Publix has long been known for its wholesome, high-quality food choices and consistently ranks among the nation's most beloved supermarket chains. Plus, there's that deli counter with those made-to-order "pub subs" that no one can seem to get enough of.
So, does that mean you can't go wrong when you shop for food at Publix? Well, no, not exactly. While Publix is known to sell a variety of healthy choices, there are plenty of options that we'd recommend you stay away from. In fact, you could definitely bring home some genuinely questionable Publix-branded products if you wanted to.
Here are 20 of the worst foods at Publix. And for more foods to skip, steer clear of these 17 Worst Foods to Buy at Target.
Per 1/4 cup (62 g): 90 calories, 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein
It's not that the Publix Premium Alfredo Sauce is markedly worse than other Alfredo sauces you can buy. But still, it's Alfredo, which is made with heavy cream and cheese, which is why it contains 3.5 grams of saturated fat per serving. Moreover, despite that cheese is the fourth ingredient, this sauce offers a mere two grams of protein per serving. For context, one 2-ounce serving of Banza rotini pasta packs 12 grams of protein and no saturated fat.
For a healthier option, try Primal Kitchen No Dairy Alfredo Sauce with Avocado Oil, which contains only 1 gram of saturated fat per 1/4 cup serving.
Per container (283 g): 330 calories, 26 g fat (16 g saturated fat), 950 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 7 g protein
Lobster bisque is, by definition, a decadent creamy, savory-sweet soup concoction. But does a single serving have to pack nearly a whole day's worth of saturated fat and almost half of your daily allowance of sodium? Even the sugar content is a bit high for a soup that should be getting most of its sweetness from lobster meat.
Per 10 pieces (227 g): 520 calories, 27 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 1,350 mg sodium, 62 g carbs (4 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 10 g protein
While sushi can be a part of a healthy meal, that all goes away when your sushi is coated in fried Panko bread crumbs panko crumbs like the Publix Crunchy Roll is. Check out The Best and Worst Sushi Rolls for Weight Loss for additional tips on how to choose a healthy sushi roll.
Per 4 oz (112 g): 220 calories, 18 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 660 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 16 g protein
Back in 2006, The New York Times talked up this particular product as the secret to award-winning chef Lidia Bastianich's pork and cannellini beans and raved about its buttery richness. That might explain why crowd-pleasing Publix carries it. But that doesn't make it healthy. Quite the opposite, in fact, with its saturated fat and sodium contents. In addition, it contains the bad kind of nitrates that may cause cancer.
But there's also such a thing as healthy nitrates, found in various veggies. Don't miss One Major Effect of Eating Spinach, Says Science.
Per 2 oz (56 g): 180 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 570 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 8 g protein
Also sold at Publix (although not made or labeled by Publix) is the John Morrell Braunschweiger, which is a soft, spreadable plastic-encased sausage made of minced pork (including pork fat and pork liver) and spices. If you've ever had liverwurst, then you're familiar with the general idea here—which is that this is not a good-for-you food.
Ditch this item and instead, opt for a plant-based option like Beyond Meat Beyond Sausage. Each link contains 190 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 16 grams of protein.
Per 1 cup (240 ml): 70 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (0 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 0 g protein
Delivering 27 grams of sugar, mostly in the form of high fructose corn syrup, and not made from lemon juice, but a multi-ingredient lemon concentrate, this Publix Lemon Flavored Drink doesn't even bother pretending to be "lemonade." Our advice? Skip the lemon-flavored drink and instead make your own lemon water at home.
Per 1 cup (240 mL): 70 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), <1 g protein
"Almond milk" is a bit of a misnomer, considering the fact that the beverage is mostly water. And unlike actual almonds (or actual milk), almond milk offers virtually no protein at all. What it does have is a lot of liquid cane sugar (an added sugar).
For context, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that women consume no more than 25 grams of added sugars (or 6 teaspoons) daily and that men cap their consumption at 36 grams (or 9 teaspoons) a day. With just one serving of this milk, you already wipe out a considerable amount of your daily allowance.
Per 4 tsp (12 g): 60 calories, 2.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (0 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 0 g protein
Would you like some vegetable oil with your coffee? If not, you should consider skipping the Publix Non-Dairy French Vanilla Coffee Creamer.
Per 2 Tbsp (30 g): 120 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein
Publix Honey Mustard Dressing didn't make our roundup of the 20 unhealthiest salad dressings, but with ingredients like soybean oil base five grams of sugar per serving, it can certainly keep pace with those that did.
Per 1 pastry (27 g): 100 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 9 g sugar), N/A protein
You know going in this wasn't going to be a healthy option, but who knew just how unhealthy a tiny little pastry could be? While the Publix Strawberry and Cheese Pastry Bites sound delicious, they're pretty void of strawberries and instead, packed with saturated fat and added sugars. It turns out the strawberry filling is primarily made of high fructose corn syrup and apple sauce.
Per 3 cookies (35 g): 170 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 1 g protein
"Shortbread" is by definition a very buttery business, so we'd expect the saturated fat in a shortbread cookie to reflect butter's high saturated fat content. Publix Fudge-Striped Shortbread Cookies have less saturated fat than one would expect, but, that's only because there's actually no butter to be found in these cookies. Instead, you'll find palm oil, which isn't that great of an alternative.
