Thursday, July 22, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup Inventory

When I took a nutrition class at BYU about 6 years ago, I learned that most "wheat bread" is really not made with wheat flour; it's enriched white flour, with carmel coloring added to make it look darker. It didn't really have a whole lot of nutritional value. At that point in time, I resolved to only purchase bread which listed as the first ingredient "whole wheat flour." I have done this very successfully. I have been a careful consumer, and although we have paid more per loaf of bread, the result is more than just peace of mind. True whole wheat bread has better fiber and protein content. We are a very fiber-conscious household, and if we can get more than 4 grams of fiber per slice/serving of bread, bagel, tortilla, or pasta we feel like we've found the nutrition jackpot--this usually means anything that is designated as "whole wheat" or "whole grain."

Well, it's time to find a new loaf of bread again.

I have recently resolved to eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup from my diet. It is an unneccessary sweetener in so many of our regular groceries, it almost makes me sick. If we consumers change the way we shop, the food industry will hear us. That is how we can make a change.

Take for example rbST. If you look on your milk carton, I guarantee you that it says "Made from cows not treated with the artificial growth hormone rBST." Ask my brother, and he'll tell you that artificial growth hormones as a principle are not bad, but the point is that consumers changed the industry overnight. When a large body of consumers changes the way it shops, the industry changes in response.

So with that said, I am changing the way I shop, and we are changing the way we eat. I've been the primary grocery-shopper for my household for 7 1/2 years (and for the last year and a half, I have also been a paid grocery shopper by trade), and I have come to rely on some favorite brands. Here is a list of all of our favorite, regular foods in my house that I now intend to replace with their non-HFCS sweetened couterparts. Well it is all about to change. And this is going to be painful.
  • Sara Lee Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread
  • Yoplait Yogurt
  • Smucker's Strawberry Jam
  • Sweet Baby Ray's Barbeque Sauce
  • Kraft Barbeque Sauce (all varieties)
  • Heinz Worchestershire Sauce
  • Hunt's Ketchup
  • Wishbone Italian Salad Dressing
  • Slim-Fast
  • Mountain Dew (and all other sodas)
  • Keebler Fudge-Stripe Cookies
  • Mr. Yoshida's Original Gourmet Sauce
  • Keebler Club Crackers
  • Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies
  • Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
  • Applesauce, most brads (unless it says "All Natural")
  • Frosted Flakes Cereal
This list only represents the things I currently have in my house and intend to replace as soon as present stores are depleted. Few of our suspected-guilty favorites made the HFCS-free cut, including Cheerios, Peanut Butter, Bulls Eye Barbeque Sauce, Life Cereal, Quaker High-Fiber Oatmeal, Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce, Hunt's Tomato Sauce, Campbell's canned soups, etc.

While it might be hard to enjoy foods sweetened naturally instead of with HFCS, it is all a matter of conditioning. If you are conditioned to the taste of super-sweet applesauce, naturally sweetened applesauce will be hard to adjust to (hard to "swallow" if you will). That's why we're switching. I don't want to be accustomed to unnaturally sweetened products anymore. I want my children to appreciate the tast of applesauce for what it is: apples.

Once we've conquered HFCS, our next battle might be switching to free-range chicken, or grass-fed cows, but I can't wrap my brain around them all at once.

Here are some resources (from both sides of the debate) to educate yourself before you jump down my throat. I don't like debating, I just know what irks me, and HFCS irks me.

The movie that started it all: Food, Inc.;
A list of HFCS-free foods:

I welcome your input on your favorite HFCS-free brands.


Tracie said...

this is why shopping is such a chore! Between trying to be money conscious and health conscious I need a nap after shopping... I stumbled on your blog and it's funny! I have a 4yo, 3yo, and 1yo. We are currently trying to cut out hfcs too. We only eat the natural applesauce. We eat plain yogurt (which was hardest for me to switch to, not the kids) and I put in different frozen or fresh fruits, or you could even use baby food, to make it different flavors. Or sometimes they like it plain with a little honey. I've had a hard time finding a bread that meets health requirements that my kids will readily eat. We cut out trans fat a long time ago too. It's a small sacrifice for giving kids a good nutrition base and teaching healthy habits though. Good Luck!

Thom and Jamie Stansfield said...

grandma sycamores is our favorite bread. its' even vegan which my parents are. you can get it at costco but only in utah. we eat the 100% wheat and the first ingredient is indeed whole wheat flour. good luck Jenny! I know you will accomplish your goal.

Joshua said...

