Fat Shockers: Surprisingly High-Fat Foods

Check out this list of fatty foods lurking in your grocery store.

From the WebMD Archives

I've been reading food labels and writing about health for at least two decades, but even I am sometimes shocked to discover how much fat, saturated fat, or trans fat a food actually contains.

Below, I've listed more than 35 food products I saw as I walked the aisles of my supermarket that were surprisingly high in fat.

But first, let me tell you what I was looking for and what you might want to look for as you consider your options on future supermarket trips.

Sleuthing for Fat

One of the first things I look for when eyeing the nutrition information label on a food is how many grams of fat the item has. Right under that, I find the grams of saturated fat and, for some products, trans fat.

I also check out the serving size. That's important because some companies -- often the ones selling especially high-fat foods -- list a serving size as half of a muffin, half a chicken pot pie, or half a candy bar. So if you're eating the whole muffin, pot pie, or candy bar, you'll need to double the numbers.

There are frozen pot pies on the market that list 1/2 of a pot pie as the serving size on the package. So if you eat the entire pie you'll get 62 grams of fat not the 31 that's listed and 22 grams of saturated fat not 11. But even the numbers for half the pot pie are quite shocking.

Why should you be concerned about high-fat foods? It's true there are health benefits to favoring preferred fats such as monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. And certain higher-fat foods -- including nuts, avocado, salmon, and olive oil -- do contribute to health in limited amounts.

But the total amount of fat is important because it can be a red flag for foods high in potentially health-damaging fats: saturated fat and trans fat. Also, compared to carbohydrates and protein, each gram of fat has twice as many calories.

Of course, you need to be aware of saturated fat and trans fat in foods. Saturated fats are known to raise cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. They may also increase the risk of certain cancers.

Trans fats hit you with a double whammy. In addition to raising levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, they also decrease your HDL ("good") cholesterol. Many researchers suspect that trans fats increase the risk not only for heart disease but also for type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and breast cancer.

How Much Is Too Much?

Saturated fat: Experts with the National Cholesterol Education Program recommend that less than 7% of total calories come from saturated fat. That's 16 grams per day for a person eating 2,000 calories. Some of these products listed below get you most of the way there with one serving.

Trans fat: Experts advise eating as few trans fats as possible. The American Heart Association advises limiting trans fats to less than 1% of total daily calories. If you need 2,000 calories a day, this computes to less than 2 daily grams of trans fats. Some of the products listed below exceed this limit with one serving.

My List of Fatty Foods

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I took note of foods that were high in total fat and/or saturated fat (most had 20 or more grams of fat per serving) or were surprisingly high in fat. Take a look at the items listed below, and see if any of these shock you, too.

Muffins and Coffee Cake Snack Cakes

  • Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins (4 ounces): 26 grams (g) fat, 6g saturated fat, 480 calories
  • Otis Spunkmeyer Banana Nut Muffins (4 ounces): 24 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 480 calories
  • Entenmann's Little Bites Chocolate Chip Muffins (2 pouches, 3.3 ounces): 18 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 380 calories
  • Hostess Coffee Cakes Cinnamon Streusel (2 small cakes, 3.25 ounces): 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 340 calories

Snack Cakes and Pies

  • Entenmann's Rich Frosted Donuts (1): 19 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 290 calories
  • Hostess HoHos Strawberries and Crème (3 cakes): 17 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 360 calories
  • Hostess Ding Dongs (2 cakes): 19 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 360 calories
  • Little Debbie Frosted Mini Donuts (6): 26 g fat, 15 g saturated fat, 430 calories

Chips and Crackers

  • Terra Vegetable Chips, Mediterranean (2 ounces): 18 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 300 calories
  • Terra Spiced Sweet Potato Chips (2 ounces): 22 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 340 calories
  • Ritz Bits Cheese Cracker Sandwich (2 ounces): 16 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 300 calories

Canned Entrees and Soups

  • Snow's New England Clam Chowder (1 cup) available at most Walmart stores: 15 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 200 calories
  • Stagg Chili with beans, Dynamite Hot (1 cup): 17 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, 340 calories
  • Wolfgang Puck Organic Creamy Butternut Squash (1 cup): 11 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 140 calories
  • Campbell's Chunky Chicken Broccoli Cheese with Potato (1 cup): 11 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 210 calories

Cured Meats and Sausage

  • Hebrew National 1/4 pound beef franks (1 frank): 33 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat, 360 calories
  • Jimmy Dean Cooked Sausage Patties (2 patties): 24 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 250 calories
  • Johnsonville Stadium Brats, various types (1 link): 20 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 220 calories
  • Hillshire Farm Beer Brat (1 link): 23 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 260 calories
  • Oscar Mayer Beef Bologna (2 slices): 16 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 180 calories

Refrigerated Biscuits, Scones, and Cinnamon Rolls

  • Pillsbury Grands Supreme Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing (1 roll): 9 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat, 310 calories
  • Immaculate Baking Co. Wild Blueberry Scones (1 scone): 10 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 200 calories
  • Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Butter Tastin' Biscuits (1): 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 3.5 g trans fat, 180 calories

Frozen Desserts

  • Claim Jumper Chocolate Silk Pie (1/8 pie): 29 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, 4.5 g trans fat, 410 calories
  • Haagen-Dazs Vanilla & Almonds (1 bar): 22 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 300 calories
  • Edy’s Dibs (4 oz container): 24 g fat, 17 g saturated fat, 340 calories
  • Mini Chocolate Dipped Cream Puffs (5): 24 g fat, 15 g saturated fat, 340 calories
  • Weight Watchers English Toffee Crunch (2 bars): 12 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, <0.5 g trans fat, 220 calories.

Frozen Breakfast Entrees (1 entrée)

  • Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls, Sausage: 34 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, < 0.5 g trans fat, 490 calorie.
  • Nancy's Quiche Cheese Trio (one 6-oz quiche): 28 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 450 calories, 1 g trans fat.
  • Aunt Jemima Scrambled Eggs and Bacon with Hash Brown Potatoes: 22 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 310 calories
  • Farm Rich French Toast Sticks (8 pieces): 22 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 540 calories
  • Jimmy Dean Muffin Sandwich, Sausage, Egg & Cheese: 20 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, <0.5 g trans fat, 330 calories.

Frozen Entrees and Snacks

  • Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie (1 pie, 16.5 oz): 62 g fat, 22 g saturated fat, 1040 calories
  • Claim Jumper Country Fried Chicken (1 entrée, 17.25 oz), available at Walmart stores: 34 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 700 calories
  • Foster Farms Mini Corn Dogs, Honey Crunchy (8): 26 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 440 calories
  • Red Baron Single Deep Dish Pizza Supreme (1): 19 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 420 calories
  • T.G.I. Fridays Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skins (2 pieces), available in the frozen section of many major supermarkets: 28 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 440 calories

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD is the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

WebMD Expert Column



Nutrition information labels.

American Heart Association: "Trans Fats."


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