Now that you’ve had some time to soak in the information in my last post What Not to Eat: The Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup, I promised I’d share some tips for removing HFCS from your diet.
Reduce or Eliminate Soda
The leading source of calories in the average American diet now comes from soft drinks and sweet drinks. The American Medical Association says to limit the amount of all added caloric sweeteners to no more than 32 grams of sugar daily. Most sodas contain about 40 grams of high fructose corn syrup. So if you can reduce (with the goal of eliminating) your soft drink consumption, you would take a huge step in reducing your HFCS intake.
Find Natural Sodas
If you can’t stand the thought of giving up your soda, another option is to find natural sodas that are sweetened with cane sugar instead of HFCS. Yes, it’s still sugar but I believe it’s better than HFCS. Health food stores normally carry many brands of natural sodas, as well as the natural or gourmet section of regular grocery stores. A few common brands are Blue Sky, Hansen, Boylan, Cricket Cola, GuS (Grown Up Soda), and Reed’s. (Reed’s Root Beer is yummy! Check out their store locator so you can try some yourself!)
Read Ingredients List on Food Labels
I can’t stress enough how important it is to read the labels of all the food you buy. If you only read the labels for fat and calorie information, I recommend you start reading the ingredients list as well. That’s actually the first (and usually only) area I read. Become aware of which food items contain HFCS. Once you are aware of its existence, you can start to make changes.
This may mean you have to switch brands of pasta sauce, juice, or salad dressing, but you can do it! If you live near a health food store, it may be even easier to find many of the same types of products you like, but with better ingredients. (Just because it’s a health food store, though, doesn’t mean you don’t need to read labels. Read them everywhere!)
Cook and Eat More Meals at Home
Eating out in restaurants throws a hammer into your healthy living plan. Most restaurants serve cheap, processed food with many food additives and preservatives. If you make most of your meals at home, and you use good ingredients, you are doing a great deal to improve your health.
I recommend planning your meals ahead of time. I make meal plans for two weeks at a time. If you grocery shop every week, then plan a week at a time. By planning ahead you can have all the ingredients on hand to make a meal, and hopefully avoid those last minute “there’s nothing to eat” or “I don’t know what to make” situations.
Find Healthy Restaurants
You could also find restaurants that do not have high fructose corn syrup in their food. Many restaurants have ingredients lists in their stores or online. We love Jason’s Deli! They have completely removed HFCS from their entire menu, with the exception of soft drinks. (They’ve also removed trans fats and MSG as well.)
Reduce / Eliminate Processed Foods
Yes, it may sound like an incredibly difficult task but the best way to remove HFCS from your diet is to reduce, with the goal of eliminating, all processed foods you eat.
Americans spend about 90 percent of their food budget on processed foods, which contain a staggering number of artificial food additives, preservatives colors, and flavor enhancers. That your health suffers as a consequence of this assault should come as no surprise.
The majority of your food should be real food. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. Try shopping the perimeter of your grocery store, not the aisles. Save the money that you spend on unhealthy items like cookies, chips, ice cream, and frozen dinners and buy fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
Reminder About Picking Your Poison
Now that you are going to remove HFCS from your diet, here is another reminder to avoid artificial sweeteners. HFCS is something you should avoid, but if you had to choose one I would choose HFCS over artificial sweeteners (which damage your health more rapidly).
Your Health Actions For The Month
It’s action time! This month your health actions are:
- Replace one can of soda with a glass of pure water. Try to gradually increase your water consumption and reduce soda consumption.
- If you must have a soda, find a natural soda (online or in a store) and give it a try.
- Find a couple items in your pantry that contain HFCS and replace them with non-HFCS items. Start by looking at your bread, pasta sauce, soda, snack crackers, and cookies.
- Cut back restaurant visits by 25%.
- Replace one processed-food snack with an apple and a few nuts.
Once you have taken a few of these health actions, let me know about it! Post a comment with your successes, challenges, or questions.
Yours in good health,
Wendy – ParentingTips365.com