Woman checking food labelling in supermarket

bace30b8-c8a1-40f8-a67f-87e36b169e17This article is sponsored by ShopRite of Yardley, the state-of-the-art grocery store in Oxford Oaks Shopping Center. Three hundred well prepared associates are ready to serve you as you shop aisles filled with the freshest varieties of produce, meat and seafood. In addition to offering the convenience of online shopping options, the 57,000-square-foot ShopRite of Yardley was designed with convenience in mind, even offering on-site childcare for children ages 3 to 8 for up to 90 minutes! Look for ShopRite's dietician recommendations marked throughout the store and follow them on Facebook for #WellnessWednesday tips!

Do you know what's in your grocery cart? Successful dieters have one thing in common – they know how to read food labels. Here are three ingredients that could be sabotaging even your best dieting efforts.

1.  The -ose Triplets – Fructose, Dextrose and Sucralose

Ingredients ending in -ose are scientific names for sugars.  Fructose, or fruit sugar, is naturally occurring in honey, fruits, berries, and root vegetables.  However, it is also found in sugar beets, sugar cane, and corn (high fructose corn syrup anyone?).  If a box or package contains fructose, chances are it is of the sugar beet, sugar cane, or corn variety.

Dextrose is a form of glucose and is one of the most common ingredients found in packaged foods.  Because it is derived from starches, it also is manufactured from corn.  Both fructose and dextrose have been linked to obesity, fat retention, and a sluggish metabolism.

In the 90s, sucralose was seen as the answer to dieters' prayers.  A non-nutritive sweetner, sucralose gives you the sweetness you crave, without the calorie intake.  However, caution should be used as sucralose may trigger the brain's pleasure centers associated with sugar, thus making you crave sugary treats even more.

2.  Soy

The early 21st century saw the soy craze.  Thought to be a quick, protein packed substitute for dairy, soy was everywhere.  From soy milk, soy cheese, and soy ice cream to soy meat substitute, soy was seen as a heart-healthy alternative to meat and dairy products.    However, studies have shown that the plant compounds in soy products mimic estrogen in rodents.  Eating large amounts of these compounds may contribute to reduced fertility in women, premature puberty, and disruption of fetal and child development.  Furthermore, high levels of estrogen have been linked to high blood pressure, ovarian cysts, depression, PMS and reproductive cancers.  Not to mention, high estrogen levels are also linked to holding weight around the belly and hips.

However, it is not as easy as simply laying off the tofurkey.  Soy is in everything from bread crumbs to protein shakes.  When choosing a meal replacement or protein shake, opt for a soy-free option and avoid all products containing hidden soy ingredients.  They will say lecithin, xanthan, toccopherol, or have soy, soya, or shoyo in the name.

3.  Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Monosodium glutamate is the salt of glutamatic acid, a naturally occurring, non-essential amino acid.  MSG is everywhere in the food industry and is used to enhance the meaty, savory flavor in food.  MSG can be used to reduce the salt content in many canned foods, such as soups and stews, and is commonly found in “low sodium” varieties.  On food labels it can be listed as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed yeast, soy extract, and protein isolate.

So if it reduces sodium intake, what's the big deal?

A 2011 study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill revealed that people who consume large quantities of MSG are more likely to be overweight or obese.  The theory is that MSG causes people to produce more of a hormone called leptin, which regulates metabolism and appetite.  If a person produces more leptin, the body cannot process the energy it receives from food, storing it as though the body is starving.

Each of these hidden ingredients can derail even the most faithful dieter. The best bet is to stick to whole foods, prepare them yourself when you can, and rely on mother nature to lead you to your fitness goals in the new year.


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