The 5 Most Pointless Supermarket Foods

A few years back, some of the foremost thinkers of our time gathered at the top of a remote mountain to address a question that has plagued man for centuries: How can we get our hands into the chip bag without taking our arms out from beneath the blanket? The Snuggie was born.

Okay, so I don’t actually know what string of events prompted the Snuggie, but the blanket-dress hybrid turned pop-culture phenomenon makes an important point: Marketers can sell us anything, and sometimes it seems like they invent junk just to see if we'll buy it. In most cases, we do.

Right now there's no bigger purveyor of pointlessness than the food industry. Over the past couple of decades, food execs have developed an uncanny ability to turn even the healthiest foods into processed piles of junk and to hook us gullible consumers with useless products.

So what are you going to do about it? Bury your head in a Snuggie and hope the problem disappears? No! If you care about your cash and your waistline, you'll start a personal crusade against crummy foods and all the empty calories they contain. To get you started, I've partnered with Rodale.com to compile a list of five of the most pointless supermarket products around. Avoid the sketchy selections below and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you. And for more ways to take your nutrition into your own hands, be sure to sign up for the FREE Eat This, Not That! daily newsletter and follow me right here on Twitter. 

Most Pointless Supermarket Lunch

Smucker’s Uncrustable Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich
210 calories
9 g fat (2 g saturated)
9 g sugars

Back in the day, homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were considered a quick lunch fix, but Smucker's somehow managed to turn this old favorite into a processed junk food. Uncrustables are pre-made PB&J sandwiches with the crusts already removed, and unlike their classic counterparts, they're full of high-fructose corn syrup and heart-damaging hydrogenated oils. For a much more sensible snack, spread some peanut butter and jelly on half of a whole wheat English muffin. Or go with a full peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. It has more calories than an Uncrustable, but comes packed with more fiber and protein, nutrients that will fill your belly and help you power through an afternoon. And check out the exclusive expanded edition of the Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guideconsider it your personal navigator to the 45,000 products, and their confusing labels and misleading claims, in the average supermarket.

Eat This Instead
Half a Thomas’s 100% Whole Wheat English Muffin with 1 Tbsp of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and 1 Tbsp of Smucker’s Simply Fruit Concord Grape spread
195 calories
8.5 g fat (1 g saturated)
10.5 g sugars

Most Pointless Supermarket Snack

Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free Harvest Peach (6 oz, 1 container)
170 calories
1.5 g fat (1 g saturated)
26 g sugars

This yogurt may be low in fat, but it harbors a whopping 26 grams of sugar—that’s more than you'll find in a Twinkie! The problem: The sugar overload will cause an energy crash later—not exactly what most people are looking for in a product touted as a healthy snack or low-calorie meal replacement. When it comes to traditional yogurt, opt for options sweetened with only fruit or fruit-derived sugar (fructose), like Dannon Light & Fit. And for a more filling dairy snack, go with protein-packed Greek yogurt.

Eat This Instead
Dannon Light & Fit Peach (6 oz, 1 container)
80 calories
0 g fat
11 g sugars

Most Pointless Supermarket Treat

WhoNu? Nutrition Rich Chocolate Cookies
160 calories
7 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
14 g sugars

“Nutrition-rich” cookies? WhoNu the food industry could stoop so low as to market sugary, high-carb treats as health food? These cookies are advertised as being an “excellent source of calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B12, C, D and E” with “3 grams of fiber and 20 essential vitamins and minerals,” but they’re really just a processed junk food with some nutrients thrown in. You know what else has 4 grams of fiber and 20 vitamins and minerals? Apples. As do bananas, blueberries, grapes, nectarines, and dozens of other naturally sweet fruits that come without the refined flour and genetically modified ingredients found in these health-food wannabes. If you want a healthier version of a classic cookie, go with a less sugary, whole grain treat like Kashi’s oatmeal chocolate chip option, and get your vitamins in the produce aisle.

Eat This Instead
Kashi TLC Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Soft-Baked Cookies
130 calories
5 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
8 g sugars

YOUR NEW SHOPPING LIST: When in doubt at the supermarket, fill your cart with any of the 125 Best Supermarket Foods in America.

Most Pointless Supermarket Breakfast

Kraft Original Bagel-fuls
200 calories
5 g fat (3 g saturated)
2 g fiber

Most people would agree that it's not too difficult to spread cream cheese on a bagel. But apparently the folks at Kraft think otherwise, because they're selling prepackaged, pre-stuffed bagels filled with an array of unpronounceable processed ingredients. Don’t fall for this gimmicky breakfast: Spread some whipped cream cheese on a fiber-filled whole wheat bagel and call it breakfast.

Eat This Instead
Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat Mini Bagel w/ Kraft Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese (2 Tbsp)
160 calories
6.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated)
4 g fiber

GAG-WORTHY INGREDIENTS: Some food additives are not only unhealthy, but they’re also downright disgusting. Want to know what’s really in some of your favorite foods? Check out The 5 Grossest Things You’re Eating!

Most Pointless Supermarket Drink

Tropicana Twister Cherry Berry Blast (8 fl oz)
110 calories
0 g fat
25 g sugars

This is a classic move in the juice-trickery playbook: Use inexpensive fake food dyes—not actual fruit juice—to give the liquid an appealing color. Despite its name, Tropicana’s juice concoction contains 0 percent berry and cherry juice. What’s more, this bottle is guilty of what I call a serving size rip-off: It contains 2.5 servings, which means if you guzzle the whole thing (a likely scenario), you’ll take in more sugar than two packs of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! When it comes to fruity drinks, 100% fruit juice is the only way to go, but you’re better off eating actual fruit—you’ll get more fiber with less sugar and calories. Or drink green tea, which is packed with heart-protecting, cancer-stopping nutrients called polyphenols. It's #14 on this list of Dr. Oz's Greatest Health Tips.

Drink This Instead
R.W. Knudsen Family Just Cranberry (8 fl oz)
70 calories
0 g fat
9 g sugars

For the full list of the shadiest foods your grocer has to offer, check out The 15 Most Pointless Foods in Your Supermarket.

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