High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is an inexpensive sweetener that is a blend of glucose and fructose. It is found in many foods, and is on Naturally Savvy's Scary SevenTM list. (In fact, it is in the number one spot!) Why is it on our list? For starters, HFCS goes straight to the liver, which converts it to fat, and that increases the risk of heart disease.
There are a number of studies on HFCS, linking it to all sorts of other health problems. Consider two of those studies, one of them by Princeton University researchers who found that rats fed HFCS gained significantly more weight than rats fed table sugar, even when fed the same overall caloric intake. The researchers also found that long-term consumption of HFCS by rats led to abnormal body fat increases, and an increase in triglycerides. The other study, conducted by UCLA on rats, found that HFCS can slow the brain, and hinder memory and learning.
You may not realize that HFCS is an ingredient in many types of food products. Label reading is something we believe in and heavily promote at Naturally Savvy, and that's why we wrote three books to help you read labels. We also believe in warning you about ingredients to avoid. To help you do that, we created a list of top seven foods with hidden high fructose corn syrup.
Even some yogurts labeled 'natural' or 'organic' can contain HFCS as a sweetener. Forget healthy weight if you're eating yogurt with HFCS! Always read your labels.
2. Canned fruit
Why would fruit, which is naturally sweet need added sugar? But, as with yogurt, even canned fruit products labeled 'all natural' can contain HFCS.
Many applesauce brands contain added sugars, and some contain HFCS.
4. Boxed macaroni and cheese
It may come as a surprise, but HFCS is an ingredient in some major brands of macaroni and cheese products, especially those targeted at children. Be on the lookout.
5. Salad dressing
Far too many salad dressings contain HFCS and it's totally unnecessary. Not only is the addition of HFCS unwelcome, but you can make your own dressings at a fraction of the cost with fresher ingredients. Aside from HFCS, many dressings also include artificial colors, flavors and excessive amounts of sodium.
6. Cocktail nuts
Nuts (seeds, legumes, etc) are all natural, but did you know that some brands of cocktail nuts contain HFCS to make them sweeter? Roast and season your own or look for brands without HFCS.
7. Protein bars
Many protein bars contain HFCS, and it can be hard to find ones that don't contain HFCS. This is really misleading because so many protein bars imply a boost of energy. But when you're eating HFCS, an energy crash is in your near future.