With researchers making huge progress in determining what types of foods are best for the human body, consumers are making smarter decisions when they head to the grocery store. Whole grains and hormone-free dairy are gaining in popularity, but while these foods sound healthy, there's a reason that you still really need to read the ingredient labels. Manufacturers are sneaking high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)-an inexpensive sugar substitute that has been linked to higher risk of obesity and heart disease– into everything they can.
It's not surprising to read a candy bar label and see HFCS listed in the ingredients, but when you are grabbing a yogurt at lunch, you expect that you are eating something that is good for you and doesn't contain harmful ingredients. Often times this is not the case. Many yogurts, particularly those that are fruit flavored, contain this sweetener. Just as there are many yogurts that do contain it, there are also many that don't. Look for organic yogurt or carefully read the labels and you will find many delicious yogurt options that are free of HFCS.
A kitchen staple, especially for those who have children, most of the ketchup you find in your grocery store aisles contains HFCS. Check the health food aisle for brands that use other natural sweeteners.
It's hard to believe that something you can make so easily on the stovetop needs to be loaded with artificial ingredients, but if you check the label of your jarred applesauce, there's a good chance it's got HFCS. Organic versions are sometimes available, but if you have a few extra minutes, sauté some peeled, cored apples with a little bit of water and some cinnamon, and you'll have an easy applesauce that tastes better than anything you can buy in the store.
4. Jelly & Jam
Whether you love a classic nut butter and jelly sandwich or you just like to spread it on your toast in the morning, a lot of jellies and jams contain HFCS. While you won't find any that are really low in sugar, there are plenty of fruit spreads on the market that don't contain HFCS. Look for fruit preserves and always carefully read the label when purchasing jellies and jams.
That bread on which you plan to spread your jelly or jam is likely made with HFCS as well, despite its label of being whole grain or multi-grain. Since so many breads and bread products contain HFCS that the ones that don't now often have labels on them that say "No High-Fructose Corn Syrup," but be sure to carefully read the ingredient label.
6. Multi-grain Crackers
Just like bread, whole grain and multi-grain crackers very often have HFCS on the ingredient list. There are some major brands that don't include it in a select few of their products, but your best bet when buying crackers is to look for the organic ones or to carefully dissect the label.
The bottom line is that even if you are eating what you think are healthy foods or foods that aren't bad for you, manufacturers are still mixing in bad ingredients with the good ones. Don't be fooled by fancy marketing, and always read the ingredient list to make sure HFCS isn't sneaking its way into your diet.
Image via Veganbaking.net