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The High Fructose Corn Syrup Purge

CDKitchen Cooking Columnist Pamela Chester
About the author: Pamela Chester
Mom of two; graduate French Culinary Institute; kids cooking program instructor; Master's degree in food studies. Creates kid friendly foods and loves her slow cooker.
A friend of mine recently announced on her Facebook page that she is doing the high fructose corn syrup purge. I am not sure if the concept came about as a specific part of a healthy eating program or if it was just something she came up with on her own. But when I read about it, I thought, that sounds like an intriguing idea!

Many nutritionists believe that a major cause of obesity in children and adults is the consumption of high fructose corn syrup. The body processes the sugars found in it differently than cane or beet sugar (corn syrup is much cheaper and therefore has become used with more and more frequency), and the sugars are absorbed very quickly, leading to a variety of detrimental health effects. In addition to obesity, its consumption has been linked to diabetes, depression, and hypertension.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is one of those things that has become pretty tough to avoid and can be found in many processed and pre-packaged foods, including soda pop, condiments like ketchup and salad dressing, fruit juice, and even bacon. It’s also one of the main ingredients in soy and lactose-free baby formulas. Because of the potential for health risks, eliminating this substance from your children’s diet is a step in the right direction towards healthy eating.

With the foods we feed our children, just like everything else, moderation is best. But even if you may think you are making the right choices and taking a healthy eating approach with your kids, unhealthy things like HFCS have a way of sneaking into the diet. It can be found in many items that one would consider health foods such as low fat yogurt, nutrition bars, whole grain bread, and fruit flavored snacks. I usually make it a policy not to buy items containing HFCS but sometimes things slip through the cracks.

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We are big breakfast eaters in my house. As the weeks march by while we are waiting for our new kitchen, we have turned to some freezer breakfast staples to replace the homemade breakfast we used to make almost every weekend. I generally try to avoid pre-packaged food because I like to cook so much myself, but lately these frozen breakfast goodies have been lifesavers, especially on busy mornings. But I feel like we were hoodwinked with some whole grain pancakes.

My husband brought those pancakes home from the supermarket recently, and I thought “Oh great! We can still have a pancake breakfast.” Now I know most commercial pancake syrups contain HFCS, so I spend a bit more for real maple syrup for me and the kids (even though we do keep a secret stash of what my husband considers “real” pancake syrup). I didn’t even think to look on the back of the box until the next time I cooked up some pancakes, and there it was within the encyclopedic list – the dreaded HFCS. So back to the store I went. I started to read the labels more carefully and noticed that the store brand pancakes were made without the HFCS, so I decided to give those a try.

Pancakes were easy to find, but sometimes it’s a little tougher to find things like French toast sticks, barbecue sauce, or ketchup. I can only find those items in a smaller specialty grocery store or all natural supermarket. We don’t use a lot so the price increase is worth it to me. Some of the larger grocery stores have added an all natural food section, which limits the need to so carefully scrutinize the ingredients.

It may take some careful label reading, but you can purge HFCS from your family’s diet. Of course the best and cheapest way is to cook homemade, starting with the crispy delicious French toast sticks below. But in our modern day and age, it really is hard to avoid buying some packaged foods. Heck, some schools require that kids bring in prepackaged snacks to ensure they don’t contain nuts. While it might not be easy to avoid HFCS and may cost a bit more, the reward will be in the assurance that you are providing the best possible health for you and your family.

Cinnamon French Toast Sticks

Cinnamon French Toast Sticks

Made with sugar, ground cinnamon, bread, eggs, milk, ground nutmeg

get the recipe

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   I decided a few months ago to rid the artificial sugars from my family's diets. Log Cabin makes an all-natural syrup and Van's makes all-natural frozen waffles and french toast sticks which are quick breakfasts for school days. We also switched to Heinz all-natural ketchup. It takes a while to get used to everything being less sweet, but I see a difference in my ADD son. You can find these in your local supermarket, but one thing I have a problem finding is chocolate syrup for milk. I have to go to Whole Foods for it and it's almost $5.00 a bottle.

Comment posted by prmamidedos

   The HFCS people have been marketing hard to tell the public that "sugar is sugar," lately, but I agree. They've snuck it into so many things we don't need. You can't tell me that something you have to force an extra hydrogen onto is as good as natural. They've already proven hydrogenated fats are worse for you. Why wouldn't hydrogenated sugars be? It's our own fault for our tariffs on cane sugar imports. I give kudos to the companies lately that are providing the option of plain old sugar again (Pepsi Throwback being one). Things taste and feel so much better than the flat, over-sweetness HFCS leaves. Well, I've gone a little overboard, but I wanted to thank you so much for writing this!!

Comment posted by Terra

   My 4 year old son was recently diagnosed with Eosiniphilic Esphagitis and was told that he is allergic to many things one of them corn. We took all the HFCS out of his diet and it has made a huge difference. I have looked up all the bad effects on HFCS and it is bad. I read an article about HFCS it had referred to it as a drug. Almost like the nicotine in cigerettes. HFCS makes the body crave for more of the yummilicious sugar goods. Well good luck to everyone getting off HFCS.

Comment posted by Bonnie

   I L-O-V-E the all natural Log Cabin syrup made from brown rice. I personally don't care for real maple syrup as I find it too sweet. I bought a bottle once not realizing it should be refrigerated and was disappointed it molded, plus the cost is almost twice that of the Log Cabin syrup.

Comment posted by ming


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