Stupid High Fructose Corn Syrup

How’s that title for a bad attitude?  🙂  A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to watch what I ate for a few weeks and figure out what my goal should be for reducing the amount of high fructose corn syrup in my diet.  Well it seems that I’ve been “treating” (well really, it’s more like punishing) myself a lot these last few weeks.  I’ve had Yogurtland a few times and while the yogurt is probably not THAT bad for me, the toppings I choose to put on top of my yogurt are.  They have included Kit-Kats, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Mother’s circus cookies, and Pebbles cereal.  I’m trying to change it to almonds on top of sugar free chocolate yogurt instead.  Sigh.  I’ve also been drinking iced tea a couple days a week and this week I actually bought a Cactus Cooler but probably drank about 6 ounces.  Those have been the main sources of HFCS for me.  At home, I realized that we don’t have a lot of ingredients containing it.  It’s mostly when we eat out or I get a processed treat of some sort.

We buy ketchup that doesn’t have any, we usually make our own salad dressings, we don’t buy Chips Ahoy or Oreos or anything like that…Oh wait.  I’ve been buying Karina some biscuits…let me check the package on that.  It’s a Gerber product so I don’t have a lot of hope…Yep, it’s in there.  At least it’s more than half way down the ingredients list, I guess.  Ugh.  And while we’re confessing, I probably ate as many of those biscuits as Miss K. did.  So let’s add that to the list of HFCS products I’m eating.  Argh.  There are only two left in the pack; next time I’ll buy Annie’s and check the label.

So I think what’s reasonable is to get two “treats” per week with HFCS.  That will still allow me to have an occasional sweet drink (soda or tea) and maybe one other thing.  However, if I eat ketchup that has it, that counts as my once a week treat.  This will likely encourage me to avoid ketchup.  I’ll also be more diligent about checking labels.  I’ve had a few surprises when I reminded myself I hadn’t read the label on a few products.  Like the other day – I was so disappointed when I saw that the Tom’s toothpaste I bought actually had Sodium Laurel Sulfate – ARRRRGGHHHH!!!  The whole reason I bought it was to avoid SLS but of course I was trying to keep Miss K from grabbing all the items in the beauty aisle at Sprouts instead of reading the label.  I was really disappointed in that.

Back to the subject at hand.  Ya, twice a week and no more.  You know, in general, I want to cut back on my sugar intake and this will certainly help  I do realize that I’ve cut it WAAAY back from what it used to be but there’s always room for improvement, right?

One last thing…corn advocates (WHO are those guys anyway??? Let’s call them Corny Cronies) Corny Cronies have been lobbying to change the name of HFCS (most likely because of the bad rep it has earned) to Corn Sugar.  So in case you see the ingredient, be aware of what it is.  For a while now, they’ve been spending millions to get you to think that it’s just like table sugar.  Well it is and it isn’t.  Do your homework and decide for yourself.  As with everything, my philosophy is all things in moderation.

What items do you consume that has HFCS in it that you were surprised by?

#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.