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Dr. Oz: Avoid processed food for weight loss; Dr. Lustig talks toxic sugar

Get diet tips for your next shopping expedition.
Get diet tips for your next shopping expedition.
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

What's on your grocery store list? Before you head out, you might want to heed the food shopping weight loss tips featured by Dr. Mehmet Oz on his August 19 talk show. Find out how corporations trick you into buying fattening foods with their diet dupes.

Investigative journalist Michael Moss, author of "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us," talked with Dr. Oz about his discoveries when he explored what goes into processed foods. The statistics are shocking: On average, Americans eat 33 pounds of cheese and 70 pounds of sugar annually.

Food corporations devote their time and your money to exploring how to achieve the most addictive flavors and sensations as they create foods such as double-stuffed Oreo cookies. Moss warns that companies seek new ways to lure you to buy foods, from shopping labels to product placement.

Grocery stores design their aisles and environment to lure you to see the products that provide them with the most profit. From sugary cereals at the eye level of toddlers to scents from the bakery that waft through the entire store, supermarkets control our selection carefully.

What can you do? Shop when you're full, which makes you less tempted to fall into the trap of impulse shopping. Make a detailed list to follow.

In addition, be aware of tricks that stores use. For example, the milk section typically is at the back of the store. This placement forces you to walk down aisles full of cookies and crackers, tempting you.

But is sugar really that bad? Yes, says Dr. Robert Lustig, author of "Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease." He views sugar as "a poison by itself," reported Forbes on August 18.

Famed for his obesity battle, Dr. Lustig has become one of the pioneers in proclaiming sugar to be toxic. "It’s not about the calories. It has nothing to do with the calories," he emphasizes in discussing the dangers of sugar and its link to obesity and diabetes.

And Dr. Lustig agrees with Michael Moss that the way manufacturers hide sugar in our food is shameful. Labels can use terms such as corn sweeteners in place of sugar. "In a sense, sugar is the number one food additive," warns Moss.

So when you shop, should you look for products with artificial sweeteners instead? Wrong, says Dr. Mehmet Oz, citing new research showing that diet sodas and other products with fake sugar also cause obesity.

As for natural options such as agave syrup, Dr. Oz and Dr. Andrew Weil both have changed their views from thumbs up to thumbs down. The problem with agave and substances such as molasses: The effect on your body is still the same.

While all calories are not created equal (100 calories of grass-fed beef, for example, wins for weight loss and health over a 100-pack of processed chocolate chip cookies), sugar is sugar. And Dr. Oz, Dr. Weil and Dr. Lustig agree: Our nation's addiction to sugar is risking our health.