Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dumping the High Fructose Corn Syrup

You knew it was coming, you even wanted it to happen. You just felt overwhelmed by the whole idea and had no idea where to start. With some friendly guidance and a couple of tasty replacements it won't be near as hard as you thought. First, go to your refrigerator, you could grab a half a dozen different things, but we'll start with the ketchup. Look on the ingredient label, right under tomato concentrate...ahh, you found it. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). What is high fructose corn syrup? Well, the long and short of it is, it is made by highly processing corn, adding enzymes and some other chemicals. The resulting compound is cheap, sweet and highly stable. Which makes it a seemingly perfect additive to foods to make them sweeter and increase their shelf life. And it is found in almost everything. If you don't believe me, just keep digging through that refrigerator or your kitchen cabinets.

You've heard whisperings and sometimes shouts, that it probably isn't the healthiest thing for you to be eating. For a truly eye opening and highly entertaining look on HFCS, watch the movie King Corn. Just this week, plastered all over the news is the fact that there is even mercury in a large quantity of the syrup, all to the knowledge of the FDA. Isn't it time to clear those shelves of all the high fructose corn syrup.

It will take a little diligence and a little label reading, but it won't be as hard as you think. First of all, most all sugared drinks contain HFCS and usually in large amounts, this includes sodas, sports drinks and "fruit" drinks. I could suggest diet drinks but then you have the nefarious aspartame to deal with. So, lets find some alternatives. The most obvious is good old water. Tea and 100% fruit juices are also good substitutes.

A lot of your condiments contain it also. As mentioned before, ketchup has it as it's second ingredient. A couple of different options are the Heinz Organic Ketchup, Muir Glen ketchup and Annie's. Barbecue sauce, most salad dressings and Miracle Whip, also all contain HFCS. We really like the T. Marzetti's, Ott's, and Newman's Own brands for salad dressings.

Now, to your cupboards. You don't have to look hard here. Almost all jellies have it in there. At the store look for jellies that are 100% fruit, the Polaner's brand is a good example. If you buy things like Spaghetti O's or canned soups, it's in a lot of the highly processed canned foods. Trying to get more fruit in your diet, if you're buying the canned variety that is packed in syrup, you guessed it - it's in there too. Even hot chocolate mix has it in it.

Bread is also another big culprit. Almost all breads have HFCS in it because it makes for a soft loaf of bread with a long shelf life. We buy the Orowheat brand, Rudi's and Archer Farm's brands of bread.

Almost all desserts you buy will have it in it, brownies, cookies, twinkies, ice cream, etc. My best suggestion to you on these items is to avoid them all together. Make your own, find a couple of good cake or cookie recipes and leave the boxed desserts at the store where they belong.

This is a good list to get you started. However, it is not all inclusive. A more exhaustive list can be found here. By taking High Fructose Corn Syrup out of your diet, I can almost guarantee that you will feel better because you will be eating in a healthier way. You will also feel better because you have also taken a potentially harmful substance out of your diet. It will take a lot of label reading to start with. Until you get used to it and find the varieties of foods that you enjoy. It will also probably put you in the kitchen cooking more often. Make this a fun family time. Dumping the High Fructose Corn Syrup is nothing but a win/win situation.

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