Kick the Supermarket Habit! 10 Tips for Identifying Nutritious, Life-Giving Food

Tip #8 – Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates.

You already know this one. You were waiting for it. You’re probably wondering what took me so long to mention it.

This category of foods includes many types of bread, bagels, pasta, crackers, chips, grains, sugars, and anything that is made with them. Trying to avoid sugar in a supermarket is difficult not just because sugar is in almost everything, but also because it’s often difficult to even identify sugar on a label.

There are over 50 different names for sugar, some are familiar and some not. I doubt if even the savvy shopper can name them all. If you aren’t aware of these names, when you see one of them on the label you might not even recognize it as a sugar. So you could be inadvertently consuming more sugar than you realize, more than you intended. Here are most of them:

barbados sugar

barley malt

beet sugar

brown sugar

buttered syrup

cane-juice crystals

cane sugar


carob syrup

castor sugar


confectioners sugar

corn sweetener

corn syrup

corn syrup solids

date sugar

dehydrated fruit juice

demerara sugar




diastatic malt

ethyl maltol

evaporated cane juice

free flowing brown sugar


fruit fructose

fruit juice

fruit juice concentrate

fruit juice crystals



glucose-fructose syrup

glucose solids

golden sugar

golden syrup

granulated sugar

grape sugar

high-fructose corn syrup


icing sugar


invert sugar



malt syrup



maple syrup





powdered sugar

raw sugar

refiner’s syrup

rice syrup


sorghum syrup



sugar cane crystals


turbinado sugar

yellow sugar.

You may know that anything ending in “-ose” is a sugar – sucrose, fructose, lactose. But are you aware that alcohol is a sugar? Anything ending in “-ol” like xylitol, manitol, sorbitol, is also a sugar. Each time you have a glass of wine or a shot of liquor you’re ingesting a sugar. Every time you chew gum made with xylitol, you’re ingesting sugar.

Until very recently in human evolution, our adrenal glands were engaged to respond to emergency situations when we needed to raise glucose levels. The emergency always called for increasing blood sugar. Never before in the history of humnakind have we ever had an emergency need to lower blood sugar. That’s the state we’re in now. Every day we have an emergency need to decrease our glucose levels.

So what’s the easiest way to avoid high-sugar, high-carb foods? Buy whole, unprocessed food, and food with only a few ingredients that you can identify. Sound familiar? See tip #1 – be a holistic shopper! You can’t go wrong if you let nature produce your food.

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About Susan Blasko

Susan Blasko is the DC area and Northern Virginia marketing representative for Polyface. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication at the University of Pittsburgh, and completed the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program at Georgetown University. She discovered real food when her good friend gave her a copy of Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions”. She went “cold turkey”, and hasn’t purchased food in a supermarket since 2008. Susan considers farmers to be her closest allies in procuring produce grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and meats from animals raised the way nature intended – on the pasture, and in the sun. Now a Board Certified Nutritional Therapist, Susan maintains a small private practice, helping her clients to reclaim their well being by guiding them in their quest for safe, nutrient dense, sustainably raised foods. She teaches food preparation techniques that increase nutrient bioavailability and enhance nature’s best flavors. She believes that by forming relationships with life-giving processes, we become better stewards of our bodies and of our planet. She encourages partnering with nature to honor and nurture the mysterious property that makes food alive and gives us life!

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