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Ingredients to Avoid When Grocery Shopping

Shot of a young woman shopping for groceries in a supermarket

You may have heard talk about “kryptonite” foods, a reference to the foods that can be detrimental to our health and wellness. These are foods that we are more likely to be sensitive to, or foods that can ultimately cause more harm than good on an individual level.

There are some ingredients that we all may benefit from reducing or eliminating from our diet. When looking at nutrition labels for foods, it’s important to understand these ingredients and why you might look for a different option altogether.

Added Sugar 

Many foods have naturally occurring sugars, like soups, fruits and vegetables, even milk. These are sugars that have not been altered by processing. Added sugars are not naturally occurring and are added in the form of artificial or caloric sweeteners.

Here are some common names for added sugars you might find on ingredient lists:

  • Sugar
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Cane Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Molasses
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Lactose

Processed Oils

The process of producing cooking oil is a tricky one. Fats are not particularly heat stable; this means that the likelihood of them being produced in a way that does not protect against them going rancid is high. These fats are also higher in Omega-6 Fatty Acids. It is best to avoid these and opt for higher quality sources of fats from other options like avocados, avocado oil, olives, olive oil and coconut oil.

Here are some examples of processed seed oils that are best to eliminate:

  • Canola Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sunflower/Safflower Oil
  • Peanut Oil


It is important to remember that in order to make lasting change, the changes made must be sustainable. Start by looking at your pantry: what is already there, and what are the ingredients in those things? Bringing awareness can be helpful in understanding what to look for in the future. Once you’ve created awareness around the foods you typically buy that have these ingredients in them, you can start to look for alternatives when you go grocery shopping.