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HFCS in ALL burger buns?

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. 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

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

      2 Replies
      1. re: kengk

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

      2. 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

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

          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

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

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              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

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


          For grocery store bread, Atkins and Colombo does not.

          1. 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

              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

                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

                  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


                2. re: Candy

                  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

                    "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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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. Keep looking, they are out there.

                      1. re: chefj

                        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. 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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                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

                                  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: SWISSAIRE

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

                                  1. re: Candy

                                    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

                                  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

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

                                    1. re: pojdikolesa

                                      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

                                        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

                                    < 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

                                    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

                                      Are you talking about HFCS or fructose?

                                      1. re: Nanzi

                                        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

                                          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).

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

                                          9 Replies
                                            1. re: paulj

                                              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

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

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  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

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

                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                      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

                                                    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

                                                      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

                                                        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. 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. 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

                                                      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. Gotta buy organic... with everything...

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: pojdikolesa

                                                        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

                                                          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

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

                                                          2. re: pojdikolesa

                                                            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

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

                                                            2. 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

                                                                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

                                                                  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

                                                                    <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

                                                                      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

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