The heavy application of glaze puts this one firmly in the candy category.
Jolly Time Blast O Butter
Although Jolly Time rid itself of over 2 grams of trans fats, they still drench their kernels in inflammatory palm oil.
Smartfood White Cheddar
Smart? Hardly. This bag earns a heavy glut of fat from oils, cheese, and buttermilk.
Jolly Time KettleMania Kettle Corn
“Mania” is correct. You’d have to be a maniac to eat this much saturated fat in one sitting.
Newman’s Own Popcorn Light Butter
If you’re looking for a “light” popcorn, there are better bags to buy. For starters, choose one that doesn’t pop its kernels with palm oil.
Pop Secret Homestyle
Instead of using a good-for-you oil such as coconut oil or olive oil, Pop Secret opts for palm oil.
Because not all versions are healthy.
Fruit Roll-Ups, Strawberry
This pick is made from corn syrup, dried corn syrup, sugar, and palm oil. And those colors? Not real fruit. Instead, it’s artificial colors red 40, blue 1, and yellows 5 & 6.
Sunsweet California Grown Dates Chopped
The sugar coating pushes these dates dangerously close to candy status.
Mariani Vanilla Flavored Yogurt Raisins
The yogurt is really sugar, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, nonfat milk powder, yogurt powder, whey powder, titanium dioxide (which is also used in whitening toothpaste), soy lecithin, and natural flavor. That doesn’t seem like something you’d expect in a seemingly healthy snack.
Get your hand out of the cookie jar!
Nabisco Golden MegaStuf Oreo
You might get more creme in this version of the classic cookie sandwich, but these mega stuf Oreos aren’t worth opening. Oh, and regular Oreos are even worse—they deliver an extra gram of sugar and 10 extra calories per serving.
Keebler Coconut Dreams Fudge Covered Cookies
Add just two of these coconutty Keebler cookies to your daily diet, and you’ll gain nearly a pound in just 20 days!
Murray Sugar Free Pecan Shortbread Cookies
The fat here comes primarily from soybean and palm oils. Remember, even if you remove sugar from the equation, calories still matter.
Mrs. Fields Milk Chocolate Chip
The dearth of fiber ensures that this will pass straight through your belly, spike your blood sugar, and convert quickly to flab.
Even in snack size, these cakes aren’t a safe bet for weight loss.
Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcake Rolls
The only reference to fruit in the ingredient list is to “artificial strawberry,” i.e., an additive engineered in a lab to look and taste like the real thing. No thanks, Debbie.
Entenmann’s Little Bites Fudge Brownies
Just because Entenmann’s brownies are mini-sized, doesn’t mean you should make a habit out of them.
Hostess Suzy Q’s
One Suzy Q has 70 more calories than a Wendy’s Jr. Original Chocolate Frosty.
Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies
Don’t be fooled; the oatmeal here is nothing more than the vehicle for fat and sugar when it comes to these mini pies.
Hostess Ding Dongs
Each Ding Dong has about double the fat of a Twinkie, and because it comes in a two-pack, you have to practice restraint to avoid bingeing.
Little Debbie Honey Buns
There are 32 ingredients in this bun—and none of them are worthy of your a.m. meal.
Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Brown Sugar Cinnamon
Kellogg’s too-sweet pastry packs in four types of sugar, leading to blood sugar spikes and a wider waistline.
Little Debbie Glazed Donut Sticks
Little Debbie’s Donut Sticks have three strikes against them: more calories, more fat, and more sugar than Krispy Kreme’s Original Glazed Doughnut.
Sunbelt Fruit & Grain Cereal Bars Apple Cinnamon
Packages can boast all they want about a product being made with whole grains, but if it only contains two grams of fiber, it’s not worthy of snack time.
Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies
You’ll get 280 calories and nearly a full day’s worth of sugar in this nostalgic, candy-studded brownie.
Entenmann’s Rich Frosted Sprinkled Donuts
Compared to the regular frosted donuts from the brand, these boast 10 more calories, 2 more grams of fat, and 7 more grams of sugar!
Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
One cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing packs in a quarter of a day’s worth of belly-bloating sodium in addition to the 22 grams of sugar. You’ll also find partially hydrogenated oils, which is a sneaky source of trans fat, in this recipe.
Entenmann’s Cheese Topped Buns
One sweet bun boasts 4.75 teaspoons of sugar and nearly as much fat as a packet of hash browns from Burger King. No, thanks!
Entenmann’s Chocolate Chip Iced Cake
This golden cake packs in more calories per serving than any other cake in Entenmann’s line!