These days shopping at the grocery store can be a huge pain. We're trying to eat healthily and feed our kids the best possible foods, but with all the marketing and advertising for some products, it's hard to know where to start and what aisles we should be shopping in. If you've ever been confused by ingredient labels and want to know how to navigate supermarkets like a health professional, this article is meant for you.

There are a number of products out there that advertise illegitimate health benefits, but for starters here are ingredients that should make you AVOID a product by all means.

Products that use the words "enriched" or "fortified." This basically means that they stripped the ingredients of any nutritional value and tried to force it back in with artificially produced versions that your body will not be able to absorb.

Partially or fully hydrogenated oils. These are TRANS FATS. YES, there are those ugly words that the whole world knows to avoid. But guess what? A package can still be labeled "zero trans fats" EVEN if it includes hydrogenated oils. So read the package!

Refined sugars heighten your risk of obesity, type II diabetes, and tooth decay. Toss anything in your pantry that contains refined sugar (if it just says "sugar," chances are it's refined) and instead start tossing some wholesome snacks into your shopping cart. These snacks should have ingredients such as agave nectar, brown rice syrup, molasses, organic sugar, cane juice, raw sugar, and honey.

Words you can't pronounce. If you can't pronounce it, there's a good chance it's not natural and that it's going to harm your body. Put the box back on the shelf and keep searching.

Preservatives like EDTA, TBHQ, sulfur dioxide, or potassium sorbate. These are usually followed with a set of parentheses that say "added to preserve freshness." That freshness isn't nearly the same as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and comes at a cost. A lot of these preservatives are known carcinogens. That means they can cause cancer. Scary stuff.

The answer to avoiding all of these ingredients is simple. As a starting point you can maintain a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. It also helps to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, as the foods with preservatives tend to lurk in the aisles.

Here's to your health and happy shopping!

Author's Bio: 

Shannon Lagasse, The Young and Fresh Health Coach, teaches women who are struggling to lose weight how to drop the pounds easily and enjoyably by empowering them to find freedom from restrictive dieting, deprivation, rigorous exercise regimes, and beliefs about food that are holding them back from having their ideal body. To schedule your F.R.E.E. Breakthrough to BodyLove Session and to receive her inspirational weekly health & wellness articles on natural ways to get the body and life you want, visit