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HFCS in ALL burger buns?

ElsieB May 23, 2013 12:40 PM

Went to buy some burger buns at the grocery store. Started reading labels and couldn't believe they all had high fructose corn syrup as one of the first 4 or 5 ingredients. Why is it necessary? Buying food has now become a minefield of poisons to avoid as well as the fact that you better not leave your glasses at home since the ingredients are all in micro print.

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  1. f
    ferret RE: ElsieB May 23, 2013 01:12 PM

    Certainly not in ALL, we have several large commercial bakeries in the Chicago area that sell in all the major stores here including Gonella, S. Rosen and Turano. None have HFCS that I can tell, although some products do have a touch of sugar. Here's an example.


    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret
      paulj RE: ferret May 23, 2013 08:17 PM

      what's so special about those buns? 2g of sugar, same as the fiber. (per 85g bun)

      Ingredients include malted barley (maltose), sugar (sucrose), dextrose (glucose).

      The HFCS that is commonly used in baked goods is 42% fructose. The higher proportion of glucose keeps the bread soft and moist, resisting going stale. We all know that French style bread, without any sugar, has a crisp crust, and goes stale within a day or two.

    2. k
      kengk RE: ElsieB May 23, 2013 01:13 PM

      If the HFCS doesn't kill you the gluten or sugar will.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kengk
        Chemicalkinetics RE: kengk May 23, 2013 06:03 PM

        I don't get your joke -- I assume something funny is hidden here.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          PotatoHouse RE: Chemicalkinetics May 24, 2013 07:56 AM

          Actually I think he's serious.

      2. o
        ohmyyum RE: ElsieB May 23, 2013 01:14 PM

        Trader Joe's does not use HFCS in any of their breads (or anything else under their own private label, for that matter). I got the sesame ones and they were ok, but maybe a bit dry. All of their baked goods tend to have very short best by dates, so you may want to freeze them unless you plan to use them all the day you buy them.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ohmyyum
          Dirtywextraolives RE: ohmyyum May 25, 2013 02:13 PM

          Perhaps that is why they go moldy so quickly in my house, so I stopped buying them.....

          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
            Chemicalkinetics RE: Dirtywextraolives May 25, 2013 02:23 PM

            I don't think HFCS or any sugar would length the shelf time of the bread.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              paulj RE: Chemicalkinetics May 25, 2013 02:59 PM

              It slows down going stale. It only helps with mold if the bread remains more palatable in the fridge.

              I routinely keep TJ whole grain breads in the fridge for a couple of weeks, though i normally toast the slices before use. I keep their artisan styles out and try to use them up quickly.

              1. re: paulj
                Dirtywextraolives RE: paulj May 25, 2013 05:16 PM

                I hate keeping my breads in the fridge, not to mention the space they take up...... I just don't buy TJ's baked goods, never liked any of them anyway.

        2. chowser RE: ElsieB May 23, 2013 01:23 PM

          This might be helpful, for ingredients you want to avoid:


          For grocery store bread, Atkins and Colombo does not.

          1. Candy RE: ElsieB May 23, 2013 01:40 PM

            I really dislike sweet bread. There is so much hidden sweeteners in so much of our food that I read labels carefully. If I find sugar, HFCs and others in the food I don't buy it. A case in point, why is it necessary to have a sweetener in mayonnaise? Pasta sauce? etc. Luckily I am a from scratch cook. My husband is the bread baker in the house and sweetened breads are not found in my kitchen unless it is something like caramel sticky buns or muffins and things that are supposed to be sweet.We buy very little pre-made foods. It is better for us not to and is better on our waist lines too.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Candy
              kengk RE: Candy May 23, 2013 01:48 PM

              This is what I don't get. The hamburger rolls I make have two tablespoons of sugar per dozen largish rolls. We will save our sugar consumption to eat freaking caramel sticky buns?

              Some of my ex co-workers were on a strict no carb diet, except if the carbs were in cake, pie or other pastries.

              1. re: kengk
                Candy RE: kengk May 25, 2013 05:56 PM

                Yes, the annual consumption of something like sticky buns happens occasionally, maybe every few years. The thing is that they are supposed to be sugary goodness.

                Mayo is not and a whole lot of foods that contain sugar. They put it in them to keep us coming back for more. Fore me it is a big turn off.

