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Grocery Store Buyer Beware! A Three Part Series (3 of 3)

Sneaky Sneaky Sugar

Written by: Dr. Janine Mackenzie, ND

Food manufacturing companies know that consumers are looking for low sugar foods, but sugar is one of the components of foods that make us crave them, and essentially get ‘addicted’ to them. So often the nutritional label will not directly say “sugar” on the ingredients list.

Here are the different names that sugar can appear in food labels, I bet you will be shocked at how many foods contain these sneaky forms of sugar!

  • Brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, powdered sugar

  • Cane juice/evaporated cane juice

  • Corn syrups

  • Dextrose, or glucose, aka corn sugar

  • High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

  • Honey

  • Lactose, or milk sugar

  • Levulose, or fructose

  • Raw sugar

  • Sorbitol, mannitol, malitol and xylitol (sugar alcohol)

  • Sucrose, or table sugar

In general, watch out for anything with “sugar”, “-ose” or “-ol”

So you know now how sugar can hide in foods. What about using artificial sweeteners to satisfy your sweet tooth? They contain 0 calories, so it’s supposed to be ok, right?

Sadly, WRONG!

Artificial sweeteners may taste like sugar, but your body doesn’t recognize them as food!

They are chemicals that your body recognize as toxins and add to your body’s toxic load. Symptoms of toxicity can include: fatigue, headache, mood changes, digestive issues and brain fog – just to name a few.

Moreover, studies have found that the sweet taste without the calories actually messes with our perception of satiety – we are telling our brain that sweet taste no longer equates to calories! Researches have shown that people who consume diet drinks and use artificial sweeteners actually gain weight, instead of losing weight!

Here are some common artificial sweeteners that you should look out for when reading food labels – it pays to get familiar to both their generic/chemical name, as well as the brand names that they come in to make sure you don’t miss a thing:

  • Aspartame, sold under the brand names NutraSweet® and Equal® - it contains a neurotoxin!

  • Saccharin, sold under the brand name Sweet’N Low®

  • Sucralose, sold under the brand name Splenda®

  • Acesulfame K (or acesulfame potassium), produced by Hoechst, a German chemical company; widely used in foods, beverages and pharmaceutical products around the world.

  • Neotame, produced by the NutraSweet Company; the most recent addition to FDA’s list of approved artificial sweeteners, neotame is used in diet soft drinks and low-calorie foods.

The grocery store can be an intimidating place. It is total and complete sensory overload. You are not alone. My best advice is take a trip to the grocery store with the intent on buying nothing, it’s a fact-finding mission instead. Walk isle by isle and check out the nutritional information on some of your go-to items. Compare brand name to the grocery store brand. Look at serving size, look at calories, read the ingredients list. Make notes if you have to. Once you’re done put the item back on the shelf and move to the next item. When you do go to shop, ideally most of your items will come from the outer edges of the store and not from the isles. The produce section, the bakery, the meat counter. Look for whole foods with one ingredient.

When you know better you do better. Hopefully this post helps you navigate the confusing world of food labels and helps you make better, more informed choices for your family.

If you’re looking to improve your health and wellness, contact

Cheam Wellness Group

at 604-776-2432 or to learn more about how we can work together!

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