12 Worst Ingredients of High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a common sweetener used in a variety of beverages and foods. From soda and juice to candy, dips and crackers, there’s no shortage of HFCS in our food supply. You have probably heard of this ingredient and this is due to the bad reputation it has gained in recent years. Research suggests that this ingredient may increase the risk of glucose and metabolic dysregulation, as well as obesity. With such serious results, experts recommend monitoring your intake of added sugars, including HFCS.

This ingredient isn’t the only one with potential health risks. In fact, you might be surprised that many of your favorite foods contain questionable ingredients like food colors and dyes, artificial sweeteners, and some forms of oil. While these ingredients may not benefit your health, food manufacturers use them for a variety of reasons. Some can extend the shelf life of food, others improve flavor, and some help reduce production costs.

These achievements may benefit the manufacturer, but are best skipped. If you want to improve your food choices for your health, there are some simple rules to follow. First, limit your intake of processed foods. This includes items such as cereals, crackers, breads, sweets and meats, just to name a few. You should also swap your sugary drinks, made with sugar or a sugar substitute, for water or other unsweetened drinks. If you can follow these tips while increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and minimally processed whole grains, you’re well on your way to protecting your health.

When in doubt, you should avoid the following ingredients if you see them on food packaging. Here are 12 Worst Ingredients in High Fructose Corn Syrup. Read on, and to learn more, don’t miss 12 Ice Cream Brands That Use Inferior Quality Ingredients.

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In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that fats from partially hydrogenated oils (PHO) were no longer “generally considered safe” and ordered manufacturers to stop using them. However, you may still find them in products that were part of a manufacturing process that began before the FDA assigned a cutoff date.

Vegetable shortening, baked goods, microwave popcorn, and frosting name a few foods that can PHO. Manufacturers use it in place of butter and lard as a cheaper alternative that can extend shelf life and improve the flavor and texture of foods. However, this ingredient can also add trans fats to food that are linked to negative health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), weight gain and diabetes.

Your body doesn’t need trans fat, so you should eat as little as possible. Eventually, you may not be able to find PHO in your favorite snacks, but for now, you should stay on your toes.

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This sugar substitute is 180-200 times sweeter than sugar cane and was developed as a sugar substitute. While it is used in a wide range of “diet” drinks and products, it remains a controversial ingredient. Studies suggest that there may be a link between aspartame consumption and the development of diabetes, and this ingredient may also influence obesity, glucose and insulin intolerance, and changes in the gut microbiota.

Mood disorders and depression can also be caused by aspartame. While some of this research has only been documented in animals, other studies have documented negative outcomes in humans. There is enough negative research on the use of aspartame to limit its consumption. Instead of aspartame-sweetened drinks, try safer zero-calorie sweeteners, such as stevia and monk fruit.

RELATED: Popular zero-calorie sweetener linked to serious health risksHere are 4 that are safe

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This common food preservative is most often found in processed and cured meats, such as deli meats and beef jerky. Although sodium nitrite is considered safe for human consumption, this ingredient has been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer. It is important to note that this is true for the synthetic sodium nitrite used in processed foods and not for naturally occurring nitrates.

Many vegetables contain nitrates which convert to nitrites in the body. However, these vegetables contain no heme iron and are natural sources of antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, which prevent these vegetables from posing the same health risks as the sodium nitrite in processed meats. Many manufacturers are now producing cured meats and other products that are nitrite-free, making it easier to avoid the ingredient in common foods.

RELATED: Is Deli Meat Bad for You? 6 effects of eating it

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This coloring is currently used in food products, but has been banned for use in cosmetics due to adverse health outcomes. However, this is concerning considering that a study in rats found that those given red no. 3 had a higher incidence of thyroid cancers.

Many food colors and dyes have been found to be associated with negative research results. These products are used to create eye-catching aesthetics in food and drink, but it may be at the expense of your health. You will find red dye no. 3 and other colorants in processed foods and beverages, giving you one more reason to reduce your intake from packaged and processed products.

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You’ll find this coloration most often in soda and candy, and sometimes in beer and baked goods. Ammonia is often used in the production of caramel coloring, leading it to contain contaminants that have been found to cause cancer in mice. Unfortunately, this ingredient can be lurking in unpretentious places, like frozen dinners and lunch meats, so take the time to review ingredient lists to make sure you’re buying products without it in regards to coloring.

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The bright white color of your yogurt, marshmallows, milk and more could come from this ingredient. Titanium dioxide is used as a bleaching agent in foods and cosmetics, but some research suggests this additive is carcinogenic. Indeed, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists titanium dioxide as a 2B carcinogen which defines it as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

While this classification is specific to inhaled titanium dioxide, other research suggests that titanium dioxide may be linked to inflammation and neurotoxicity when used as a food additive.

RELATED: 9 Best Supplements for Reducing Inflammation, Dietitians Say

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Also known as butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene, these ingredients are added to processed foods as preservatives. Crackers, cereals, and other fat-laden snacks are the most common sources of BHA and BHT. The FDA classifies both of these ingredients as safe up to a certain amount; however, animal studies suggest that BHA may increase the risk of cancer in humans. Other bodies of research suggest that BHA and BHT could potentially disrupt sex hormones. Many manufacturers are now using vitamin E as a more natural alternative to the questionable BHA and BHT.

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More commonly known as TBHQ, this additive is used to preserve foods and is often added alongside BHA and BHT. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) advises consumers to avoid this ingredient as a study found that TBHQ increased the incidence of tumors in rats. Similar to other preservatives, you’ll find TBHQ in snack foods, cereals, and other processed products with added fat.

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An ingredient that has been used less and less over the last decade, brominated vegetable oil (BVO) has been used as an emulsifier and clouding agent in carbonated and sports drinks. While many manufacturers have opted out of this ingredient, some popular drinks, like Sun Drop, still contain BVO.

The CSPI recommends avoiding this ingredient completely as research has documented cases of heart injury, changes in fat in the liver, and impaired growth and behavioral development. In Europe, BVO is banned as a food additive while it has held “tentative” status on the FDA’s generally considered safe list since 1970.

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While evaporated cane juice may have a more modest name than sugar or HFCS, there isn’t much of a nutritional difference. Just like other forms of sugar, when consumed in excess, evaporated cane juice can increase your risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes and CVD. Added sugar in all forms should be limited to 25 grams per day for women and 36 grams per day for men, according to the American Heart Association.

RELATED: 7 orders of ‘healthy’ breakfast with more sugar than a can of Coke

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The combination of sodium and phosphate is used as a food additive with many functions. Sodium phosphate can help keep meat products moist, act as a leavening agent in cake mixes, and is an emulsifying agent in processed cheeses. Although sodium and phosphate are essential nutrients, high consumption can lead to health complications. When it comes to high levels of phosphate, such as those seen when used as a food additive, research has noted increased mortality rates and accelerated aging and vascular damage.

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Perhaps one of the least known ingredients on this list, propyl gallate is another ingredient that the CSPI has tagged with an “avoid” recommendation. This ingredient is also commonly used with BHA and BHT due to the synergistic preservative effects. Research suggests that this ingredient may be an endocrine disruptor and carcinogen. A government study actually noted that propyl gallate caused more cancer in rats given low doses of this ingredient than in groups given a zero dose or a high dose. This unusual result gives reason to avoid this ingredient. According to CSPI, you can find propyl gallate in vegetable oil, meat products and chewing gum among other items.

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