13 Ingredients To Spot That Can Make A Food Less Healthy, According To Nutritionists

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When shopping for food, it's easy to get confused when almost every label is filled with a buzzword like "all-natural" or "gluten-free." To help decipher which foods are actually good for you and which just have clever advertisements, you'll want to know the specific ingredients to spot that automatically make a food unhealthy. Reading ingredient lists are one of the most important ways to figure out the quality of a food, and even if you're not a nutritional expert, knowing which are major red flags can help you make better decisions when you go grocery shopping.

"I like to tell my clients that the front of the package is similar to reading the back of the book — it gives you an idea but doesn't tell you the whole story," says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, LDN over email. "To understand the nutrients in a product, one must understand how to read the (back) nutrition label and ingredients list. The front of the package is just a way for marketers to try to sell their product."

Next time you're debating whether or not to buy an item at the store, pay attention to these 13 ingredients that automatically make a food unhealthy.