A Woman On TikTok Explained Why People Outside Of America Don’t Refrigerate Their Eggs

Eggs are the ultimate breakfast staple. Fried, scrambled, poached, served with ham and Hollandaise sauce… their versatility knows no bounds! So who would’ve thought that one key detail about everyone’s favorite morning food could be so divisive? Well, a TikTok user sent the internet into a spin with the revelation that outside of America, eggs are sold on the shelves and not in refrigerators. Now that your mind is officially blown, then, which is really the right way to store your eggs?

Mauren Sparrow took to the popular video-sharing site TikTok to explain why eggs are strictly kept chilled in the United States but not in the rest of the world – and people absolutely flipped out. “My life is a lie,” declared one Twitter user. Another Twitterer confessed, “Things I should be doing since I have free time for the next two hours: researching for the research paper due in less than a week. What I am doing: lying in bed watching YouTube videos on why [Americans] refrigerate eggs.”

Sparrow’s egg-ducational video caused such a commotion, in fact, that it has racked up over 25,000 likes and prompted more than 2,000 comments. But who is Mauren Sparrow? And what prompted her to wax lyrical about eggs? To answer the first question, the millennial from Arkansas actually has her own website dedicated to celebrating body positivity, as well as promoting and selling her own fashion storefront for LuLaRoe.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sparrow wittily referred to herself as “the Egg Girl” when we caught up with her and quizzed her on her ovum insight. “I had studied abroad in New Zealand for five months in college and remembered seeing eggs on the shelves [in supermarkets] and being so confused! I originally made that TikTok because I had been chatting with some friends who had never been abroad, and they didn’t realize that most of the world stores [its] eggs on the shelf instead of in the fridge.”

But what is it about these ubiquitous oeufs and the different ways in which we store them that blows people’s minds? To answer that, we need to look at the way that we handle certain foods and why. It’s commonly recognized as a health hazard, of course, to eat undercooked or incorrectly stored food. And we all know that certain meats like chicken and pork, for example, as well as seafood, can have particularly nasty effects if kept at room temperature for too long. We are, of course, talking about food poisoning here.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Foodborne illness,” as it’s otherwise known, is caused by eating or drinking a substance that has been contaminated by toxins, by bacteria or by viruses. The rather ghastly symptoms that sufferers can experience include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Yuck. Worse still, complications from food poisoning can lead to even more dramatic problems such as kidney damage and even death among older adults, children and people with weakened immune systems. Shocking stuff.

ADVERTISEMENT

Viruses are one of the main causes of foodborne illness, occurring when food, eating utensils or surfaces touched by food are contaminated by a carrier. The norovirus – also known as “the winter vomiting bug” – is in fact the number one cause of this type of illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Around 60 percent of cases of foodborne illness each year stem from norovirus – and this all costs the U.S. economy some $2 billion annually, according to CDC estimates.

ADVERTISEMENT

Another cause of foodborne illness is the presence of parasites. Toxoplasma gondii is an ominous little critter that can be picked up from eating undercooked or contaminated meat – particularly lamb, pork and venison and seafood such as clams, mussels and oysters. While this particular parasite can reside perfectly happily in the digestive tract of most healthy people without causing significant upset, it can have serious health implications for pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.

ADVERTISEMENT

Then, of course, there’s bacterial infection… We all know and fear those invisible nasties that we’ve heard are such common causes of illness, including E.coli and Salmonella. The latter is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to food poisoning… According to the CDC, this type of bacteria causes over one million infections and more than 26,000 hospitalizations every year. Even more frighteningly, the CDC’s records show that contamination of eggs was responsible for over half of all the cases of Salmonella in the years between 1985 and 2002. Yikes.

ADVERTISEMENT

The U.K.’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has some advice to help out with our safe-eating endeavors, though. To avoid potential Salmonella poisoning, we should remember the four “Cs” of food hygiene, according to the agency. They are: Chilling, Cleaning, Cooking and Cross-Contamination avoidance. If these practices are followed correctly then the chance of these harmful bacteria getting into your system – and subsequently wreaking havoc – is likely to be considerably reduced.

