Say Yes to Sweet but No to HCFS

October 21, 2014

Halloween – and the holidays – doesn’t have to include high fructose corn syrup

I don’t know about you but I love fall. The cooler weather makes me want to get into the kitchen and bake. It starts with a love of Halloween. While I never got too excited about costumes and haunted houses, I was totally into walking through the neighborhood collecting candy, pouring out the bag of goodies on the floor and sorting through them, before launching into elaborate trades with my siblings.

It’s fun and it signals the start of the holiday season. First Halloween, then Thanksgiving and then Chanukah and Christmas -the season of pumpkin turns into peppermint! It’s glorious.

It’s also terrifying. Terrifying because at every turn you are confronted with massive displays of mass-produced candy that are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere to go or any way to escape buying this stuff but there are options and they are delicious!

But first, why is HFCS so bad for you? Isn’t it okay to have a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup every now and again? Why is Emily Luchetti against fun? These are all questions that I’m sure you’re asking yourself.

I’m a pastry chef. I love chocolate, butter, sugar and vanilla (among other things). I just know that HFCS is a bad thing – a goblin – that we’ve got to avoid.

You can get facts about HFCS here but even the outgoing president of the National Corn Growers Association, Rick Tolman, acknowledged that HFCS is probably a contributing factor although not the only cause of obesity in America: “There certainly is an obesity issue in America and in the world, there’s no question about that. Is HFCS a contributor – absolutely.”

And as for the peanut butter cup, sure, have one. (Ok, maybe not the one-pound version.) The good news is there are versions out there that don’t use HFCS and are fabulous. I have found some treats that are #dessertworthy.

Check out UNREAL, a chocolate company

Chocolate not your thing? Take a look at YummyEarth, which produces lollipops and gummy bears with real fruit extracts, organic ingredients, and without high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors. The products are available at Whole Foods and online.

Trust me: There are tasty treats out there that won’t incite trick-or-treaters to wrap your house in toilet paper or forever remember you as the “bummer” house that gave out boxes of raisins. And remember most candies have a long shelf life so you don’t have to eat them all at once.

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