                1. re: kengk
                  bagelman01 RE: kengk May 26, 2013 02:34 PM

                  It's been 35 years since I left the bakery business. But I do know that we used sugar in our bread doughs, NOT for sweetness, BUt as a food for the yeast. Hamburger Rolls are verylight and airy, lots of rising from the yeast.

                  1. re: bagelman01
                    Dirtywextraolives RE: bagelman01 May 26, 2013 03:52 PM


                2. re: Candy
                  vil RE: Candy May 23, 2013 07:41 PM

                  I feel exactly the same way about sweeteners in bread, and pretty much every food product that is not supposed to be sweet! At my household, we do mostly from-scratch cooking too, and any pre-made foods are carefully screened to not contain unnecessary sweeteners and other additives, before they make it to the shopping cart.

                  You are lucky to have an in-house bread baker - it is often a pain to hunt for bread that do not contain all those unwanted ingredients!

                  1. re: Candy
                    khh1138 RE: Candy May 26, 2013 12:56 AM

                    "I really dislike sweet bread" - me too! I swear it didn't used to be like this - sometimes it's so bad it's like having a sandwich on a piece of pancake.

                    Some people actively seek this sweet bread + savoury meat thing out, though - like a restaurant near us serves all their hamburgers on Hawaiian bread. My husband likes it! I think it's just wrong, wrong, wrong. It tastes like a McGriddle.

                    Note to self: must learn how to make bread.

                    1. re: khh1138
                      paulj RE: khh1138 May 26, 2013 10:38 AM

                      Those Hawaiian buns have 8g of sugars for 45g bun, significantly higher than others. But that style of bread has been around a long time. I remember trying it in the early 1970s. It seems to be the most popular style of white bread at 99Ranch (Asian) groceries.

                      1. re: paulj
                        khh1138 RE: paulj May 26, 2013 12:31 PM

                        Which is odd, isn't it - because one thing I love about Asian groceries and *dessert* baked goods in general is the lower level of sweetness. I love that I can get a cake from 99Ranch or a bakery like JJ in Arcadia that doesn't set my teeth on edge from an overwhelming amount of sugar.

                        1. re: khh1138
                          chowser RE: khh1138 May 26, 2013 01:33 PM

                          It's funny that the desserts are less sweet and the breads sweeter than others. I've never thought about it before.

                          1. re: chowser
                            paulj RE: chowser May 26, 2013 02:54 PM

                            Sauces and dips also have a sweetness, ideally enough to balance the salt and acid. e.g. nuoc cham, hoisin, kecap manis, mirin, gochujang

                            1. re: paulj
                              chowser RE: paulj May 26, 2013 03:41 PM

                              I see the reason for that. But, if you're having a pineapple bun w/ sweet topping and sweet custard, a plain bun would be fine.

                  2. fldhkybnva RE: ElsieB May 23, 2013 02:40 PM

                    Keep looking, they are out there.

                    1. chefj RE: ElsieB May 23, 2013 05:16 PM

                      Go to a local Bakery

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chefj
                        fldhkybnva RE: chefj May 23, 2013 06:07 PM

                        or your local Whole Foods. My store has lots of bread from different local bakeries as well as their own in-house selections which are HFCS free.

                      2. g
                        GH1618 RE: ElsieB May 23, 2013 05:42 PM

                        There is too much sugar in our food, but there is no important difference between ordinary sugar (sucrose) and HFCS.

                        19 Replies
                        1. re: GH1618
                          The Professor RE: GH1618 May 23, 2013 06:28 PM

                          Uh, not so...do some reading up on it and you'll see that HFCS is metabolized differently by the body. Neither is great for you, but the HFCS is much worse.

                          Choosing wisely will probably soon get more difficult, since lobbying efforts are underway to allow use of HFCS in prepared foods without the requirement to label it as such.

                          My question really is: if HFCS is as harmless as manufacturers claim, why is the food industry fighting so hard to fight labeling??
                          Same deal with GMO foods (which presently require NO informed labeling thanks to the big agri companies multi-million dollar efforts).

                          I don't care if companies use things like this...but I want to know so I can make my own choices to either moderate intake or avoid altogether.

                          I guess you're also ok with the pending legislation that will allow Aspartame to be added to milk...with no labeling requirement???

                          1. re: The Professor
                            GH1618 RE: The Professor May 23, 2013 06:50 PM

                            No, you must be reading the quack literature. Sucrose is a disaccharide, half glucose and half fructose, which are elementary sugars. HFCS is a mixture of glucose and fructose (and traces of other sugars). The fructose content of HFCS varies from 42% to 55%, the higher concentration (sweeter) being used for sodas.

