In Your Food: Sandwich part 3 – the Guts

Bread: check. Spread: check. Now for the meat.

On my way to the lunch meats department I kept getting distracted. First, by a childhood classic: Spam.

I could not for the life of me find the ingredients list on this package. I must have suffered temporary blindness, because there it is on the side (I’ve circled in red). I went to the website to get the list, which is simple and corn-free: Pork with Ham, Salt, Water, Modified Potato Starch, Sugar, Sodium Nitrite.


Next distraction: peanut butter and jelly. Can’t omit those from a discussion of sandwich guts.

I fully expected to find the peanut butter full of corn syrup, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that it isn’t.

Not bad. I like the ingredients list on this one even better.

It’s the jelly that’s the problem here. Almost all of them contain HFCS (something I was sad to learn last holiday season when I wanted red currant jelly to make plum pudding).

Old favorite:

Double-shot: corn syrup AND HFCS!

Store brand:

Gah! Same here!

New “natural” product:


I finally made it to the sandwich meats and started reading labels. (I don’t eat red meat, so most of this stuff I haven’t looked at in decades.) Here’s classic bologna:

Hmm. Well, maybe the beef version is better:

Nope. Let’s look at some other meats.

What it boils down to is that highly-processed lunch meats are likely to contain corn syrup. I meant to check hot dogs and forgot. I’ll bet a nickel that the standard ones contain corn syrup.

Where you get away from syrup is the sliced roasted meats. I was suspicious of this one, because “honey” has been deceptive in the past:

But it’s OK. Lot of sodium, but no corn.

This turkey has no corn syrup, but does contain corn starch. Boo.

Same with this one.

So, all right. You get the idea. Read the labels. If you want to be positive your sandwich meats contain nothing weird, cook them yourself. I prefer home-roasted turkey anyway. Or you might have better luck at the health-food store.

Before we leave the sandwich subject, a note to those of you who are building burgers. I was astounded to find HFCS in these hamburger dill chips.

That’s right, in DILL pickles! Sheesh!

Here’s a brand that’s safe:

Congratulations. You now know everything you need to know to build a corn-free sandwich, and it only took three weeks.




In Your Food: Sandwich part 3 – the Guts — 6 Comments

  1. We are sensitive to salt and honey rather than corn so we head to the in-store deli for sliced meats. Most pre-packaged stuff is so loaded with sodium we can’t handle it any more. PB &J is a standard though. We’ve found that the natural brands, without tons of salt and corn syrup, separate and have to be stirred and stored in the fridge. Much too difficult with arthritic hands. Last time I tried one I ended up putting it in the blender for the stir process and then into plastic containers in the fridge.

  2. I have that problem with almond butter, Phyl — I have strengthened my hands considerably, but nut butter needs a fridge, and sometimes it’s a struggle.

    Salt overdose has become a taste problem, almost to the point of nausea. It’s hard to find processed foods of any kind, even in a restaurant, that are not over-salted. A drawback of cutting back on salt and sugar that I had not taken to the extreme – food is salted/sugared for people who expect those dominant notes in food. I suspect a lot of people no longer really know what a food tastes like! And of course processed flour digests as sugar. Whee!

  3. Even reading the labels may not be good enough. Here’s a NY Times piece on lawsuits against the food industry for misleading nutritional information on food.

    I try to buy very little processed food. I don’t have any food allergies, but I try to limit my salt and sugar intake. It’s really shocking how much of both you find in a lot of frozen and canned food, even items that look healthy at first glance.