Marketers will try anything to sell products. Knowledge is power, people.

Organic, sugar-free… these are all great things and its awesome that we now have many more healthful food options than we did just a couple of years ago. It’s also great that there are tons of gluten-free options for the 1% of the population for whom gluten triggers a violent autoimmune response (celiac disease), and for those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (more people than you realize have this and may experience aggressive symptoms after consuming gluten containing foods.)

However, terms such as “gluten free” have now been exploited by manufacturers looking to seize the moment (and our ignorance) in order to sell more products, many of which are no better for you than their traditional counterparts (sometimes, they are even worse).

If we begin trading out sugar for artificial sweeteners, shown to disrupt gut bacteria and promote a metabolic mess, or gluten for rapidly digesting refined grain substitutes, or the little bit of benign saturated fat in butter for inflammatory, hyper-processed oils like corn or soy oil, what progress have we made?

Educate yourself! Please know that organic, gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, all natural, whole grain junk food IS STILL JUNK FOOD. The manufacturers may be fooling you but they’re not fooling your gut microbiome (the TRILLIONS of bacteria that live in our intestines).

For more about artificial sweeteners, watch below:

Keep in mind, there are over 60 names that the food industry uses to describe sugar.

Why you ask?

Customer confusion.

The more confused you are, the less you know what to look for, and the more money you spend on items that you are led to believe are healthy (gluten-free, naturally sweetened, natural flavors, sugar-free, fat-free, etc.).

Here are a few key clues to look for to know which ingredients are sugars or sweeteners:

Sugar:

1. The most blaring evidence- SUGAR
2. Anything ending in OSE
3. Anything that is followed by JUICE
4. If there is a fruit listed in the ingredient label, most likely it is a very processed form of the fruit and the sugar
from the fruit has been extracted, leaving virtually no nutrition from the fruit behind.
5. Anything that is followed by SYRUP

Artificial Sweetener:

1. Anything ending in ITOL
2. Anything ending in AME

Got cravings? Figure out what they mean!