ADVERTISEMENT

When we talk about “chilling,” we’re not talking about leaving your food to kick back on the couch, of course. As we’ve already discussed, refrigeration is key to keeping these horrible, illness-causing pathogens at bay. So be sure to keep your refrigerator temperature at 41° F (5° C) or lower, and use a refrigerator thermometer if possible to ensure that it doesn’t get too warm. And any food with a “use by” date should always be stored in the refrigerator.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hand cleaning is also vital. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water – or failing that, use antibacterial hand gel or wipes – to maximize the chance of killing any sinister bugs or viruses you may be carrying about. Otherwise, these will be transferred onto the food that you prepare and eat. Then it’s a green light into your system. Washing work surfaces and cooking utensils is equally important.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the FSA, “Bacterial cross-contamination is most likely to happen when raw food touches or drips onto ready-to-eat food, utensils or surfaces.” You can avoid this by making sure that raw foods like meat, seafood and eggs are kept apart from other items in the refrigerator. Uncooked meat should be kept covered and. ideally, at the bottom of the refrigerator, so that juices can’t come into contact with other foods.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cooking can also play an essential role in the prevention of food poisoning. Heating food for the right amount of time and at the right temperature is crucial to killing off the likes of Salmonella. Why? Because the heat in cooking causes the proteins in bacteria to break down, which means that they can no longer survive and multiply. Bringing food to a temperature of above 140° F (60° C), or ideally 158° F (70° C), is needed to make this happen.

ADVERTISEMENT

While it’s not strictly true that eating raw eggs is guaranteed to give you food poisoning, it’s certainly the case that consuming eggs that haven’t gone through the cooking process – which can kill bacteria – increases the risk of Salmonella infection. But it is also worth bearing in mind that eating raw eggs means that you won’t be able to so effectively absorb all the lovely proteins that they’re bursting at the shells with.

ADVERTISEMENT

The humble egg offers so much more than protein, though. Oh yes. Those little oval gems are actually packed with an array of nutrients and vitamins. In fact, they contain a variety of things we need in our recommended daily diet. And despite being high in cholesterol, they don’t raise blood cholesterol to an unhealthy level for most.

ADVERTISEMENT

In fact, eggs actually seem to increase your levels of high-density lipoprotein, which is known as the “good” cholesterol. What’s more, evidence has shown that they effectively disarm bad cholesterol. Chickens reared on pasture have also been proven to produce eggs higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which lower blood triglycerides and help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Win!

ADVERTISEMENT

You probably didn’t know either that a single egg contains over 100mg of choline. “What’s choline?” we hear you ask. Well, it’s a little-known but extremely important substance used in the construction of cell membranes and brain molecules, among other jobs. In fact, it has pretty serious implications for your health if you’re found to be deficient in it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Good news for our peepers too… Eggs are rich in the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, which are important for your eyesight. And as already mentioned, eggs are high in quality protein – which is important when you consider that protein makes up the bricks and mortar of the body. Protein is a core component of our hair and nails, and it also plays a vital part in making up our muscle, skin, bones and blood.

ADVERTISEMENT

Being high in protein means that eggs will also fill you up more quickly than other foods. And that’s not just anecdotal – eggs actually score highly on the satiety index, which is used to measure the ability of foods to satisfy your appetite. All this means that having eggs for breakfast will make you less likely to be reaching for snacks before lunch. So they can actually help with weight loss as well. Hooray!

ADVERTISEMENT

But how do these nutritious and delicious eggs make it into our refrigerators – or not, given that people outside America apparently don’t chill their eggs? Well, we don’t need to make a call on whether the chicken or the egg came first, but it’s fair to say that, for the most part, people eat eggs laid by chickens. A lot goes into the creation of an egg, though.

ADVERTISEMENT

As the egg is formed, protective tissue and sheets of white are wrapped around the yolk. They are then locked in a shell and covered with another protective protein layer. This cuticle forms a barrier like a castle’s defenses, stopping the insidious likes of Salmonella from entering the egg’s shell.

ADVERTISEMENT

So how can these bacteria make their way through that protective coating and into the egg? There are a couple of different paths: the chicken itself may be infected and so able to transfer Salmonella directly into the egg, for one. Alternatively, if the cuticle is damaged, the bacteria can pass through the shell – so you should think twice about eating them.

