For overall good health, the less of any types of added sugar or sweetener in your condiments, the better.

Reducing high fructose corn syrup

Reading Nutrition Labels

A very common sweetener used by the food industry in all kinds of food products is high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS.

You will find this inexpensive sweetener in sodas and sweet beverages, as well as assorted candies, bakery items, frozen treats, and even condiments. Research over the years has shown that there might be health problems associated with a high intake of high fructose corn syrup. 

What might HFCS cause for health problems? Liver fat accumulation and high triglycerides are two of the biggest problems. This type of sugar converts easily to fat in the liver.

A National Institutes of Health-supported study found that HFCS may have a negative health impact in children. This study included kids with an average age of 13 and an average weight of 196 pounds. All of the children in the study had high levels of body fat.

In the study, HFCS-containing foods were taken out of the diet and replaced with complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole-grain breads and pasta. In just 10 days, when HFCS-containing foods and beverages were replaced with complex carbs, the liver fat declined by 20 percent - quite a big reduction for only 10 days of time.

Although this was a small study it provides hope for folks with a fatty liver. We know that weight loss can cause a reduction in liver fat, but in this particular study the kids did not lose weight. The only change was elimination of HFCS beverages and foods.

So, when you bring products home, check the ingredient listing to be sure that HFCS is not a major ingredient. Be more concerned about the items that contain have a high content of HFCS like sweet sodas and sweetened fruit drinks rather than the small amount of HFCS sweetener in condiments like catsup. And for overall good health, the less of any types of added sugar or sweetener, the better.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.