The Top Unhealthy Ingredients to Avoid

Read food labels and avoid unhealthy ingredientsWhen we go grocery shopping, most of us think we're making healthy choices. But are we really? Joining Away We Grow host Diane Mizota is supermarket guru Phil Lempert, who will help to decode labels and reveal the top ingredients to avoid.

Related: Not so fast! Three tips for reading food labels

We all probably know that we should avoid salt, sugar, and fat. But Lempert notes that these three ingredients may have different names on a label. "So when you look at a label, you really have to be more detective-oriented to know what that sugar really is, what that sodium really is," he says.

Related: 8 alarmingly unhealthy snacks for kids

The key to decoding labels is to read the ingredients and then look at the nutritional facts panel. "In the case of sodium, just remember that baking soda or baking powder or anything that has the word sodium in it, that's salt," says Lempert. He adds, "Sugars can be high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, honey, dextrose, all these things."

If you want to choose between sugar and artificial sweeteners, Lempert recommends picking sugar. He explains, "Some research has actually has shown that consuming artificial sweeteners doesn't satisfy us as much. So we're eating more either of that product or other products. One teaspoon full of sugar is just 16 calories. That's it. So go with the real sugar."

As for fat content, Lempert explains, "Federal regulation says that if you've got a half a gram of fat or less per serving--per serving is a key word here--you could put down 0 grams of fat. So it's not hidden in the ingredients, but it doesn't show up in the nutritional facts."

Lempert also recommends avoiding soda because of its phosphorus content. "Phosphorus actually leeches calcium out of your bones. So especially for women who are concerned about osteoporosis, keep away from a lot of those sodas," he says.

For more shopping tips from Phil Lempert, check out supermarketguru.com.

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