Thursday, January 14, 2010

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

For about 5 years I have been avoided buying food that is made with high-fructose corn syrup. In the beginning, this was very difficult. It was in everything! I slowly got rid of the fruit snacks (except for at church and car trips :) and I even gave up my favorite cold cereal, Frosted Mini Wheats. :( Now it is so much easier to find food without HFCS in them. If you give up a favorite food, check on it every 6 months or so. Eggo waffles used to have it in them, and now they have the whole grain ones without the HFCS. I haven't bought Yoplait yogurt for years because they have HFCS, but Dannon yogurt does not have it. I found that I really like the taste of Dannon's yogurt better. It reminds me of the yogurt in Europe.

So now the big question is, why is HFCS so bad for you? Well, I am going to quote Dr. Oz, because I really liked his explanation the best. "High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a type of sugar that has been processed and combined with corn syrup to produce a cheap, easily dissolvable sweetener. But this sugar is quickly absorbed by the liver where it is converted into fat. Since your brain doesn't recognize HFCS as regular food, it never shuts off the appetite center -- so you keep eating. Blood sugar levels rise, massive amounts of insulin is recruited to metabolize it and then you crash and feel hungry again. It is found in soft drinks, fruit juices, salad dressings and baked goods. Read the food labels of products in your pantry and refrigerator and throw out all products that contain HFCS."

Another reason that it is so common in our food supply is because we have so much corn in this country. We have genetically mastered corn to give us a lot for only a little bit, plus, the government pays corn farmers to farm corn (I am not really sure why). We can sell the corn in the US for cheaper than they can sell it in Mexico. Mexico buys it from us. This is all according to the movie Food Inc. Click here to see the trailer.

The graph below shows that HFCS may have something to do with obesity in America.

You would avoid HFCS simply by eating whole foods (fresh fruits and veggetables, milk, cheese, meat, potatoes, quinoa, rice, beans and so on). Most processed foods have HFCS in them. Just read the label to see if your foods have it in there. Be sure to check your bread, cold cereal, ketchup, and salad dressings. If it is an organic food, then it won't have it in there (at least I have never seen this).

Here are a few of my favorite foods that are free of HFCS.

Bush's Baked beans. These are high in sugar, but they are free of HFCS and are full of fiber and protein.

Pacific organic roasted red pepper and tomato soup. Check the tomato soup in your pantry right now. Does it have HFCS in it?

Kashi's TLC (Tasty Little Chewies) Cherry Dark Chocolate Granola Bars. Everyone in my family loves these granola bars. If you have Quaker granola bars in your pantry right now, check it out; there is HFCS in those too! Be warned now, I have tried many of the other Kashi granola bar flavors, and the Cherry Chocolate one is still the only one we like. Also, they can be pricey, so buy them when they are on sale. This happens quit a bit.

Hope this helps you in your quest for you and your kids to be healthier, and happier.

What are some of your favorite alternative brands to those that have HFCS?


  1. I just discovered your blog and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I do have a great suggestion for an alternative fruit snack with no HFCS in it. You get it at Costco- Sunrype brand All Natural fruitsource Mini Bites. They are 100% fruit and absolutely delicious. My kids love them.

  2. Good tip on the granola bars - they sound yummy. I've yet to find any I like so I just travel around (on busy no meal days) with a baggie of nuts, dried fruit and some bits of chocolate in a baggie in my purse.

  3. Hey Lisa -- I asked for this and never saw it! Thanks for posting. The only step we've taken away from HFCS is maple syrup. We usually buy real maple syrup anyway, but have started substituting that with agave nectar. Still has very high carbs, but I guess the difference is mainly a glycemic index thing. We really like it (I'm sure you've tried it). I have one recipe that I can't let die (caramel popcorn, only every now and then) that calls for corn syrup, and I'm anxious to substitute agave in the recipe...