#12 – Reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in my diet

It’s time.  I’ve been avoiding this one.  Deep breath.  Time to start cutting back on the high fructose corn syrup in my diet.  Well, I need to cut back on all sugars in my diet and I’m starting with this one.

High fructose corn syrup is very similar to table sugar.  They both have roughly the same amount of calories, they are both manufactured, they are both made up of fructose and glucose.  Scientists are still studying the effects of HFCS vs. table sugar but there are several things that I’ve read that lead me to believe that HFCS is not good for me.  First, there is a correlation between the introduction of HFCS into mainstream foods and our nation’s obesity problem.  Secondly, HFCS is a cheap way to get sugar into processed foods and I find that sugar is addictive.  So because it’s cheap, food manufacturers use it (a lot) and in turn, I enjoy it (a lot) and then I want to eat it (a lot).  I don’t like lack of control in anything so I’m takin’ it back.  Third, my basic understanding is that HFCS causes nicks in your arteries that weaken the walls that carry vital blood throughout my body.  I need those arteries to be strong.

The big challenge here is that it’s EVERYWHERE.  Surprising places that aren’t even sweet…bread, ketchup, salad dressing, soups.  And of course it’s in the delicious treats we’ve all become accustomed to – ice cream, candy, mass produced cookies, cakes, and soda.  Unfortunately it’s in these things in high quantities.  So it’s time to proactively cut back.

First, the easy stuff.  We don’t buy a lot of cookies and cakes, mostly because I love ’em too much.  Wait.  Let me just show you some items that I’d love to eat RIGHT NOW…

Oh Gingerbread man.  I will eat you.  And when it’s yuletide cheer time, I will eat your whole family.  Seriously, I could use a Payday right now too.  I’ve been thinkin’ about those guys often lately.  No joke.  I could eat any (and possibly all) of these right about now.

So therein lies the problem.  I love this stuff.  Even that disgusting marshmallow peep.  Tis the season.  And although I haven’t checked, I’m pretty sure all of these things have HFCS.  LIke the other items on the LIST, I just want to improve because the reality is that I’m going to want a cookie sometimes.  And I’m going to use Heinz 57 ketchup.  BUT I can make a concerted effort to keep these things out of my home and to have the willpower to resist them *most* times.  So no more store bought salad dressings, no more sweet cereals, no more Heinz 57.  This was my ketchup of choice (ya, I had a ketchup of choice) for many years.  Just like I’m no longer a Crest Kid, and it’s no longer ALWAYS Coca-Cola, times are a-changing.  Time to let it go.  This also means I’ll need to be more diligent about checking labels.  Many of the breads we buy have HFCS.  And this also means keeping those sodas to a minimum.  And it also means I have to give up my beloved Iced Peach Green Teas.  Even though we get them with less sugar or Splenda, the syrup to make it peach flavored must have HFCS.  Oh so sad.  They are such a refreshing treat.

I’m not sure how to set a goal with this, partly because I don’t know how much I actually consume.  I think I’ll start by counting the number of items I eat (that I’m aware of) containing HFCS.  It gets back to the same issue that keeps coming up.  I need to just avoid processed foods.  So let’s start with that.  For the next week, I will keep track of how often I am consuming HFCS and will set a goal to reduce it.  Oh boy.


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