So, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the past couple of years (or are merely very adept at avoiding the media), you know about the evil sweetener used in so many US food products that’s called “high fructose corn syrup” and which converts to fat much faster than sugar, doesn’t stimulate insulin production (which means you don’t feel “full” as fast), and also kills small kittens simply by being within a 5-foot radius.
Now, ever since I spent most of 2004 on Weight Watchers, I regularly look at the packaging of what I eat; calories, fat, ingredient listings, and so forth. So while I knew that I don’t eat many things that have HFCS as an ingredient, when Butch and Chris mentioned they were cutting it entirely out of their diet I found myself a little curious as to what I still ate that had it these days. (It does help that I’m not a big soda person.) So, I went through the fridge and pantry, because there’s a certain appeal in the idea of striking the last bits of HFCS out of my life. (After all, if it’s easy to go from “some” to “none” then why not?)
The end result? Only a few things, happily.
- Box of individual Kellogg’s cereal servings
- Pepperidge Farm 100% whole wheat bread
- Kudos granola bars
- 100-calorie snack packs
The nice thing is that all five of those are pretty easily replaced. The other cereals in my house (Kashi Strawberry Fields, and various varieties of Puffins) don’t have HFCS and I really eat them more often these days, anyway. Bread is easily switched back over to Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat, which I used to buy anyway but had only hopped brands because I could get the Pepperidge Farm bread at CostCo. The Kudos and 100-calorie snack packs are a little frustrating to go because they were also regular CostCo purchases, but similar alternatives from Trader Joe’s are a-ok. And with Gatorade, I switched over to buying the powder (which doesn’t have HFCS) and am going to just keep a pitcher in the fridge. Less plastic being used that way, really.
It does help that I shop a lot at Trader Joe’s, don’t really drink soda (happily my one occasional vice of Jones Soda Cream Soda uses sugar cane), and also enjoy doing some shopping at H-Mart/Han Ah Reum where the products just don’t seem to use it.
Do I think I’m going to magically drop weight from eliminating HFCS? Probably not. (Besides, I still have to eat what’s left of those snacks. That may take a month or so. But as they run out they aren’t getting replaced.) But it is nice to know that it’s pretty easy to cut that substance out of my home. It does make me wonder how easy it is for others to do it, too. And I do plan on writing letters to the makers of the products I will miss (Kudos in particular (*sniff*)) to let them know that I’m not buying their stuff anymore and why. Hey, it can’t hurt, right?
(And no, I’m also not going to go crazy about this. I know that sometimes you’re out and there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. I’m not worried about that.)
Just don’t tell the corn farmers about this. Between talk about switching ethanol from corn to things like sugar cane or switchgrass, and now this, they might get a little pissy at me. I promise that I’ll buy a lot of corn this summer, though. Mmmm, black beans and corn and avocado and tomato… Now I’m getting hungry.