                            Sucrose is broken down into its component sugars in the stomach. After that, the two are identical. One fructose (or glucose) molecule is exactly like every other. The body cannot distinguish one molecule from another based on its origin.

                            The real problem with HFCS is that it is much cheaper than sucrose, which makes it economic to use more of it.

                            1. re: GH1618
                              paulj RE: GH1618 May 23, 2013 08:58 PM

                              Is is cheaper than wheat flour?

                              Bakers don't add sweeteners to save money. They do it so we will buy more. If we didn't have a taste for shelf stable soft bread they'd use less (regardless of the source).

                              HFCS can be tailored to provide any desired balance of sweetness (the fructose part) and moisturizing qualities (the glucose part). Sucrose only comes in one ratio. The fact that it is a liquid is probably also an advantage when making a dough.

                              all you might want to know about hfcs supply and prices compared to sugar. See fig 2 for historic price spread (in 2007 they were similar, but by 2011 sugar prices had doubled. But since they have dropped.

                              Senate battle between the candy lobby and the sugar refiners.
                              "“Since 2008, sugar prices in the United States have soared to record highs and they’ve consistently reached levels that are about twice the world price for sugar,”"

                              "As sugar prices have fallen 52 percent since 2010"


                              "For HFCS-55, the major use is in the beverage industry, which demands over 90 percent of total domestic deliveries. Major food users of HFCS-42 include the beverage industry (41 percent), processed food manufacturers (22 percent), cereal and bakery producers (14 percent)....Supersweet HFCS-90 is used in natural and "light" foods where very little is needed to provide sweetness."

                              1. re: paulj
                                GH1618 RE: paulj May 24, 2013 08:45 AM

                                That's more than I need to know, thank you, but it confirms what I wrote: "HFCS ... is much cheaper than sucrose." I don't understand what you are objecting to.

                              2. re: GH1618
                                Candy RE: GH1618 May 25, 2013 06:01 PM

                                Yeah, the old sugar is sugar is sugar argument is invalid. They all may be sugars, but the carbon linkage is different. When I need sugar for a recipe I use 100% cane sugar. There have been side by side comparisons in baked goods and the difference is quite obvious. I've tried the comparisons myself. No HFCs in my home or shopping cart. I only use cane sugar.

                                1. re: Candy
                                  paulj RE: Candy May 25, 2013 06:23 PM

                                  According to the Wiki sucrose article
                                  "In sucrose, the components glucose and fructose are linked via an ether bond between C1 on the glucosyl subunit and C2 on the fructosyl unit. The bond is called a glycosidic linkage."

                                  One of the first steps in digesting sucrose is to break that bond, so the 2 components can be absorbed.

                                  Do you have some other difference in mind?

                                  I don't know why some users find a difference between cane sugar and beet sugar.

                                  1. re: paulj
                                    SWISSAIRE RE: paulj May 26, 2013 01:31 AM

                                    You can taste the difference.

                                    1. re: SWISSAIRE
                                      GH1618 RE: SWISSAIRE May 26, 2013 06:36 AM

                                      Taste is in the mouth. Sucrose is broken down to glucose and fructose in the stomach.

                                  2. re: Candy
                                    GH1618 RE: Candy May 25, 2013 07:17 PM

                                    HFCS works differently in baking because of its liquid form. But as far as I know, you can't buy HFCS at retail anyway.

                                2. re: The Professor
                                  ferret RE: The Professor May 23, 2013 07:07 PM

                                  Hoo-boy. Nobody's adding aspartame to milk, the issue was whether aspartame use in chocolate or strawberry FLAVORED milk required special labeling. There was never any issue of hiding aspartame in plain milk.

                                  1. re: ferret
                                    pojdikolesa RE: ferret May 26, 2013 10:53 AM

                                    Aspartame milk... direct to our kids... required by federal school lunch programs to be served... f--ing christ.

                                    1. re: pojdikolesa
                                      GH1618 RE: pojdikolesa May 26, 2013 01:25 PM

                                      I don't know where you get that. Here's a link to the National School Lunch Program regulations from the USDA:


                                      The milk regulation is on the page numbered 27. I haven't found any reference to aspartame in it.

                                      1. re: GH1618
                                        ferret RE: GH1618 May 26, 2013 03:14 PM

                                        Don't bother, it's easier for people to get up in arms when someone mentions aspartame in milk than for them to read the facts.

