A few years ago, I decided to give up Corn Syrup for Lent. Since it's that time of year again, I thought I'd share what I did, how I avoided corn syrup, and what the unexpected results were.
While I come from a Christian background, my family was not Orthodox. We did not traditionally celebrate Lent. However, I really like and respect the idea behind it, one of self-control, reflection, giving thanks, and personal improvement.
I also wanted to try to give something up that would be very challenging, to really make me think about it, and something that might have unexpected results.
So, I challenged my self to not eat any corn syrup from after Fat Tuesday, all the way to Easter. No High-Fructose, no regular corn syrup, and no corn syrup solids. How did I do? Come along and find out!
Step 1: Read Labels
How do you know what you are eating, if you don't read the ingredient list?
In general, American labeling laws are fairly good. The label will list everything in the product as well as it's country of origin. (We unfortunately do NOT yet list genetically-modified ingredients, but by avoiding corn syrup, you'll be avoiding a lot of GMOs as well.)
Ingredients are listed in order of most to least, based on weight. If Corn Syrup is the second ingredient, it means there's less of that than the first ingredient, but more of it than the third.
You'll also sometime see Corn Syrup listed more than once. It's not uncommon to see beverages with an ingredient list of "Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup,......"
Beverages, such as soft-drinks are what we usually think of when it comes to corn syrup, but read ALL labels, it's also common in something as simple as bread, and "corn syrup solids" are common in powered beverage mixes and non-dairy creamer.
Another interesting bit on labeling laws, when the product name is on the front of the box or can, it ALSO must be listed in order of the weight of the ingredients. I once saw a box of frozen Salisbury Steaks and notice that it actually read in very small print "Beef Gravy and" and then in HUGE PRINT "Salisbury Steaks"! The product being bought was actually gravy with a little beef, not the other way around!