Wednesday, September 23, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup

There has been a lot of information in the past few years on the evils of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and it's contribution to childhood obesity. And you would not believe how many products list HFCS as an ingredient: breads, crackers, cereals, juices, yogurts, even pickles and ketchup! The biggest culprits seem to be the processed snack foods that make your life easier when packing school lunches or throwing something in your purse or diaper bag. Ah, the irony.

DO NOT DESPAIR, I've done some legwork for you and have found some substitute products that are still "convenience foods" but contain no HFCS.

As a general note, products labeled ORGANIC do not contain HFCS. If you have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's near you, you'll hit the jackpot with HFCS-free products galore, especially snacks and cereals. Not all of their goods are HFCS free, but most are. Products labeled "natural" are often big, fat hairy liars. Check the labels and you may find HFCS. Wah, wah...

Thomas' English muffins have taken out the HCFS in their products. Check out Arnold Sandwich Thins (our family favorite) and any organic bread. Try Costco's Kirkland Organic bread. It still has the squishy-ness of fructose laden breads so you don't even notice the difference!

Check the labels. Many cereals have it but many don't!

Who doesn't love Ritz crackers? But yes, they contain HFCS. Alternative brands: Late July Organic brand has the same buttery Ritz flavor without the chemicals. The good news-Cheez-its, Triscuits and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish do not contain HFCS. Also Annie's Naturals line of sweet and savory crackers are HFCS free.

Mott's makes a Natural line as well as Musselman's "Totally Fruit" line of applesauces. Canned fruit-check the label. The "light" versions usually don't contain HFCS while the ones packed in heavy syrup do.

Crunchy, salty snacks:
Regular pretzels or Pretzel Thins, Stacy's Pita Chips, Pirate's Booty, potato chips, popcorn are all HFCS free.

Granola/Breakfast bars:
Try Quaker's Simple Harvest line or Nature Valley granola bars. Trader Joe's makes the softer breakfast bars that are also good. Our whole family is addicted to the Clif Kid Organic Z bars.

Instead of Dannon or Yoplait, try Stonyfield Farms yogurt Smoothies or Horizon Organic yogurt Tuberz.

Eggo and Aunt Jemima products contain HFCS. Van's Belgian Waffles do not. Alternatively, make a big weekend batch of pancakes from scratch and put them in the freezer. Use them the same way you would the store-bought frozen kind, just microwave for 30-40 seconds! Buy real 100% maple syrup to avoid HFCS.

Smuckers and Welch's why must you torment me so? Chock full of HFCS. Any jam or jelly labeled 100% fruit is good, i.e. Polaner All-Fruit. The "boutique" brands of jams & preserves are HFCS free too: Stonewall Kitchens, Bonne Maman.

Take a look in your fridge and pantry and see what is full of HFCS that you can live without or substitute. There are more and more alternatives every day that could make a difference in your diet and the future health of your family.

P.S. I won't hate on you if you keep a few. I confess, I'm still doing the walk of shame with my French Vanilla coffee creamer and my Heinz ketchup. A girl's got to have a few vices.

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