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The 13 Unhealthiest Costco Bakery Foods

Costco bakery items
Costco bakery items - The Image Party/Shutterstock

For bread, pastry, and cake lovers, there's nowhere more enticing in a Costco than the bakery section. Each store stocks an impressive, ever-changing range of fresh baked goods, with savvy customers making the most of the section by using a few little-known Costco bakery secrets when they shop. One secret you might be less enthused about, though, is the nutritional information of some of its products. For Costco's baked goods, this info can be pretty hard to find, and it might surprise you to learn that a number of in-store bakery items are shockingly high in one thing: saturated fat.

This much-discussed nutrient, which the American Heart Association recommends you should limit to 13 grams a day due to its potential impact on cholesterol levels, is no stranger to bakery foods. Some of Costco's items are so full of saturated fat that they supply this entire limit in one go -- with others giving you way more than this per serving. In this article, we focused on the items highest in saturated fat in Costco's bakery section, while taking into account other dietary reasons why you may want to avoid them, such as their sugar content.

Read more: What These Imitation Foods Are Actually Made Of

Kirkland Signature Butter Croissants

Costco butter croissants
Costco butter croissants - Costco

No one's under the illusion that butter croissants aren't high in fat -- indeed, the butter itself is a big part of what makes them so delicious and creates their flaky layers. At Costco, however, things are taken to the next level, in pretty unfortunate ways. Each Kirkland Signature Butter Croissant has 10 grams of saturated fat. If you're working with the FDA's guidelines, that amounts to half your daily limit of 20 grams. Under the more stringent guidelines from the American Heart Association of 13 grams a day, a single croissant covers almost your entire allowance.

Unfortunately, all that saturated fat (which makes up a large proportion of butter) can be pretty impactful. Regular consumption of high amounts of saturated fats can impact your cholesterol levels, both high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good cholesterol") and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad cholesterol") levels. When you eat lots of saturated fats, both types rise, and the good doesn't necessarily cancel out the bad. Higher cholesterol levels can affect your blood pressure and cause it to rise, which isn't helped in this food's case by its surprisingly high sodium content of 310 milligrams, as sodium consumption is also linked to high blood pressure.

Kirkland Signature Plain Cheesecake

Costco plain cheesecake
Costco plain cheesecake - Costco

Costco doesn't do things by halves, and its Kirkland Signature Plain Cheesecake is evidence of this -- with the saturated fat content to show for it. In each slice of this 12-inch cheesecake, there's a massive 18 grams of saturated fat, which pretty much takes up the recommended daily allowance. As well as this, each 4.5-ounce slice has a whopping 24 grams of added sugar, 1 gram of trans fats, and pretty much no vitamin or mineral content to be seen.

Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Costco's cheesecake contains cheese, and cheese isn't exactly a low-fat food item. However, when you stack it up against other cheesecakes at major retailers, its saturated fat levels look pretty stark. Walmart's New York Style Cheesecake, for instance, has 10 grams of saturated fat per serving (which is, it's important to point out, still a high amount), and this is in a recommended serving size of 4 ounces, not that much smaller than Costco's recommended slice size. While the Costco cheesecake's additional saturated fat content is due to the generous amount of cheesecake filling in the cake, and the whipped cream on top, it's still a lot. ‌

Kirkland Signature Cream Cheese Danish

Costco cream cheese Danishes
Costco cream cheese Danishes - Costco

Chowing down on a cream cheese Danish, with a next-level morning coffee sitting next to it, is our idea of heaven. What's less heavenly is the saturated fat content in Costco's version of this pastry. These generously sized Danishes are stuffed full of a thick cream cheese filling, and this, combined with the pastry encasing it, results in each Danish containing 11 grams of saturated fat. In addition, there are 36 grams of sugar, 470 milligrams of sodium, and just a single gram of fiber per portion -- not exactly a picture of health.

If you're thinking that there's a silver lining because a lot of that fat comes from dairy, you may be disappointed. Dairy is often held up as having potential health benefits, especially its ability to provide bone-boosting calcium. However, despite dairy's ability to provide important protein and some nutrients, high dairy consumption has also been linked to several health concerns, including a higher risk of prostate cancer, according to a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. As for dairy's ability to help our bones get stronger, another study, published in The BMJ, noted that the link between dairy and calcium consumption and decreased fracture risk is pretty inconsistent.

‌Kirkland Signature Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Mousse Filling

Costco Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Mousse
Costco Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Mousse - Costco

If you need a chocolate cake for a party, Costco's got you covered. Its Kirkland Signature 10-inch Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Mousse Filling is particularly enticing and promises 16 individual servings. Each one of these servings, though, is high in saturated fat, with every slice having 7 grams. This covers over half of the recommended daily value for the nutrient proposed by the American Heart Association. This super-sweet cake is also abundant in sugar and delivers a whopping 44 grams of added sugars per serving.

