Look out for the punch of high fructose corn syrup
Sometimes you just can't avoid a sucker punch. CNN reporter Nestor Dib couldn't when he covered anti-government protests in Argentina last fall. It came out of nowhere and knocked him off his feet. Expect that same KO to your system from high fructose corn syrup when it sneaks into food where you would never expect it, like "healthy" frozen entrees -- really! HFCS messes with your appetite-control hormones, encouraging you to overeat, and it adds body fat, increases your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and boosts uric acid levels that age your arteries.
HFCS has become so widespread that the Center for Science in the Public Interest estimates that Americans eats 69 pounds of corn-based sweeteners a year, the equivalent of more than 30 teaspoons of HFCS a day! And that's because it's turning up in these unexpected places:
Granola bars. Don't be fooled by words like "natural." Read the label.
Low-calorie frozen meals. Beware of brands that have the words "skinny" or "healthy" on their labels. Read on, and you may find HFCS or corn syrup.
Pre-packaged kids' lunches with healthy-sounding contents like applesauce, flatbread, ham and cheese.
Low-calorie salad dressings.
Condiments like ketchup, sweet relish and even peanut butter (corn syrup solids).
Your best bet: Read every label every time you buy food, and don't put it in your cart if it has corn syrup or HFCS in it. Your heart, your skin, your memory, your sex organs and your waistband will thank you.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.