Foods You’ll Never Find at Whole Foods

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Foods You’ll Never Find at Whole Foods

There are more than 80 ingredients that Whole Foods considers to be “unacceptable,” and won’t allow in any of the products they sell.

Artificial Flavors and Colors

Looking for your favorite candy bar? Odds are you won’t find it at Whole Foods, because just about all of them contain artificial flavors and colors. 


This artificial sweetener is most commonly used in diet sodas, so don’t go looking for Diet Coke.

Bleached Flour

Ever wonder why white bread is white? Because the flour (which is naturally light brown) is bleached, removing its color as well as many vitamins and minerals. 

Foie Gras

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Due to concerns about inhumane treatment of the ducks or geese that give us foie gras, Whole Foods refuses to sell this delicacy. 

High Fructose Corn Syrup

This sweetener is incredibly common, thanks to the fact that it’s much sweeter and cheaper than sugar. It’s found in products ranging from Coca-Cola to Welch’s grape jelly to Heinz ketchup, so you won’t find any of those products at Whole Foods. 

Hydrogenated Fats

If the word “hydrogenated” appears anywhere in an ingredient listing (usually as part of “partially hydrogenated soybean oil” and the like), it won’t be found at Whole Foods. Hydrogenated oils have a longer shelf life and are more stable, but they’re also a major source of trans fats. 


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Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer most commonly associated with Chinese food, but it’s also found in just about every popular snack chip, including Doritos. 

Nitrites/ Nitrates

Nitrites and Nitrites are used to cure meats and can be found in hot dogs, bacon, and lots of other foods with that familiar rosy hue. But they’ve also been linked to cancer in some studies, so only nitrate-free meats are sold at Whole Foods. 

Sorbic Acid

This preservative has powerful antifungal properties, and is found in lots of fast foods as well as plenty of everyday packaged foods like Lender’s Bagels and Kraft cheese, even though Kraft is replacing the sorbic acid in some of its Singles with a different preservative. 

Irradiated Foods

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Believe it or not, a lot of the meat and product you find at your local supermarket has been irradiated, to help control spoilage and kill off food-borne pathogens like listeria. The EPA says it’s safe, but Whole Foods isn’t allowing any radiation near its products.