It's the source of the fat, too, which is tricky. Much of the saturated fat content appears to come from a combination of vegetable fats like canola oil, palm oil, and soybean oil. Palm oil has a particularly high concentration of saturated fat. On the other hand, soybean oil is lower in saturated fats but can be troublesome in other ways. A study published in Gut Microbes looked at the effects of consuming a diet high in soybean oil and found that the linoleic acid within it can be disruptive to the balance and health of the intestinal system and ultimately increase the risk of colitis.

Kirkland Signature Double Crust Apple Pie

Costco Double Crust Apple Pie
Costco Double Crust Apple Pie - Costco

Don't want the effort of making a classic apple pie from scratch and leaving it to cool gently on the windowsill? Skip the work and buy one at your local Costco -- if you're prepared for a lot of saturated fat. With 4 grams of saturated fat per serving, the Kirkland Signature Double Crust Apple Pie covers a significant portion of your daily value. Add to this the 24 grams of added sugar per serving, and you've got yourself a fairly unhealthy dessert, especially when you consider that each serving is only 1/16 of the pie.

The saturated fat content comes primarily from the pie's pastry. Shortcrust pastry is generally super-high in fat, making up about a third of its composition, which is what gives it its tender crumb and moreish flavor. It's also worth pointing out that this pie has a surprising amount of sodium in it. With each tiny slice, there are 350 milligrams of sodium, 15% of your daily value and more than a medium order of McDonald's fries.

Kirkland Signature Almond Danish

Costco almond danish
Costco almond danish - Costco

On its surface, the Kirkland Signature Almond Danish doesn't look too bad. While the other Danishes from Costco announce themselves as potentially unhealthy with lashings of cream cheese or cherry filling, this one's almond flavor looks pretty unassuming, with the outside merely sprinkled with powdered sugar and the almond filling hidden away.

So that makes its saturated fat content even more surprising. The Kirkland Signature Almond Danish has a whopping 23 grams of saturated fat, almost half of its entire fat total of 47 grams. It's also one of the most calorific offers in Costco's bakery, providing 750 calories per serving.

Now, this Danish likely isn't meant for everyday consumption. However, its nutritional information exposes how important it is to treat food items like this as occasional treats that slot into a balanced diet. Achieving balance in your diet, by emphasizing fresh fruits and vegetables and limiting processed foods, helps you ensure that the foods and calories you're consuming are nutrient-rich and bolster your immune system and general health. Gaining too many of your regular calories from ultra-processed foods like this, on the other hand, will do your health no favors.

Kirkland Signature Guava Cheesecake

Costco guava cheesecake
Costco guava cheesecake - costcohotfinds / Instagram

Costco knows how to make an impact -- and if you need any more proof of this, take a look at its Kirkland Signature Guava Cheesecake. Available in Hawaii, the guava-infused item is a sight to behold, with a lurid, red-orange disc of guava encased by a round of whipped cream, and topping a thick layer of cheesecake filling.

While striking, it doesn't exactly look like the picture of health, and unfortunately, this shows in its nutritional info. Although you might expect this cake to be high in sugar due to the guava jelly on top, we're more concerned with its saturated fat content, which clocks in at 16 grams per serving. Like the Double Crust Apple Pie, a serving is only 1/16 of the cake. Depending on whether you're following the FDA's or the American Heart Association's guidelines, 16 grams is either almost all of your entire daily value or 3 grams more than you should be consuming in a whole day.

There's been a lot of discussion about saturated fats in recent years, and how impactful they are on cardiovascular health. While some studies, such as one published in The Lancet in 2017, have indicated that there's not a link between saturated fat consumption and heart health risks, others still point to the importance of limiting your intake.

Kirkland Signature Pecan Pie

Costco pecan pie
Costco pecan pie - costcoreviews / Instagram

There are few things better than a slice of pecan pie at Thanksgiving -- but let's face it, the effort of making one from scratch is hard work. That's why thousands rejoice each year when Costco rides to the rescue with its seasonal Kirkland Signature Pecan Pie, which has 16 servings in its 70-ounce size.

However, pecan pie is hardly a nutritionist's dream food, and Costco's offering does little to improve its reputation. In every slice, there are 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 29 grams of fat in total. Additionally, there's a whopping amount of sugar -- 37 grams of it, to be precise -- per serving.

There are also some other ingredients in the Kirkland Signature Pecan Pie which we're not crazy about. Carrageenan, a commonly used additive that helps to improve texture and consistency, is present and presumably added to the pie filling to make everything smoother. Given the continued worry around carrageenan, though, it's pretty difficult to see the case for it. A research review published in Nutrients pointed out that there is no concrete data yet about carrageenan's health effects, specifically its impact on inflammatory bowel disease development, and advised that where possible you should try to limit it. Making your own pecan pie this Thanksgiving suddenly doesn't seem so bad.

