How to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup

Keep this unhealthy ingredient out of your meals with these expert tips.

By now you know the grim news: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) -- which is found in everything from soda to even some salad dressings -- can cause weight gain and is bad for your health. Here's how to nip this nasty element from your diet.

1. Know where the enemy hides. While it's not too tough to figure out that this sweetener is found in treats like cookies and soft drinks, it's also in things you may not think of -- like some types of tomato sauce. Read the ingredients labels before you buy.

2. Rethink your menu choices. Whether you're eating out at your favorite restaurant or grabbing a snack on the road, it's important to be aware of common foods that might not seem “sweet" to you but do, in fact, have HFCS. Many baked breads, for example, are laced with it.

3. Limit your liquid calories. Even if you don't drink a ton of soda, sugary beverages like fruit drinks often contain HFCS. They also tend to be low in nutrients but high in calories (a large drink can contain more calories than the meal you're gulping it down with!). Not good for your waistline!

Nestpert: Elisa Zied

, MS, RD, CDN, author of

Nutrition At Your Fingertips

(Alpha, 2009) and

Feed Your Family Right!

(Wiley, 2007).