There are growing concerns with high fructose corn syrup, yet it is still a major sweetener in lots of the products in stores today because it's cheap. There are conflicting opinions….some say it's perfectly fine, some research suggests that it is a major contributor to obesity and many diseases. (You can google this…I'm not here to list all of the possible health risks that come with it.) High fructose corn syrup is made by changing the dextrose sugar to fructose sugar, thus making it sweeter, but modified and with that, added health risks. Some argue that corn syrup itself is not good for you. Then throw in that whole GMO thing, and you'll see that most corn syrup is probably made from GMO corn. So what do you do? Baby steps.
Last year, I started my journey to little changes first by cutting out the high fructose corn syrup. I know that shopping can be stressful, especially when you have kids with you (or a husband, which to me, is more stressful and he knows it. Add in all the wonderful coupons that make your products close to free and it's tempting to just grab and grab without reading the labels. But, for the health of my family, I stopped to actually look at labels and I was really surprised with what I found. But, like I said, just start small. Look to see if the products you have contain HFCS.
The easiest solution to this problem is shopping at Whole Foods, as they have vowed to not sell products with HFCS. BUT, if you're like me and the closest Whole Foods is 45 minutes away, that's not really feasible. So, label reading it is. Without naming names, here are some popular products that do contain HFCS: soda, bottled iced tea (even green tea,) ketchup, pancake syrup, fast food, bread products (I thought that getting "100% whole wheat" bread was the best I could do, but um….they throw in high fructose corn syrup and make it junk!) Carrying on…. some cereals contain HFCS, grape jelly, ice cream, candy, and here was the huge kicker for me: applesauce. Unless you carefully examine the label, you cannot know if your applesauce has HFCS. I went on a search for HFCS free cinnamon applesauce a few months ago and I could NOT find any, until I found an organic brand at my HEB.
So how can you avoid HFCS? Well, the simplest way, like I said, would be to shop at Whole Foods or buy all 100% organic. A friend recently informed that if it just says "organic," even if it has that cute little seal of approval, unless it says 100% organic, it can contain up to 5% non-organic products, thus HFCS can sneak in. Sad, sad.
Here are a few products that I've found that clearly state on the label: "contains no high fructose corn syrup" OR I have substituted for my old favorites: (Keep in mind that these are not necessarily healthier, organic, and possibly contain regular corn syrup, but like I said…baby steps…)
Pure maple syrup is best, but Log Cabin has listened to consumers and taken the HFCS out of their syrup:
Welch's makes a natural grape jelly, with no HFCS:
I was quite bummed the other day when looking for HFCS free barbecue sauce. I have a recipe that my brother shared with me that is absolutely delicious, but I wanted to keep some in the pantry for a quick meal. So far, I've found ONE brand that promises to never use HFCS or any corn syrup, period, in their products and that is Weber:
If you're looking for HFCS soda options, there are actually quite a few. You can make your soda at home with SodaStream or purchase sodas like Zevia (now available at Target) which is sweetened with Stevia or go the pure cane sugar route, which you can find many versions of. Of course, then there's the added concern of colorings and preservatives, but like I've said many times, it all begins with baby steps! Good luck!
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