Those who pay attention to what they eat may have noticed high fructose corn syrup creeping into an alarming number of foods in the supermarket aisle. Corn subsidies and other trends have pushed this relatively unhealthy substance into many of the general "food groups" that we shop for on a regular basis. Here are some of the popular food and drink items that contain high fructose corn syrup, an element with a lot of sugar that has been known to contribute to diabetes and other conditions when eaten in excess.
1. Soft Drinks
It's no surprise to most of us that soda is chock full of high fructose corn syrup. To those who aren't used to the drink, the stuff can be almost sickeningly sweet. Even diet varieties can have a large amount of this sweetener. Add the fact that soda machines can be found on the street corner, in the lobbies of buildings, and in almost any public space, and it's easy to see why obesity and sugar-related conditions are such a problem in today's world.
2. Sauces and Salad Dressings
Some of us don't think about the amount of sweetener in items like barbecue sauce, steak sauce, salad dressing and other condiments, but on a closer look, it seems that even the flavor for our salads is often provided by high fructose corn syrup.
In addition to a surprisingly high amount of sodium in many bread and pastry products, there can also be a lot of high fructose corn syrup, especially if the items are processed and distributed nationally. Read the label on bread and pastries to see if relatively natural options are available.
4. Fruits and Vegetables
Although this is a more rare phenomenon, high fructose corn syrup has even crept into those categories that we see as most healthy. The prime candidates for HFCS in fruits and vegetables are baked beans and pickles, but other prepared foods can include the sweetener as well, so check the label if fruits and vegetables are packaged in liquid.
5. Breakfast Cereals and Bars
Consumers who are careful may be starting their day out with a hefty dose of high fructose corn syrup. It might not be surprising that the sweetest cereals contain HFCS, but even those that don't seem sweet to the tongue can still have this substance included in the ingredient list.
6. Processed Snacks
There are other items that the average consumer wouldn't think of as HFCS candidates. Look at the labels for things like breaded meats or processed potato items, and make sure that the sweetener is not lurking somewhere on the label.
The above are all good examples of how a mass-produced and subsidized food element that many see as unhealthy is making its way into the average diet unannounced. Take a good look at all ingredient labels to get more informed about how HFCS is commonly used these days, and make comparisons of local or organic products. New healthier choices can give consumers more control of what they eat and how their bodies respond to their daily diet.