ADVERTISEMENT

This brings us to the yolk of the matter. In the United States, eggs are sanitized. This sterilization process sees them being cleaned with hot water before they receive a good dousing of disinfectant. The trouble is that this washing process can sometimes thin the egg’s outer shell or damage it – giving those evil Salmonella bugs an easy way in. What’s more, it can’t do anything about bacteria already present within the shell.

ADVERTISEMENT

That’s why the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) insists that eggs be kept cold. Scientific evidence has shown that storing eggs at temperatures below 40° F (4° C) stops Salmonella in its tracks. Thorough cooking, meanwhile, can also kill off those malevolent microbes – so there’s very little risk left in the equation if everything is done right.

ADVERTISEMENT

Because of this, the USDA has decreed it to be unsanitary to store eggs at room temperature. As TikTok guru Mauren Sparrow explained, “Food safety officials emphasize that once eggs have been refrigerated, it is critical they remain that way. A cool egg at room temperature can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria that could enter the egg through its porous shell.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite this, though, keeping a carton of eggs on a shelf is completely acceptable in many countries around the world, including the United Kingdom. Why? Because in these countries, egg-laying hens are vaccinated directly against the most common strain of Salmonella, rather than the eggs being sanitized after they’re hatched.

ADVERTISEMENT

This vaccination process tackles the problem at the source and means that the eggs then don’t need to be treated with quite so much care. According to data published by the National Institutes of Health, cases of Salmonella infection in the U.K. plummeted after a comprehensive vaccination program was launched in the 1990s.

ADVERTISEMENT

That’s not to say that the presence of Salmonella in poultry and eggs outside of the United States is non-existent. As recently as October 2020, the FSA issued a warning that a number of eggs sold in U.K. supermarkets could be contaminated with the strain of bacteria, due to an outbreak on a farm supplying the stores.

ADVERTISEMENT

That isn’t entirely the end of the matter, though. It’s fairly common knowledge that meat should be thoroughly cooked until the juices run clear and no pink meat remains. But what about eggs? We’ve learned about the sanitation and refrigeration of eggs – but what can we do to make sure that we handle and cook them correctly at home?

ADVERTISEMENT

Well, the CDC advises that eggs should be kept in the refrigerator at home – as you might expect. Additionally, eggs that look a little dirty or damaged should be thrown away and should certainly not be eaten, as they carry a considerably higher risk of Salmonella infection. So far, so good.

ADVERTISEMENT

But there’s bad news if you like your egg yolks runny. The CDC warns that yolks and whites should be cooked until firm to avoid the risk of Salmonella poisoning. A word of caution for Caesar salad fans too… The eggs used in this type of dressing and sauces such as Hollandaise should be pasteurized – pre-treated to kill any bacteria – if you want to prevent a nasty bout of foodborne illness. But that’s not the end of it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dishes involving eggs should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160° F (71° C), the CDC advises. Once off the heat, they should never be left out for longer than two hours. And that’s especially true in a warm environment or on a hot day. This is where barbecues and cookouts can be particularly dangerous territories for potential poisoning, as food can be exposed to warmer temperatures for longer. So take heed if you don’t want to get sick…

ADVERTISEMENT

Okay, so how can we tell if an egg has gone bad? Perhaps the simplest and most obvious clues are the dates printed on the carton. The “sell by” date only indicates how long it’s safe for the eggs to be on sale in supermarkets, however, which will be within 30 days of the packing date. But the expiration date suggests when they might, in fact, be turning bad due to bacterial growth. That said, these dates are merely guides and not a guarantee that the eggs have become unsafe to eat.

ADVERTISEMENT

As the old saying goes, follow your nose… Egg – or indeed just about any food that’s gone bad – will generally give off a noticeable odor. You might be able to tell as soon as the egg is cracked, but if not – crack the egg into a container first then check it. If the smell is unpleasant, be sure to throw it away and give the container a good clean in warm, soapy water.

ADVERTISEMENT

Just as meat that has gone bad can appear slimy and slippery, eggs are much the same, and they shouldn’t be eaten if the shell or contents appear this way. And once cracked into a jug or dish, always check the yolk and whites for any sign of discoloration as well. This can be another sign of the presence of bacteria.

