Ten (more) surprising places you’ll find HFCS

Posted by
June 20, 2013

Although high fructose corn syrup turns up in an amazing array of foods and beverages, some are still a surprise. What, for example, is this test tube sweetener doing in bagels, stuffing and whole grain crackers? (Being used as a preservative, perhaps?)

To eliminate all HFCS from your diet, you really need to constantly be reading ingredient labels and rejecting any and all products that contain it.

Why you should avoid it…

  • HFCS and high fructose consumption have been implicated by researchers in a variety of diseases and health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and weight gain.
  • The actual fructose percentage of HFCS is variable and unknown (which is why Citizens for Health has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to require that the true fructose content of HFCS formulas be disclosed on food labels).
  • Contrary to industry propaganda, HFCS isn’t “corn sugar” or a “natural” ingredient, but a laboratory-created concoction that’s much cheaper than real sugar.
  • Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles in 2012 showed that a diet high in fructose slows the functioning of the brain, hampering memory and learning – and that omega-3 fatty acids may counteract the disruption.

…and some (more) of the unexpected products in which it turns up:

Lender’s Bagels
Although the package copy says that Lender’s uses a “family recipe” that goes back 75 years, we really don’t think the Lender family was using HFCS in the 1930s – decades before it was invented.

Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza
While the copy on the box advises that serving this with a salad will make for a “wholesome meal,” one can’t help wondering how “wholesome” a meal is that includes not only HFCS, but two forms of artery-clogging partially hydrogenated oil.

Stouffer’s Signature Classics stuffed pepper
It’s easy to be fooled into thinking this is a healthy product, given that the front of the package says it has “no preservatives” and the back notes that it’s  “Good to Remember” “that “Stouffer’s is supported by the Nestle Research Center, one of the world’s leading centers for nutrition, health and wellness.” But when you discover that the ingredients include both HFCS and various sources of free glutamic acid, which can he hazardous to brain health, it may cause you to think twice.

Wheatables Toasted Honey Wheat Crackers
This seemingly healthy “stone-ground” snack item actually contains more HFCS than honey (according to the order in which these ingredients are listed), but it probably wouldn’t sell as much if they were called “toasted high fructose corn syrup” crackers, now would they?

Pepperidge Farm One Step Stuffing Mix
“Imagine the tempting smells of a country kitchen, savory garden herbs, succulent roasts, the aroma of baking bread,” reads the hype on the package. But the product inside seems much less homey and appealing when you find that it contains both HFCS and at least two sources of free glutamic acid, as well as the suspect preservative TBHQ.

Hershey’s Syrup Special Dark
While dark chocolate is considered a true health food, high in flavonols, with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, you might be a bit surprised – shocked, even – to learn that the number-one ingredient  in this syrup’s “special dark” formula is none other than HFCS, followed by corn syrup and water.

Nabisco Newtons 100% Whole Grain Fruit Cookies
What, you might ask, could be wrong with a cookie made from whole grains and “real fruit” that’s also a “good source of fiber”? Well, how about some decidedly unnatural HFCS that Nabisco chose to add to the recipe, along with artery-clogging partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil and the artificial flavor vanillin? (And since when, we couldn’t help wondering, did the company start finding it necessary to bake its cookies down Mexico way?)

Hunt’s Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce
HFCS is listed as the second ingredient in this all-American sandwich bun filler right after the reconstituted tomato paste (referred to on the ingredient label as tomato puree).

Heinz Original Cocktail Sauce
The claim that this condiment is made from “the highest quality ingredients” is made less credible by the fact that the third ingredient is HFCS, which is used mainly to sweeten food products on the cheap.

Jack Daniel’s Marinade in a bag (Honey Teriyaki)
While this whiskey-flavored seasoning, also made by Heinz, might be called “honey teriyaki liquid marinade” on the front of the package, a quick glance at the side panel reveals that it has the dubious distinction of having HFCS as its number-one ingredient. And that’s not to mention the two preservatives and hydrolyzed soy protein – a form of free glutamic acid – further on. (There is, however, some honey in there somewhere.)

On the positive side, we’re starting to see an increasing number of products that say, “No high fructose corn syrup” rather prominently on their labels – an indication that some food manufacturers are starting tor respond to the widespread public rejection of this unhealthy and unnatural sweetening agent. But obviously, we still have a ways to go in the struggle to get high fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy additives out of so many of the items that constitute a large part of the American diet – including those that are represented as being “good for us.”