Well done, I commend you guys. And as for Food Inc., what a wakeup call. Good flick. I truly haven't looked at my food the same way since I first saw it. Will you be posting what you purchase in place of your current list items? Sarah makes our applesauce and jams, and most recently the best bread, no, really—the BEST. Perfect replacement for sandwhich bread. Best part is that it's super simple, super easy, and super fast to make. Email her, I'm sure she'll share the recipe.

Rebecca said...

Woo hoo! Way to go, Jen! I'm all the way behind you (begin long comment with brand names as you requested.)

Ryan's been telling me that about "wheat bread" for a long time. He also has been arguing that whole wheat is any better -- the extra fiber just means it does a number on your digestive system because you have to break down the kernels in your body. I don't know anything, but I have a book all about wheat I need to read. I don't like wheat bread any way (he does) so I rarely buy it.

I don't buy cookies so my list will be much shorter than yours! I'll have to go check my ingredient lists. I just went and checked and my bread does NOT have HFCS. I get Brownberry, normally the butter split top for $1.69 a loaf but on rare special ocassion I get the Brownberry Oatnut which Ryan loves (it's about twice that). As you say, it's more expensive but I personally can't stomach the Sara Lee and hearing that it has HFCS makes me kind of glad I never could...he he. When I was in college I ate the almost stale 25 cent a loaf generic bread. I can't imagine how much icky stuff those have in them. I also ate far more sandwiches then.

I like Dannon Light and Fit for yogurt. Slightly cheaper than Yoplait and I can't stand yoplait (I think it is the HFCS because the sweetness gives me a tummy ache literally). But Dannon has Splenda. The canned fruit has splenda too. I got DeMonte "Sugar Free" on sale today, but I think generic is the same. Why do these need to be sweetened at all? It's fruit, for pete's sake. I have Australia to thank for noticing these things, since they don't even sell "Corn Syrup" in any form and I went to make a Pecan pie using mom's recipe which is about half corn syrup. Um, yeah. Try something else (like honey or maple syrup and it's actually *better.* (Sorry mom.)

I am not sure I'll eliminate ketchup, though. I mean, it's not like I'm trying to be healthy when I have hamburgers. And that's the only time I eat it. And we only have worchestershire sauce by the drop in our soups, so not too worried there. Are the other brands HFCS free? There must be some. I will keep it in mind.

Did those cereals NOT make the cut (i.e., have HFCS) or they did pass? It seems unclear to me from your sentence. Or maybe I'm dumb right now.

Off to cook a HFCS free meal (with HFCS-free homemade bread about to come out of the breadmaker!!)

Tracie said...

hunts makes hfcs free ketchup, but only in smaller bottles so far. That's what we use. Also just discovered that frosted shredded wheat has hfcs, but the walmart brand did not. And for jam we use the smuckers 1/2 sugar kind (no artificial sweetners and no hfcs). Found out that Healthly Life bread has no hfcs syrup today while at the store. Good thing we like that kind!

david and michal said...

love the goal! i recently found an orange sauce at costco that has no msg or hfcs--it's the panda express orange sauce. yes, the first ingredient is sugar (grumble), but at least not hfcs. good luck! what a great plan!

Petersen Palace said...

you go girl! I loved Food Inc. and I have been going without hfcs for a while and I am have found that it's not all that difficult. Looking forward to reading the links!

Unknown said...

Chef Hymie Grande' ( ) is the first and only bottled BBQ sauce to carry the seal of the American Diabetes Association on the label. It has no high fructose corn syrup, no processed sugar, it is all natural and vegan friendly. It is produced by Jamie Failtelson, a.k.a. Chef Hymie Grande' of Carlstadt, NJ. 5% of proceeds go to the American Diabetes Association. Chef Hymie Grande' is also the first bottle to have a hologram label.

Unknown said...

If you haven't read the book, "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan, you really need to. Major eye opener. I, too, have committed to cutting back on HFCS, and also soy. Since cutting back on soy, my migraines have diminished quite a lot.

Ellen Sorenson said...

Thanks for the tip. I just came back from the store, where I paid an extra 50 cents a loaf to pass up the Sara Lee bread and buy Brownberry instead. I'm really getting into healthful eating since I joined Weight Watchers. It took me 6 months to lose 25 pounds, but I've been full and satisfied and I've maintained the loss for 6 more months by eating right.

Catherine said...

I definitely agree with you. there are lots of foods that are addictive. The bad thing is, most of them has fructose on it. I really enjoy leaving with a healthy life that's why i always ensure that my family eat organic foods.