When one of my best friends developed an allergy to genetically engineered corn, I became much more aware of how sweeteners including High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) can hide in everyday foods. I started looking at labels when I was planning to entertain her, and boy did I get a shock! HFCS is everywhere!
So I’m starting a blog series on what’s In Your Food. I’m not going to argue about whether HFCS is eeeeevil or not. I’m simply going to point out some places it hides where you might not have expected to find it, and suggest alternatives.
OK, this first place isn’t that much a surprise. One of my earliest discoveries on this adventure, when I wanted a sundae, was that my favorite chocolate syrup is full of HFCS.
Notice that corn syrup is not only the first ingredient, it’s also the second. Double dose. And then sugar farther down the list. Well, it’s a syrup, it’s gonna be sugary.
I’ve stopped eating so many chocolate sundaes, which is probably a good thing, but it’s sad. There are some corn-free syrup choices, though.I haven’t tried this one, but I found it in my local grocery store.
A health-food store might have more options. Or you can melt chocolate chips (make sure they’re HFCS-free) in the microwave for homemade sauce.
Many ice creams also contain HFCS. Happily for me, my favorite brand, Häagen-Dazs, does not! It’s sweetened with good ol’ cane sugar. Or so I thought! Recently I discovered that some flavors do include HFCS. The classic vanilla is corn-free, as is the strawberry, but the sorbet I looked at was not. Very disappointing. So read the label, folks.
The ingredients can be hard to find on Häagen-Dazs packages.The list for vanilla is up at the top close to the lid (shown at the bottom in this picture).
One good option if you don’t want to hunt for the ingredients panel is the Häagen-Dazs “5” series – each with only five ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and the flavor.
To top off my sundae, I needed whipped cream. I love home-made, but if I’m feeling lazy I’ll fall back on a can. Guess what…most are sweetened with HFCS.
A store brand, Kroger, came to my rescue with whipped cream sweetened with cane sugar. Whew!
The moral of this story is: always read the label. ALWAYS read the label! You’ll often be surprised what you find.