If you want a classic shortbread cookie, you can easily make one yourself. In fact, our keto shortbread recipe manages to get it right without any sugar at all.
Per 1/2 cup (128 g): 100 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 0 g protein
The real problem with Publix Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup is that it seems to be having an identity crisis, which is to say it doesn't know whether it's a fruit or a dessert. And who can blame it, considering each serving has a mere one gram of fiber but a whopping 18 grams of sugar? Is it any wonder the fruit cocktail earned a spot on our list of unhealthy "healthy" foods?
Per 1/2 cup (122 g): 110 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 25 g sugar), 0 g protein
A can of Publix Pineapple Chunks in Heavy Syrup is no better than the fruit cocktail. In fact, with 25 grams of sugar (22 of which are added sugars), it's a bit worse. While it does contain 94 milligrams of potassium per serving, that's only about 2% of your recommended daily intake. If you're looking for high-potassium foods, you'd be better off eating one of these.
Next, don't miss 7 Science-Backed Reasons To Eat More Pineapple.
Per 7 pieces (40 g): 150 calories, 0 g fat, 115 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 31 g sugar), 0 g protein
By now, it's clear that canned fruit is not exactly a nutritional slam dunk. So, what about dried fruit? Well, for one, it's easy to carry around for snacking. But, it's so sweet, you might swear it's candy. Well, it might as well be candy given that when you compare dried pineapple to most Halloween candy, you'll find this dried pineapple option may contain more added sugars at 18 grams.
Per 17 pieces (31 g): 160 calories, 10 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (2 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 0 g protein
Yes, bananas are fiber- and potassium-rich. But these chips are also super-high in saturated fat (clocking in at 45% of your daily recommended allowance), thanks to the addition of coconut oil. They also contain something called "banana flavoring" which we find perplexing because, as you might expect, bananas are already the first ingredient.
Check out Secret Side Effects of Eating Bananas, Say Dietitians.
Per 1/4 cup (33 g): 160 calories, 10 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 4 g protein
Trail mix can be healthy if it's eaten on the trail. So, if you plan on taking this Publix Sweet and Nutty Trail Mix with you on your next hike, then that's fine—assuming you're exercising portion control, which we all know can be a challenge. As a regular snack food, however, trail mix can be both a calorie and sugar bomb, and this one is no exception. Although it's colorful, it's not because it's high in antioxidants but because its first ingredient is a generic version of M&Ms.
Per 1 cup (38 g): 150 calories, 0 g fat, 150 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 2 g protein
Who knew that the Publix had its own version of Frosted Flakes? Well, while it may be cheaper in price than the big-name brand, this generic cereal contains about three more grams of sugar per serving. For more terrible-for-you cereals, don't miss our round-up of The Unhealthiest Cereals on the Planet.
Per 2/3 cup (125 g): 340 calories, 23 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (6 g fiber, 24 g sugar), 4 g protein
If you're looking for a non-dairy frozen ice cream alternative that packs as many or more calories than your typical premium full-dairy ice cream, then look no further than the Publix Peanut Buttery Cocoa Chip Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert. "Peanut Buttery Variegate" is one of the ingredients and isn't exactly peanut butter but it does have peanuts in it—along with oil, sugar, and salt.
Skip this and instead go for one of The 14 Best Dairy-Free Ice Creams.
Per 2 tbsp (39 g): 100 calories, 0 g fat, 25 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (0g fiber, 17 g sugar), <1 g protein
What do you top a nice cold bowl of peanut buttery non-dairy frozen dessert with, exactly? How about a couple of spoonfuls of high-fructose corn syrup-laden cocoa sauce? That's precisely what you'll get with Publix Chocolate Flavored Sauce.
Per serving (150 g): 240 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (0g fiber, 30 g sugar), 4 g protein
Publix Indulgent Bananas Foster Flavored Premium Yogurt sounds like it should be a healthy alternative to that dessert hall-of-fame member, Bananas Foster. And to the extent you can pretend it resembles actual Bananas Foster, perhaps it is. But it's a stretch. Moreover, with 30 grams of sugar and 4 grams of saturated fat, it's not even healthy.
Per 3/4 cup (170 g): 180 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (0 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 6 g protein
With its low-key packaging and a mere one gram of saturated fat, this low-fat yogurt might appear to be a healthy yogurt choice. But the truth is, it's really high in sugar, clocking in at 27 grams of sugar per serving. And it only offers a mere six grams of protein, which is far less than what you'd get from a Greek yogurt variety. Here are the healthiest Greek yogurt brands on the market.
Now, don't miss 8 Best Groceries to Buy at Costco Right Now.
Lauren Cahn is a food, health, and culture writer whose work has appeared online and in print for Reader's Digest as well as Health Digest, Huffington Post, Taste of Home, and others. Read more
This product is milk to which acidophilus culture (beneficial bacteria) has been added. However, the milk is not actually cultured as yogurt. In the process of making yogurt, milk and an added starter (beneficial bacteria) are placed in a warm environment (such as a temperature-controlled yogurt maker) so the flora can ferment the milk, thickening the milk. Acidophilus milk has the same culture, but has not gone through the full thickening process.