Kirkland Signature Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Costco chocolate chunk cookies
Costco chocolate chunk cookies - Costco

We all love a chocolate chip cookie, and we love them even more when there's a big box of them right in front of us. Costco is aware of both of these facts and thus stocks 24-packs of its Kirkland Signature Chocolate Chunk Cookies on its bakery shelves. These cookies, however, aren't the best nutritionally and have a fairly high amount of saturated fat.

Each cookie contains 6 grams of saturated fat, not to mention 19 grams of added sugars. When you consider the fact that each cookie is only 50 grams, it becomes clear that a full half is taken up by potentially unhealthy ingredients. Unfortunately, these cookies are a great example of an energy-dense food that provides little nutritional benefit. Often ultra-processed, energy-dense foods are high in calories relative to their weight, with their calorie counts often driven higher by the addition of sugar and saturated fat. It's easy to get into the trap of eating lots of energy-dense foods, but doing this can come at the expense of necessary nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as general satiety, and it's important to prioritize foods that have a good nutritional bang for your buck instead.

Kirkland Signature Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Cake

Costco Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Cake
Costco Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Cake - Costco

Want a cake that's dressed for success? The Kirkland Signature Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Cake is the one for you. This cake is an elegant affair, with layers of sponge cake and mousse topped with a feathered effect and chocolate curls. Do you know what's less elegant about it, though? Its saturated fat content. Each fairly small serving of this cake has 11 grams of saturated fat. Take that with the 23 grams of added sugar, and you've got yourself a dessert that could make a big impact.

Granted, you're not likely to get a chocolate mousse cake out there that's low in both fat and sugar (and if you find one, we'd be pretty skeptical about its flavor, given that the fat and sugar are kind of what makes it taste good). It's worth noting, though, that similar products exist that are lower in both of these ingredients. Target's Tuxedo Truffle Mousse Bar Cake, for example, looks just as smart and has a lower saturated fat and sugar level in each serving.‌

Kirkland Signature Mini Carrot Cakes With Cream Cheese Icing

Costco mini carrot cakes
Costco mini carrot cakes - thecostcoconnoisseur / Instagram

Few of Costco's bakery items are as cute as its Kirkland Signature Mini Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Icing. These delightful little treats are going to be the item your kids beg you for next time you're at the store, with each small cake topped with a bright orange carrot made of icing, complete with green leaves.

However, the trouble lies in the fact that this icing is made from cream cheese and therefore provides a big wallop of saturated fat -- 8 grams, in fact, per serving. The carb content is also pretty hefty, with 29 grams of added sugar. Add to that the 380 milligrams of sodium, and you're in for a rocky ride.

Here's the kicker, too: While these items are already pretty small, Costco says that each cake is two individual servings. If you eat the whole thing (and let's face it, quite a few people would -- they look like one serving each, right?), you're getting double all of those amounts, and a total of 760 calories. Many people find this kind of serving size trickery confusing and fundamentally unrealistic, and we've gotta say, we kind of agree. ‌

Kirkland Signature White Chocolate And Macadamia Nut Cookies

Costco White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies
Costco White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies - Costco

The combination of creamy white chocolate and earthy yet luscious macadamia nuts is one that we simply adore. However, we wouldn't advise you to go to Costco to get your fix of this flavor duo. Costco's Kirkland Signature White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies are certainly tasty, but they also have a fairly high amount of saturated fat per item. Each cookie has 5 grams of saturated fat, and when you add in the 17 grams of sugar, it doesn't make for easy reading.

Rather than pick up a box of these cookies, it might be worth choosing a different white chocolate and macadamia nut-flavored option which has a better nutritional profile. CLIF's White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Energy Bars would be a good alternative. As these items are bars and not cookies, it's not exactly a straight swap. Their saturated fat content, however, is much lower, with just 1.5 grams per portion. Their sugar content, meanwhile, is also 17 grams in each bar -- but when you consider the fact that CLIF's product is bigger than Costco's cookies by 18 grams, things do look slightly more palatable.

Kirkland Signature Cherry Danish

Costco cherry Danish
Costco cherry Danish - Costco

The Kirkland Signature Cherry Danish's nutritional information isn't exactly the picture of health. You might expect this item's sugar content to be the most worrying thing about it, but its saturated fat amount, with 11 grams per serving, takes the cake. This quantity covers over half of the daily value recommended by the FDA, and as it has 22 grams of fat in total, that means that half of its fat content is saturated, presumably largely provided by the butter used to make it.

That's not to say that its added sugar levels aren't high, either: Each Danish has 19 grams. Its composition means that it falls in line with a host of other high-sugar, high-fat foods that, when eaten in higher quantities, may have a big effect on our dietary choices. As a report published in Cell Metabolism discussed, eating a high-sugar, high-fat snack daily can affect our reward systems over time and cause us to lean more toward unhealthy snacks and away from potentially healthier, lower-fat options. Longer-term, this shift can lead to a pattern of unhealthy eating which may then have knock-on health consequences.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.