Close up of potato chips. Potato chips fill the frame
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
June 13, 2024 ·  4 min read

17 of The Worst Junk Foods You Can Buy in America

Everyone wants to eat healthily, but that is much harder than we think, especially when these 17 junk foods taste so good. But you need to resist! These are some of the worst food choices in the whole country. You need to avoid them as much as possible, your body will thank you for it!

1. Nutella

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While Nutella is made with healthy hazelnuts, the spread itself is extremely processed and loaded with sugar and oil. The nutritional benefits of the nuts are negated by the 21 grams of sugar in just two tablespoons of Nutella.¹

Read More: Does Junk Food Cause Cancer? Morgan Spurlock, Maker of Super Size Me, Dies From Disease at Age 53

2. Arby’s Curly Fries

Istanbul, Turkey - February 23, 2018: Arbys Take Away Curly Fries Ready to Eat with Sauce in Plastic Box Package / Container. Fast Food.
Source: Shutterstock

Deep-fried and delicious, Arby’s Curly Fries are a favorite. However, they pack 650 calories, 35 grams of fat, and 77 grams of carbs in a large order.² Consuming such high-calorie and high-fat junk food can lead to inflammation and heart disease.

3. Store-Bought Smoothies

smoothies in ice
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While smoothies are supposed to be healthy, store-bought versions are often loaded with added sugars and artificial flavorings. Most aren’t even made with real fruit, making them a poor choice for a snack.

4. Rice-A-Roni Cheddar Broccoli

Alameda, CA - August 17, 2017: Grocery store shelf with cups of Rice a Roni brand instant rice. Cheddar Broccoli, Chicken flavor and Creamy Four Cheese. The San Francisco treat.
Source: Shutterstock

Instant rice dishes like Rice-A-Roni’s Cheddar Broccoli flavor contain partially hydrogenated palm oil and 790 milligrams of sodium per serving.³ This high sodium content can contribute to heart issues and other health problems.

5. Pop Tarts

Pop Tarts
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Pop Tarts are convenient but packed with highly processed ingredients, including soybean oil and refined flour. Two Frosted Strawberry Pop Tarts contain 400 calories, 76 grams of carbs, and only 4 grams of protein, making them not only a poor breakfast choice but a junk food choice overall.

6. Cheetos Puffs Flamin’ Hot

Los Angeles, California, United States - 07-22-2020: A view of several bags of Cheetos Crunchy Flamin' Hot chips, on display at a local grocery store.
Source: Shutterstock

These snacks may be tasty, but they lack fiber and protein, making them unsatisfying. Each serving contains 310 milligrams of sodium, which can quickly add up and contribute to high blood pressure.⁴

7. Popeyes Chicken Tenders

Popeyes logo on a box of chicken tenders. Manhattan, New York, USA September 4, 2018.
Source: Shutterstock

Popeyes Handcrafted Chicken Tenders are deep-fried and contain trans fats, which are linked to inflammation and heart disease. A three-piece serving contains 340 calories and 26 grams of carbs.

8. Frappuccinos

Half-Empty Starbucks Frapp
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A grande Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino contains about 520 calories, 64 of which are from sugar. Consuming such a high-sugar drink can lead to weight gain and doesn’t satisfy hunger, making it a prime junk food.

Read More: 25 So-Called ‘Junk Foods’ That Are Actually Good For You

9. Bugles Nacho Cheese

Kongsvinger, Norway 17 April 2023: Lays Bugles Nacho Cheese salty rolled corn crisps spices flavors bag package savory snacks food isolated on white background
Source: Shutterstock

Bugles Nacho Cheese snacks contain six grams of saturated fat per serving, almost half the recommended daily limit. They are also low in fiber and protein, leaving you feeling hungry shortly after eating them.

10. Dunkin’ Donuts Glazed Jelly Stick

Chicago, IL, USA, December 3, 2023, Dunkin' Donuts sign illuminating a stack of branded boxes, inviting and delicious treats on display
Source: Shutterstock

This deep-fried pastry boasts 480 calories and is high in refined flour and sugar. It also contains trans fats, making it one of the worst donut choices for your health. Donuts themselves are already a junk food, but Dunkin’ takes the cake for worst choice.

11. Kraft White Cheddar Pasta Shells

ALAMEDA, CA - JULY 08, 2015: One 11.6 ounce box of Kraft brand Macaroni and Cheese. Deluxe Sharp Cheddar and Jalapeno with ridged macaroni.
Source: Shutterstock

With 59 grams of carbs and only two grams of fiber, Kraft White Cheddar Pasta Shells can spike your blood sugar. They also contain 670 milligrams of sodium per serving, which is from from any ideal meal choice.

12. Twinkies

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The grandfather of junk food, Twinkies are fluffy, cream-filled cakes packed with preservatives, artificial flavorings, sugar, and saturated fats. Their long shelf life is due to these preservatives, making them a terrible choice for your body. 

13. Vegetable Rice Blends

Rice and Peas
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Frozen vegetable rice blends often contain more unhealthy ingredients than actual vegetables. They are high in sodium and artery-clogging saturated fats, making them a poor choice for a healthy diet.

Read More: 14 Foods To Help You Sleep (+ Foods to Avoid)

14. Corn Dogs

Corn dog with mustard and ketchup
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This one should be obvious. Corn dogs are deep-fried and contain processed meat, and have been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer and heart disease. They are not a healthy snack or food choice in any form.

15. McDonald’s Triple Thick Milkshake

Paris, France - Aug 20, 2021: POV woman female hand holding two Milk shake in modern kitchen background manufactured by McDonald's fast food chain
Source: Shutterstock

Anything food with triple in the name should be a warning in itself. A large McDonald’s Triple Thick Milkshake contains 1,100 calories and 193 grams of carbs, with 135 of them coming from sugar. The extremely high calorie and sugar content makes it one of the worst junk food choices on their menu.

16. Veggie Straws

January 8, 2022. New York, USA. Potato snack Garden veggie straws with sea salt.
Source: Shutterstock

Don’t be fooled by the name or coloring on the bag. Veggie straws are highly processed and almost completely void of nutrients. They are not a healthier alternative to chips, despite their name and are the spy junk food on this list.

17. Hormel Pepperoni

Los Angeles, California, United States - 02-01-2023: A view of several packages of Hormel pepperoni, on display at a local grocery store.
Source: Shutterstock

Processed meats like Hormel Pepperoni contain high levels of sodium and preservatives, including sodium nitrite, which is linked to several types of cancer. A serving contains 520 milligrams of sodium and six grams of saturated fat.


Woman holding an apple beside a donut
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Avoiding these 17 junk foods can significantly improve your overall health and well-being. While they may be tempting due to convenience or taste, the high levels of sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium, and artificial ingredients will lead to health issues like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Opting for more natural, unprocessed foods and making more informed food choices can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Read More: 9 Foods You May Have To Stop Eating As You Get Older


  1. The 15 Worst Junk Foods You Should Never Eat.” MSN. Katalin Nagy. June 2024.
  2. The 15 Unhealthiest Junk Foods in America.’ Healthline. Franziska Spritzler. May 8, 2017.
  3. The 60 Unhealthiest Grocery Store Foods in America.” Eat This. Samantha Boesch. May 29, 2024.
  4. 50 of the Unhealthiest Foods at the Supermarket.” The Healthy. Sharon Feiereisen. May 11, 2021.