Originally a by-product of butter making, buttermilk is now a milk product cultured with lactic acid. It is available in both skim and low-fat varieties. Some buttermilk has reduced lactose content, which can make it an option for people who have difficulty digesting the lactose in regular milk.
Evaporated or condensed milk
To make this concentrated product, half of the milk’s moisture is removed by evaporation before it is canned. Evaporated milk is sometimes used in cooking, both because it is easy to store and because it curdles less easily when heated than other milk. Unopened, it can be kept at room temperature for up to six months. Once opened, it should be transferred to a clean container and used within three to five days.
Sweetened condensed milk
This type of canned milk, also made by removing half of the water from whole milk, is highly sweetened, and also very high in calories.
Goats’ milk is very similar to cows’ milk; it is higher in calcium by a very small margin but also notably higher in fat. Some people with allergies find they have fewer problems with goats’ milk.
In the homogenization process, milk fat is broken into particles so small that it is emulsified and held within the milk, instead of floating at the surface. In the United States today, almost all milk is sold homogenized.
Jersey and guernsey milk
Jersey and guernsey cows produce exceptionally rich milk that has a higher percentage of cream and butterfat.
With its reduced lactose (milk sugar) levels, created by adding the enzyme lactase, this milk is available for people who, because they lack the enzyme lactase, have difficulty digesting milk.
Pasteurization is the heat process used to destroy potentially harmful bacteria in milk. Two basic processes are currently in use: in the first, milk is heated to at least 161°F (71.6°C) for 15 seconds; in the second, the milk is heated to 280°F (137.7°C) for two seconds.
This product is popular with cooks and budget-minded milk drinkers. To create it, some of the water is evaporated from the milk, and then the milk is sprayed into a drying chamber to further reduce its moisture content, resulting in milk powder or flakes. The powder, available in several forms, including instant nonfat dry milk and dehydrated buttermilk, is easily reconstituted for use by adding water.
Raw milk is unpasteurized milk, meaning it has not undergone the heat process used to destroy potentially harmful bacteria. The risk of bacteria (such as listeria and salmonella) in raw milk has prompted states to impose restrictions on its sale. However, raw milk has many proponents who claim that health benefits are lost in the pasteurization process. If choosing raw milk, make sure that it is produced hygienically and stored properly.
Several types of milk products have been developed over the years that have a long shelf life, such as canned milk, powdered milk, and ultrapasteurized milk. All these products can be stored without refrigeration in unopened packages or tightly sealed containers for up to six months.
Ultra-high-temperature (or UHT) milk is processed at temperatures that produce a product with extended shelf life. Packed in presterilized, aseptically sealed, brick-style cartons (like juice boxes), UHT milk can be stored without refrigeration for about six months. Like canned milk, this milk requires refrigeration once the container is has been opened.
The Publix Super Markets grocery chain is recalling some of its pancake and waffle mixes because powdered milk in them may be contaminated with Salmonella.
Publix officials initiated the recall after the supplier of the powdered milk notified them about the possible contamination, according to a notice posted on the grocery chain’s website Wednesday.
Consumers are urged to check their homes for the recalled pancake and waffle mixes. Anyone who has any of the recalled mixes should return them to the place of purchase for a refund or discard them. The recalled mixes should not be used.
The mixes were sold at Publix stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Valley Milk Products LLC is not named in the Publix recall notice, but the recall is related to the recent government seizure of 4 million pounds of dry milk products from the milk cooperative’s Strasburg, VA, plant, a Publix spokeswoman said Wednesday evening.
Armed U.S. Marshals seized nonfat milk and buttermilk powdered products Nov. 30 at the request of the Food and Drug Administration. In September, FDA inspectors discovered Valley Milk Products’ records showed the company had found Salmonella in plant environments and in finished products.
FDA inspectors found residues on processing equipment after it had been cleaned and condensation from the ceiling falling on the food manufacturing equipment.
Salmonella meleagridis was found on food contact surfaces after pasteurization. The facility is not currently producing dry milk. It has a capacity to turn out 200 million pounds per year.
Consumers can identify the specific Publix mixes by looking for the following label information — all lot codes of the following items are affected by this recall:
- Publix Premium Banana-Flavored Chocolate Chip Pancake & Waffle Mix, 16-ounce, with the GTIN code 4141503503;
- Publix Premium Pumpkin Pancake & Waffle Mix, 16-ounce, with the GTIN code 4141503703; and
- Publix Premium Blueberry Flavored Pancake & Waffle Mix, 16-ounce, with the GTIN code 4141503603.
Anyone who has consumed anything made with the recalled mixes and then developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about their possible exposure to the pathogen.
Salmonellais a bacterium that can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most people recover without treatment. In some cases, diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
“As part of our commitment to food safety, potentially impacted product has been removed from all store shelves,” said Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director, in the recall notice.
“To date, there have been no reported cases of illness.”
Publix customers with questions can call 800-242-1227.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)
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