Do you ever look at a list of ingredients on a supposed “health food” and wonder, “Is this really good for me?”
If you haven’t, I’m sorry to see you need to, because over 80% of the packaged foods you buy in the grocery stores comes with hidden sugars!
With more and more foods being marketed as nutritious, it’s only gotten more confusing.
Many of those wannabe healthy foods – including some of those specifically stating they are keto, paleo, sugar-free, organic, or gluten-free – are a different story when you look closely at the ingredients.
But even when you read each and every word, it can be very easy to miss ingredients that mean sugar, artificial sweeteners, gluten, and unhealthy fats.
In fact, on the lists below, there are 109 different names and ingredients in all!
That’s a lot to look out for, which is why it’s important that you check labels carefully, especially on foods that are likely suspects including:
- Breakfast cereals
- Snack foods and other processed foods
- Soda and other carbonated beverages
- Chewing gum
- Chewable vitamins
- Desserts and dessert mixes
- Diet foods and sugar-free foods
- Protein bars and breakfast bars
And among those foods, what many people don’t realize is that the same ingredient list can have 3 or 4 different types of sugars (and some, even more!), and 2 or 3 bad sources of fat!
So keep this list at the ready next time you’re at the grocery store wondering just how good for you a food really is.
Hidden Sugars & Sweeteners
Keep in mind there are literally thousands of chemical compounds of artificial sweeteners, so this is not a definitive list. Beware of any ingredient that contains any part of the following words:
- Sugar alcohol
- Sweet One
- Sweet’n Low
Derived from sugar:
- Brown sugar
- Cane juice/dehydrated cane juice
- Cane sugar/cane sugar extract
- Carob syrup
- Caster sugar
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Demerara sugar/raw sugar
- Fructose (the worst sugar of them all)
- Golden syrup
- Glucose/glucose solids/gluco-malt
- Invert sugar
- Malt/malt syrup/maltose/maltodextrin/ethyl maltol
- Muscovado sugar
- Refiners syrup
- Sorghum syrup
- Turbinado sugar
Derived from other natural sources (but still sugar!):
- Agave nectar
- Barley malt syrup
- Beet sugar
- Brown rice syrup
- Coconut sugar
- Corn sugar
- Corn syrup/corn syrup solids
- Date sugar
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Fruit sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Honey (including raw honey)
- Maple syrup
- Palm sugar
Look for organic liquid stevia or lo han berry (AKA monkfruit) instead of all of these ingredients.
The good news in this category is that more and more foods are now labeling that they are either gluten free or that they contain gluten.
Here is the most important thing you need to know – there is NOTHING free about gluten-free! In fact, there are over 400 types of gluten, other than the ONE called ‘gliadin’ that you find in wheat, barley, and rye.
You see, to be considered gluten-free, gliadin is the ONLY gluten protein that it needs to be free of. But ad I JUST mentioned, there are over 400 other kinds of gluten, and this is WHY many people who are on a gluten-free diet are NOT getting better!
This is why people suffering with Celiac, are NOT getting better.
In fact, 41% of gluten-free products pulled from the grocery store shelves contain enough gluten to cause enough damage to those with gluten sensitivity!
So we can’t trust the labels, as gluten can appear in everything, so it’s important you know what to look out for other than the basics like wheat and gluten.
- Bleached flour
- Bread flour
- Hordeum vulgare (scientific name for barley)
- Malt/ malt extract/ malt syrup/ malt flavoring/ malt vinegar
- Modified food starch (may contain gluten)
- Secale cereal (scientific name for rye)
- Spelt/triticum spelta
- Triticum vulgare (scientific name for wheat)
- Vegetable protein/ hydrolyzed vegetable protein (may contain gluten)
- Wheat bran
- Wheat flower
- Wheat germ/wheat germ oil/ wheat germ extract
- Wheat protein/hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Wheat starch
Hidden Bad Fats
- Corn/Canola oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Flax seed oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Hydrogenated vegetable oil
- Peanut oil
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- Walnut oil
- Wheat germ oil
- All roasted nuts
- High fructose corn syrup
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Processed food like cookies, crackers, candy, granola/granola bars, pie crusts, frozen pizza crusts, and pastries
- Soy (tofu, soy milk, soybeans, edamame)
- Store-bought salad dressings
- Sunflower seeds (These seeds are a good source of omega-3s, but they are also very high in omega-6 fats, so consume in moderation.)
- Dairy (indirect source) — a majority of the animals are fed unhealthy grains and omega-6 fats to “beef” them up. These foods are a major contributing factor to the dangerous levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats. Many people’s omega-6 fats are too high due to this source.
- Farmed fish, including salmon (5 times higher in omega-6 fats than wild-caught)
- Hot dogs (vegetarian, turkey, and chicken)
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