ADVERTISEMENT

Now here’s a clever trick to check whether an egg is getting old… Carefully place the egg in a bowl of water. Contrary to what you might expect, if the egg sinks, it’s good. If it floats on the surface, on the other hand, then the egg’s quality is starting to deteriorate due to the moisture inside being replaced by air. This happens as the egg ages, so it’s a sure sign that it’s less than fresh.

ADVERTISEMENT

One more way to test the freshness of an egg at home is actually with a method called candling. When an egg ages, the air inside it expands – giving the contents more room to move around. If you stand in a darkened room and hold a candle or torch up to an egg, rotating it as you do so, then the inside of the egg should become visible. If the contents are shifting around easily, then that means there’s air inside the egg – and it’s less than fresh.

ADVERTISEMENT

If the candling method is a little too scientific for you, then it’s worth keeping in mind that the best way to check the freshness of an egg is to go by smell and appearance. And whether you’re living in a country that refrigerates its eggs, or doesn’t, pop them in the refrigerator at home if you want to keep them fresher for longer. Remember, as well, the importance of thorough cooking and careful handling of raw egg if you want to avoid Salmonella poisoning; and finally, never leave cooked eggs or egg dishes out for longer than two hours.

ADVERTISEMENT

Of course, it’s not just in the United States that eggs are sanitized and kept in the chiller afterwards. As Mauren Sparrow points out, “It turns out that there [are] other countries that follow the same process: Canada, Japan and the Scandinavian region. I still can’t believe how far [the TikTok video] reached and is still reaching!” We can only imagine that Sparrow must be egg-static to have made such an impact on her online audience!

ADVERTISEMENT

Now that we know the deal when it comes to buying eggs, let’s see what else we should be aware of at the grocery store. Did you know that your weekly shopping list can actually be full of unhealthy foods without you even realizing it? Yes, that includes those wholesome treats marketing themselves as low-fat or low-sugar. So, next time you head out for the essentials, make sure these ingredients aren’t in your cart. Your health will thank you for it.

ADVERTISEMENT

40. Cheap vegetable oil

If you thought vegetable oil was a safe bet, nutritionist Lindsey Pine has some bad news. She told Reader’s Digest, “Cheap refined vegetable oils are known for their high amounts of omega-6 fatty acid content. And while we absolutely need omega-6s to survive, our Western diets get way too much of them. [This] possibly [leads] to systemic inflammation, which can lead to chronic disease.” Yikes.

ADVERTISEMENT

39. Cocoa Pebbles

ADVERTISEMENT

Not looking forward to another day of the 9 to 5? Wish you were a kid again? Well, a bowl of delicious Cocoa Pebbles can be great for that much-needed hit of childhood nostalgia. But if you take a closer look at the cereal’s nutritional value, you’ll probably fall with a bump back down to Earth. A whole three-quarter cup of Cocoa Pebbles contains no fiber whatsoever. Yep, zip, zilch, nada. And, apparently, the coloring is a possible cancer risk, too. Wow.

38. Tofurky kielbasa sausage

Vegan, vegetarian or just trying to cut back on your meat intake? Then you may have picked up a pack of Tofurky kielbasa sausages. But perhaps you should have put them right back down again, as eating a single wiener will hit you with around 660 milligrams of sodium. That’s massive for a so-called healthy option and just under 30 percent of your entire recommended daily intake.

ADVERTISEMENT

37. Boxed mac and cheese

ADVERTISEMENT

We get it. You’re exhausted and have no time to cook. What you want is a fail-safe meal that’s guaranteed to cheer you up with practically no preparation needed. But before you reach for your beloved boxed mac and cheese, registered dietitian Janine Whiteson has a message for you. She explained to Reader’s Digest, “[Boxed mac and cheese] has virtually no fiber and is made with additives and chemicals that have been banned in countries around the world. This dinner option is probably one of the worst supermarket buys with no nutritional value.” That’s hard to hear!

36. Pre-grilled chicken breasts

You may save a lot of time in the kitchen with pre-grilled chicken products, but they’re not a healthy option. Don’t believe us? Just ask nutritionist Whiteson. As she explained, “Pre-cooked chicken is often loaded with lots of bad stuff to make it have a longer shelf life – all the while reducing your life! All that added sodium will bloat you for days.”