                                  2. re: The Professor
                                    Chemicalkinetics RE: The Professor May 23, 2013 07:26 PM

                                    < HFCS is metabolized differently by the body>

                                    Metabilized different than surcose? No, the sould be the same. Surcoase is one half glucose and one half fructose. The most popular HFCS is about 55% fructose and 43% glucose.

                                  3. re: GH1618
                                    Nanzi RE: GH1618 May 24, 2013 09:39 AM

                                    OMGosh, you drank the koolade. There is a huge difference between them. The chemical changes in the HFCS avoids telling your brain that you've had enough, and and makes you crave even more sugar.

                                    1. re: Nanzi
                                      paulj RE: Nanzi May 24, 2013 10:18 AM

                                      Are you talking about HFCS or fructose?

                                      1. re: paulj
                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: paulj May 24, 2013 10:20 AM

                                        You beat me to it in seconds. :)

                                      2. re: Nanzi
                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: Nanzi May 24, 2013 10:19 AM

                                        I believe whatever you have said so far is not about HFCS, but rather fructose.



                                        Please understand there is a difference between fructose and HFCS.

                                        1. re: Nanzi
                                          GH1618 RE: Nanzi May 24, 2013 10:27 AM

                                          It's fructose that does that. Table sugar (sucrose) is 50% fructose. HFCS is typically between 42% and 55% fructose. One molecule of fructose is exactly like every other molecule of fructose, whether it comes from sucrose, HFCS, "evaporated cane juice," or fresh fruit.

                                          A high school chemistry course is sufficient to understand this, and I've had more chemistry than that.

                                          By the way, I don't drink Kool-Aid, as it has added sugar (of whatever kind doesn't matter).

                                      3. paulj RE: ElsieB May 23, 2013 08:18 PM

                                        If you want to avoid sugar (any kind) in rolls, stay away from the soft ones that keep for days. Get a roll version of the French baguette.

                                        And watch out for the action on saliva on the wheat starch. It's primary action is to snip starch into simple sugars that can be absorbed.

                                        1. d
                                          Dirtywextraolives RE: ElsieB May 25, 2013 02:09 PM

                                          I buy the brand Natures Own here in LA and they do not have HFCS in them.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                            paulj RE: Dirtywextraolives May 25, 2013 03:01 PM

                                            Though 3g of sugars per 50g bun is not trivial

                                            1. re: paulj
                                              Dirtywextraolives RE: paulj May 25, 2013 05:15 PM

                                              The OP's request was to find hamburger buns without HFCS in them. I didn't see any request for NO SUGAR, which is kind of hard to do, since you usually need to add sugar to feed the yeast in baked things like hamburger buns.......

                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                chowser RE: Dirtywextraolives May 25, 2013 05:18 PM

                                                You can make bread w/out sugar but the OP only requested HFCS-free and the other discussions are irrelevant.

                                                1. re: chowser
                                                  Dirtywextraolives RE: chowser May 25, 2013 05:21 PM

                                                  Yes, I know you can make bread without sugar, I make pizza dough & focaccia bread all the time..... But it seems commercial bakeries add sugar to their things like hamburger buns to make them more palatable....

                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                    Dirtywextraolives RE: chowser May 26, 2013 03:53 PM

                                                    Please see bagelman01's response that professional bakers put sugar in products like h-buns to feed the yeast.....

                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                      chowser RE: Dirtywextraolives May 26, 2013 04:21 PM

                                                      Yes, sugar for a quicker rise. Commercial bakeries especially do it, probably for all breads. But, yes for enriched doughs you usually use sugar, because texture isn't as important as something like a baguette.

                                                  2. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                    Candy RE: Dirtywextraolives May 25, 2013 06:03 PM

                                                    Actually you do not need to add sugar to the yeast to get it working. Good fresh yeast will work on its own with luke warm water.

                                                    1. re: Candy
                                                      Dirtywextraolives RE: Candy May 26, 2013 03:54 PM

                                                      Please see bagelman01's response that as a professional baker they added sugar to h-buns to feed the yeast..... I KNEW I was right......

                                                      1. re: Candy
                                                        bagelman01 RE: Candy May 28, 2013 05:26 PM

                                                        home bakers use luke warm water, commercial bakeries use cold water and ice in their doughs, as the large commercial mixers raise temps, as do the proofing boxes where the bread rises before going in the oven.
                                                        The hotter and more humid the temp, the colder water and more ice in the dough and then the sugar feeds the yeast.

