9 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Oatmeals

Oatmeal with fruit and honey
Oatmeal with fruit and honey - Brycia James/Getty Images

Oatmeal has earned a reputation for being healthy. After all, it's no secret that oatmeal is nutritious. Oatmeal is packed full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It's also known to reduce blood pressure and help with weight loss. But a lot of people may not fully realize that some of the oatmeals they're buying on the market may actually be quite unhealthy due to their high sugar content.

Even though sweetened oatmeal definitely tastes better, the truth is that consuming too much sugar on a regular basis can lead to some serious health problems like cardiovascular disease. To truly reap the health benefits of oatmeal, it's best to stick to the plain and unsweetened variety — yet all of those tempting flavors at the store often prove hard to resist. The question is: which store-bought oatmeals are probably best avoided? We've taken a close look at the ingredients and sugar content of some of the most popular brands that you might want to steer clear of.

Read more: 14 Of The Oldest Cereals Still On Shelves

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cinnamon Toast Crunch instant oatmeal
Cinnamon Toast Crunch instant oatmeal - Cinnamon Toast Crunch

In addition to its line of cereals, Cinnamon Toast Crunch also sells instant oatmeal. Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a popular breakfast choice due to its sweet and crunchy taste that's heavily spiced with a pop of cinnamon. We'll be the first to admit that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is delicious, but as is often the case, delicious and healthy aren't always aligned.

Case in point: a single packet of Cinnamon Toast Crunch oatmeal accounts for about 23% of the daily recommended dose of sugar. One serving alone contains 12 grams of sugar. Considering that sugar is the second ingredient listed on the label, it should come as no surprise that this stuff is seriously sweet. While it's true that this oatmeal contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals including zinc and potassium, it's still hard to justify consuming this amount of sugar. If health is the main concern here, we'd all probably be better off eating plain oatmeal and taking vitamins instead. To add some extra flavor and natural sweetness to plain oatmeal, you can always top your oatmeal with some fresh fruit.

Kodiak Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Kodiak Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip oatmeal
Kodiak Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip oatmeal - Kodiak

Kodiak sells a variety of breakfast products including pancake mix, granola bars, and toaster waffles. The company also offers a few flavors of oatmeal cups, such as Maple & Brown Sugar, S'mores, and Chocolate Chip. Another popular flavor in Kodiak's line of oatmeal cups is Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is widely beloved for a reason. The savory richness of peanut butter deliciously complements the sweetness of chocolate, forming a classic, delectable duo that can be seen in everything from cakes to cookies. While this oatmeal is tasty, the ingredients also happen to feature semisweet chocolate chips, cane sugar, and peanut butter drops. As you can imagine, this makes the oatmeal fairly high in sugar, with 12 grams per serving that makes up about 22% of the recommended amount for an entire day. To its credit, one serving of this oatmeal also contains 14 grams of protein, which is fairly impressive since that's roughly the equivalent of two eggs. The protein in this oatmeal mostly comes from pea protein and whey protein in the recipe. Still, it's good to keep in mind how much sugar is in this oatmeal.

Seven Sundays Maple Almond

Seven Sundays Maple Almond oatmeal
Seven Sundays Maple Almond oatmeal - Seven Sundays

Seven Sundays sells cereal, granola, muesli, and oats. The oats come in a few different flavors such as Wild Berry, Apple Cinnamon, and Maple Almond. The company's Maple Almond oats have a hearty look to them and are gluten-free. We want to give this oatmeal credit where it's due, since it has a short list of simple ingredients. It also comes with healthy seeds like flax and chia, which are both known for being highly nutritious and for containing solid doses of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. That said, maple syrup is also the second ingredient in the recipe for this oatmeal.

Just a half-cup of this oatmeal contains about 9 grams of sugar, which is 16% of the daily dose. But ask yourself this: do you think most people measure out only a half-cup when they make a bowl of this? Considering that a half-cup is such a small amount of oatmeal, it's easy to imagine going way over that for a bigger bowl of breakfast. If someone were to eat a cup of this oatmeal, those numbers would double to 18 grams of sugar. That means a one-cup bowl of this would cover about one-third of the sugar that should be consumed for an entire day. We aren't knocking the flavor or quality of this oatmeal, but it's always a good idea to be aware of the actual portion size that's listed on the label.

Nature's Path Coconut Cashew

Nature's Path Coconut Cashew
Nature's Path Coconut Cashew - Nature's Path

Nature's Path is mostly known for its breakfast products like toaster pastries, cereal, and granola. Nature's Path also has a wide range of oatmeal. The company sells canisters of old-fashioned oats, steel cut oats, and quick cook instant oats. It also offers boxes of various oatmeal flavors, including Maple Nut, Blueberry Cinnamon Flax, and Cacao. Coconut Cashew is another popular flavor. Sold in a cup that's just under two-ounces, this oatmeal delivers some great flavors and textures, but also contains nine grams of sugar per serving.

Like many of the oatmeals on this list, sugar is one of the main ingredients in this oatmeal. The good news here is that unlike some of the bags we've featured here, this oatmeal is easier to portion out since one serving is self-contained in a cup that's already measured. This oatmeal also features roasted cashews, dried coconut, chia seeds, and pecans. If you want to skip the sugar for breakfast, here's our advice: opt for some plain oatmeal instead, then top it with some nuts and unsweetened coconut for some extra protein and flavor. That way, you'll get a similar taste and texture but without all of the added sugar, so it'll be much healthier.

Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar

Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar
Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar - Quaker

When it comes to oatmeal, perhaps no brand has better name recognition than Quaker. Quaker oats registered its famous trademark Quaker man in 1877 and has steadily grown its business for generations. The company sells an assortment of instant oatmeal flavors, including Cinnamon Swirl, Apples & Cinnamon, and Maple & Brown Sugar.

Quaker's Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal is made with ingredients that include whole grain oats, chicory root extract, sugar, salt, natural flavor, and monk fruit extract. While the dose of fiber in this oatmeal is fairly impressive at 36%, it also comes with seven grams of sugar per serving. That's a little less than some other oatmeals in this list, but that's like eating over a teaspoon and a half of sugar. For a packet that weighs about only 1.5 ounces, it's fair to say that's a decent amount of sugar for such a humble portion of oatmeal. A better idea: flavor plain oatmeal yourself so that you can be in complete control over how much sugar and other ingredients that you're consuming.

McCann's Apple Cinnamon

McCann's Apple Cinnamon oatmeal
McCann's Apple Cinnamon oatmeal - McCann's

As its name suggests, McCann's Irish oats are grown in the fields of Ireland. The company's products focus exclusively on oatmeal. It sells a few varieties, including traditional oats, instant oatmeal, and microwavable cups. Vanilla Honey and Maple Brown Sugar are a couple of the flavors that McCann's offers. The company also sells an Apple Cinnamon instant oatmeal.

On the surface, Apple Cinnamon seems like a healthy choice. After all, most of us tend to equate fruit with a healthy diet. The problem is that processed foods that contain fruit also tend to include quite a bit of sugar. Of course, there's also the fact that processed fruit is dried rather than fresh. McCann's Apple Cinnamon instant oatmeal contains 12 grams of sugar. Unlike some of the other oatmeals on this list, it also doesn't really contain much protein. On the other hand, it does have low doses of some vitamins and minerals. Truth be told, we'd much rather just eat a fresh apple for breakfast instead.

Better Oats Blueberry Muffin

Better Oats Blueberry Muffin oatmeal
Better Oats Blueberry Muffin oatmeal - Better Oats

Blueberries are often paired with breakfast. Blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, blueberry waffles — all of these are delicious ways to kick off the day. Mimicking the flavor of blueberry muffins in oatmeal is definitely a clever move since that flavor combination is so tasty and familiar. Better Oats cashed in on this with its Blueberry Muffin oatmeal. The ingredient list on this oatmeal is short and sweet — quite literally, since sugar is the second ingredient.

Containing a mix that includes whole grain rolled oats, sugar, flaxseed, and dried blueberries, Better Oats Blueberry Muffin oatmeal also has 12 grams of sugar to give it a sweetened yet fruity flavor. Tasty as this is, those who tend to be wary of sugary foods for breakfast might want to opt for something else instead. If you're in the mood for something equally delicious with a similar flavor profile, try some plain Greek yogurt topped with fresh blueberries and a little crumble of some healthy granola instead.

Happy Belly Brown Sugar

Happy Belly Brown Sugar oatmeal
Happy Belly Brown Sugar oatmeal - Happy Belly

Happy Belly is an Amazon brand that sells a wide range of food products, including instant oatmeal. Maple and brown sugar are a common flavor pairing for breakfast, which makes perfect sense. The flavors of maple and brown sugar are sweet and comforting, making their fusion ideal for all kinds of breakfast goodies like pancakes or sticky cinnamon rolls. Happy Belly's Brown Sugar oatmeal calls to mind these kinds of breakfast pastries, which makes it all the more tempting.

Yet sugar strikes once again — but at least this time, it's right there in the name. This oatmeal is basically just oats, sugar, and caramel color with a few vitamins. According to some customers on Amazon, this oatmeal is overly sweet. In fact, it's so sweet that customers have been known to actually add plain oats to these packets just to dilute the sweetness in order to make them more palatable. Twelve grams of sugar is a bit much for just an ounce-and-a-half of oatmeal. The bottom line: this stuff is cheap, but the recipe is way too heavy on the sugar.

Proper Good Caramel Pecan & Date

Proper Good Caramel Pecan & Date oatmeal
Proper Good Caramel Pecan & Date oatmeal - Proper Good

Proper Good's Caramel Pecan & Date oatmeal is different from the other oatmeals on this list. Rather than coming packaged with all of the ingredients premixed together, this oatmeal comes with a separate pouch of flavored toppings that's added after the oatmeal has been warmed up. The oatmeal mix itself contains ingredients chia seeds and hemp seeds, which are healthy ingredients. The issue here is with the accompanying flavor packet.

The flavor packet for this oatmeal contains a blend of ingredients that includes dates, pecans, and brown sugar. The sugar-to-oatmeal ratio in this product makes it one of the sweetest oatmeals on this list, considering that only eight ounces of oatmeal is paired with a whopping 16 grams of sugar inside the topping packet. We appreciate some of the other interesting flavors the company provides in the flavored toppings, such as orange peel, ginger, and chili peppers. But the amount of sugar that it's all coated in makes this oatmeal too candy-like.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.