ADVERTISEMENT

35. Smartfood White cheddar Popcorn

ADVERTISEMENT

Bored of salted or butter popcorn? Fancy a savory switch-up? Then cheesy corn may sound right up your street. But think before you sneak Smartfood Popcorn’s white cheddar flavor into your shopping cart. Apparently, a serving of just under two cups of the stuff contains over one-third of an ounce of fat.

34. Cheez-It Snack Mix Double Cheese

Who doesn’t love a snack every now and again? Mind you, the nutritional information for certain products could very well make you lose your appetite. For instance, half a cup of the double cheese flavored Cheez-It Snack Mix will hit you with 360 milligrams of sodium. We can feel ourselves getting bloated just thinking about it.

ADVERTISEMENT

33. Veggie wraps

ADVERTISEMENT

Surely, you can’t go wrong with a pack of veggie wraps? Well, nutritionist Whiteson says they’re not as good for you as you’d think. She told Reader’s Digest, “A basic tortilla takes about four ingredients to construct – flour, water, oil and salt – but some brands, like one that claims to contain spinach, uses no fewer than 30 ingredients.” Even that healthy veggie is in short supply. Whiteson added, “Spinach falls under the ‘2 percent or less’ portion of the ingredients statement.”

32. Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon

Oscar Mayer’s turkey bacon may sound like an intriguing – and healthier – alternative to the standard rashers that you find at the store. But not all is as it seems. Surprisingly, a single slice of the stuff is said to contain higher measurements of sodium and less protein than regular bacon. Doesn’t sound so appetizing now, does it?

ADVERTISEMENT

31. Nissin Chow Mein spicy chicken flavor

ADVERTISEMENT

Even the most useless chefs among us can whip up a batch of noodles. But if your go-to is Nissin Chow Mein’s spicy chicken flavor, you need to take the following facts on board. As the CDC warns that you shouldn’t eat more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium and 22 grams of saturated fat each day, just one bowl of the meaty noodles accounts for nearly half of these recommended fat and salt totals. Ouch.

30. Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion chips

Have you ever wondered what the nutritional breakdown is for a bag of potato chips? Well, ponder no more – although the results could put you off a little. Eat just 17 chips in a bag of Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion, and you’ve quickly wolfed down a whopping ten grams of fat and 160 calories. We did warn you!

ADVERTISEMENT

29. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon

ADVERTISEMENT

Pop-Tarts aren’t just for breakfast, but be wary of which flavor you buy. Take the brown sugar cinnamon option as an example. Unsurprisingly, it’s not great for diabetics, as you’ll apparently find 30 grams of the sweet stuff hiding away in just two of the toaster pastries. That covers almost your entire daily recommended intake if you’re a man and goes over it if you’re a woman. Yikes!

28. Reduced-fat peanut butter

Surely a less fatty peanut butter isn’t that bad? Well, perhaps it is. Lindsey Pine told Reader’s Digest, “Reduced-fat peanut butter may save you a few grams of fat, but the multiple types of added sugar and unnecessary fillers make it a very poor choice. So, choose real, natural-style peanut butter instead of the laboratory concoction.”

ADVERTISEMENT

27. Boca Extra Large All American Veggie Burgers

ADVERTISEMENT

If you’re not in the know, the Boca Extra Large All American Veggie Burger may look like a healthier alternative to its meaty counterparts. But have a peek at the nutrition facts on the back of the packet. While there are 26 grams of protein in a single patty, this is canceled out by close to 1,000 milligrams of sodium. Who saw that coming?!

26. Hormel pepperoni

No pizza is complete without pepperoni, right? It’s absolutely delicious! But maybe you should consider leaving the tasty meat off your pie in the future. Apparently, you see, just 30 grams – or around one ounce – of Hormel-brand pepperoni houses 14 grams of fat. Even that small amount contains roughly 150 calories, too.

ADVERTISEMENT

25. Bisquick pancake mix

ADVERTISEMENT

Pancakes for breakfast? Well, if you insist… The next time you decide to pick up a mix from the store, though, think twice over Bisquick. Why? Well, by the company’s own admission, the boxes are full of partially hydrogenated oils. This means your stack could well bump up the so-called bad cholesterol in your blood, so steer clear.

24. Yogurt-covered raisins

Yogurt-covered raisins shouldn’t in theory have a negative impact on your health, but we’ve got some bad news. Surprisingly, these nibbles are loaded with sugar and contain very little calcium for the dairy they contain. You won’t find much fiber or protein in a pack, either. That’s a lot of strikes against them.