                                                        it's 35 years since I left the commercial baking business, but I remember lifting hundreds of 5 gallon buckets of ice to add to the mix in hot weather..................

                                                2. Candy RE: ElsieB May 25, 2013 05:51 PM

                                                  All commercially produced bread (among other things) are loaded with sugar. We make our own. I read labels carefully and when I see sugar, no matter what form, it goes back on the shelf. I find many of these products to be nasty. I guess I am highly sensitive to overly processed and sugar laden foods. Speak with your $$$.

                                                  1. ElsieB RE: ElsieB May 26, 2013 04:59 AM

                                                    Thanks to all for the informative comments. I will go back to making a big batch of homemade buns and freezing them. Corporate food has become an abomination unfit for human consumption and I want to avoid as much as I am able to.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: ElsieB
                                                      chowser RE: ElsieB May 26, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                      Have you considered getting a bread maker? It's so easy to let the machine do all the work--no waiting around per rise, etc. I don't use mine for everything but if I'm out for a few hours, it's nice to come home and just bake.

                                                    2. pojdikolesa RE: ElsieB May 26, 2013 10:47 AM

                                                      Gotta buy organic... with everything...

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: pojdikolesa
                                                        juliejulez RE: pojdikolesa May 26, 2013 12:15 PM

                                                        Just because it's labeled organic doesn't mean it's better. I've seen plenty of organic packaged foods that have lots of crap in them.

                                                        1. re: juliejulez
                                                          Dirtywextraolives RE: juliejulez May 26, 2013 01:09 PM

                                                          Completely agree. One of the huge downsides to "only" buying organic, is that as the demand increases, so does the price. And it makes good food, that was normally affordable, completely out of reach for poor people. Think eggs and milk.

                                                          1. re: juliejulez
                                                            Ruth Lafler RE: juliejulez May 28, 2013 05:15 PM

                                                            It doesn't mean better, but it does mean no HFCS, if that's what you care about.

                                                          2. re: pojdikolesa
                                                            Clams047 RE: pojdikolesa May 26, 2013 01:24 PM

                                                            Reminds me what my wife's dermatologist told her when she objected to a non all-natural lotion she was recommending.

                                                            She replied - try some poison ivy. That's all natural.

                                                            1. re: pojdikolesa
                                                              GH1618 RE: pojdikolesa May 26, 2013 01:31 PM

                                                              "Organic" sugar is half fructose, the same as ordinary sugar.

                                                            2. c
                                                              Clams047 RE: ElsieB May 26, 2013 10:53 AM

                                                              As long as the government continues to provide a reportedly $1B annual subsidy into the corn syrup & ethanol industries, it'll always be more attractive financially for the bakers vs. sugar.

                                                              Then again, that subsidy may not be all bad as the corn syrup producers do reportedly contribute millions annually to the two national parties.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Clams047
                                                                paulj RE: Clams047 May 26, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                                what do the sugar producers get out of this? The Senate just voted to retain sugar price supports. According the one article Montana farmers were happy about this; candy producers less so.


                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                  Clams047 RE: paulj May 26, 2013 01:27 PM

                                                                  Probably not so much the sugar industry, but rather the corn syrup manufacturers (and corn farmers). I suspect they want to keep the sugar prices high so the corn syrup manufacturers can keep making incredible profits so they make generous kickbacks... I mean generous donations to the political parties.

                                                                  1. re: Clams047
                                                                    Chemicalkinetics RE: Clams047 May 26, 2013 01:32 PM

                                                                    <I suspect they want to keep the sugar prices high so the corn syrup manufacturers can keep making incredible profits so they make generous kickbacks>

                                                                    Historically speaking, the sugar price protection is to protect the domestic sugar farmers from foreign countries. If the cane sugar price is allowed to freely adjust, then the foreign sugar growers will likely wipe out the domestic sugar growers.

                                                                    1. re: Clams047
                                                                      paulj RE: Clams047 May 26, 2013 03:32 PM

                                                                      Here's the votes on that ammendment
                                                                      I don't see a 'pro-corn' vote. States like ND, MT voted nay, but IA split, IL both aye. New England tended to be aye. OR and WA were both nay.

                                                                    2. re: paulj
                                                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: paulj May 26, 2013 01:29 PM

                                                                      I would think that this continues to protect the domestic sugar grower from South Americans. :)

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