ADVERTISEMENT

23. Land O’Lakes sharp American singles

ADVERTISEMENT

Ever get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cheese at the store? Well, this’ll make picking out the right variety a little easier. Swerve Land O’Lakes sharp American cheese slices, as a single serving is said to host over 300 milligrams of sodium. That’s a whole lot of salt.

22. Hillshire Farm smoked bratwurst

Bratwurst sausages may be the best thing Germany ever gave the world, but the Hillshire Farm weiners should be approached with caution. Just a single one contains more than 200 calories and roughly 520 milligrams of sodium. Perhaps the scariest stat of all, though, is to do with the fat in a solitary sausage, which comes in at an astonishing 19 grams. We’re sure you can find a healthier alternative.

ADVERTISEMENT

21. Bottled peach tea

ADVERTISEMENT

Flavored tea beverages really hit the spot. But the next time you pick up one of the peach varieties, have a look at the ingredients. Reader’s Digest claims, you see, that some bottles harbor close to 40 grams of sugar. How bad is that? Well, it’s the equivalent of ten teaspoons. Oof!

20. Spam Lite

If you’re watching your weight, Spam Lite may appear to be a worthwhile investment. It says on the can, after all, that there’s less fat and sodium than in regular Spam. But here’s the kicker. For every two ounces of the cooked meat, you’ll still find 580 milligrams of salt. And the tins weigh in at 12 ounces each…

ADVERTISEMENT

19. Kraft American Singles

ADVERTISEMENT

When you buy cheese slices, you expect them to contain…well, cheese. Kraft American Singles are known, however, as a “pasteurized prepared cheese product,” meaning they only need to be made up of 51 percent of the dairy item. On the label, you’ll instead spot the less appetizing whey and milk protein concentrate. And that’s before you even get to the additives!

18. Wonder Classic White bread

As you browse the bread aisles, you’re sure to spot the Wonder classic white loaves sitting on the shelves. But the product isn’t a particularly nutritious choice. Reportedly, there are only two grams of fiber in the two slices you’ve selected for your sandwich. Not great, is it?

ADVERTISEMENT

17. Oscar Mayer smoked cooked ham

ADVERTISEMENT

Struggling to think of a sandwich filler for your lunch? Well, ham is the obvious choice. With the right condiments, it’s irresistible! But the Oscar Mayer smoked cooked meat is particularly salty. Each slice contains around 200 milligrams of sodium, and it all adds up if you eat more than one.

16. Lentil chips

To all the lentil chip fans out there, nutritionist Varbanova has an alarming message. She told Reader’s Digest, “Just because a product is ‘gluten-free,’ ‘non-GMO’ and a ‘great source of fiber,’ [that] doesn’t actually mean it’s good for you. Lentil chips sound healthy but contain potassium chloride, canola oil and calcium chloride – all ingredients that should make you think twice about picking it up.”

ADVERTISEMENT

15. Bottled green tea

ADVERTISEMENT

Green tea has long been touted as a wonder-beverage that can help you with all manner of ailments. It’s best, though, to just stick to brewing the leaves. A doctor named Adrienne Youdim explained why, saying to Reader’s Digest, “You may see trading your can of soft drink for a bottled tea as a healthy swap, but often bottled teas are high in sugar and even fructose corn syrup. Bottled green tea is essentially like drinking that can of soft drink you just gave up.”

14. Breakstone’s Cottage Doubles honey vanilla

Cottage cheese is often a slimmer’s savior when hunger strikes, and Breakstone’s Cottage Doubles are a little less bland than other varieties. Before you buy the honey vanilla version, though, check the label. One 4.7-ounce tub holds 13 grams of sugar and 400 milligrams of sodium. Is the taste worth it?

ADVERTISEMENT

13. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks

ADVERTISEMENT

Are you looking to cut back on sugar? Well, you should probably think twice about Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, then. Apparently, you’ll find 14 grams of the sweet stuff in just a one-and-a-quarter cup of the cereal. And if that wasn’t enough, there are only two grams of fiber in there. Best keep it as a treat, really.

12. Margarine

Butter’s bad rap has seen folks flocking in their droves to margarine instead. But Paul Salter warns you against making the switch. The dietitian told Reader’s Digest, “Margarine is high in trans fat, which has been shown to lower ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and raise ‘bad’ LDL (and total) cholesterol.”

ADVERTISEMENT

11. Thomas’ Cinnamon Swirl Bagels

ADVERTISEMENT

Deli-made bagels may be a delight, but buying one every day for lunch is going to put you considerably out of pocket. That’s where store-bought breads come in, although you should probably give Thomas’ Cinnamon Swirl Bagels a miss. They contain ten grams of sugar and just three grams of fiber each. Not the best combo, really.

10. Frozen whipped cream

Lindsey Pine made an interesting point about “lower fat” frozen whipped creams to Reader’s Digest. She said, “Just because something seems to have less fat than the real thing doesn’t make it the better choice. Whipped toppings are mixtures of hydrogenated vegetable oils, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. Just eat real whipped cream to top your treat.”

ADVERTISEMENT

9. Nissin Cup Noodles chicken flavor

ADVERTISEMENT

Remember your days as a college kid or a broke twenty-something? We bet you ate your fair share of cup noodles and didn’t give a hoot about the nutritional content. Now that you’re older, though, you should know that the chicken flavor of Nissin-brand noodles houses 1,070 milligrams of sodium in a single container. Yes, you’re reading that correctly.

8. Bugles Nacho Cheese Flavor

Think of cone-like corn snacks, and Bugles probably pop into your mind. You’re getting hungry, right? But if you’re now compelled to grab the nacho cheese flavor at the store, bear this in mind: there’s way too much saturated fat in the bag. In fact, a single helping of the chips could account for close to half of your recommended daily sat fat intake.

ADVERTISEMENT

7. Johnsonville Beddar with Cheddar

ADVERTISEMENT

Cheesy sausages – a unique concoction, wouldn’t you say? However, while that combo may sound delish, your heart won’t thank you for placing a pack of Johnsonville Beddar with Cheddar into your cart. A single sausage carries 17 grams of fat, you see, as well as a relatively meager eight grams of protein. So, yeah… They’re not ideal.

6. Canned spaghetti and meatballs

Like the look of a can of spaghetti and meatballs? Don’t be taken in by that clever marketing. Instead, listen to Neda Varbanova, who told Reader’s Digest, “The colors [on the can] are fun, but there’s nothing healthy about this concoction.” Specifically, processed spaghetti and meatballs are full of both sugar and sodium.

ADVERTISEMENT

5. Horizon Shredded Cheddar Cheese

ADVERTISEMENT

Grabbing some shredded cheese for your salad? You’re best off buying a block and using a little elbow grease. Bags of the Horizon brand in particular are infused with cellulose – otherwise known as wood chip powder. Yes, really. Apparently, it stops the cheddar from “caking.” Gross.

4. Buddig Original beef

Beef slices are great sandwich fillers, but Buddig’s packs leave a lot to be desired on the nutritional front. Just two ounces of meat contains seven grams of fat and three grams of saturated fat as well as a whopping 600 milligrams of sodium. That’s pretty hefty! Surely you can find a better option?

ADVERTISEMENT

3. Bar-S Classic Bologna

ADVERTISEMENT

Whether you know it as Bologna or baloney, the porky deli sausage is beloved throughout the land. But if you go with the Bar-S brand, get ready for your body to fight back. Why’s that? Well, the company’s Classic Bologna is loaded with salt. Just a couple of slices contain over 700 milligrams of sodium, which is more than 30 percent of your recommended daily intake. Wow!

2. Creamy spinach dip

Green, leafy veggies are among the best things we can eat, so surely creamy spinach dip must be okay for us, right? Wrong! Food expert Neda Varbanova told Reader’s Digest that certain varieties of the stuff contain monosodium glutamate – otherwise referred to as MSG. And if some folks are to be believed, this chemical can reportedly cause mental health issues and severe weight gain.

ADVERTISEMENT

1. Spam with Real Hormel Bacon

ADVERTISEMENT

Spam and bacon, together in one can? Sounds good to us. Nutritionists may disagree, though. You see, while the stuff may have its fair share of protein, it’s also high in saturated fat – which makes it the equivalent, in that respect, of two Snickers bars. We’re stunned.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT