Surprising HFCS food of the week

>> Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm back with another food that surprised us. Are you ready? It's sushi! First, let me set the stage. My husband loves sushi - loves it. Craves it. So, when our grocery store installed a sushi station complete with a sushi chef making fresh sushi 7 days a week, he was skeptical but happy. He resisted for a long time, but once he tried the supermarket sushi, he was hooked. Suddenly, a quick meal of sushi for lunch or dinner that didn't break the bank was possible! I do not like sushi - not one bit - but was happy my partner in life could indulge more frequently in one of his favorite things in this world.

Well, yesterday after doing our weekly shopping he bought a packet of his beloved sushi, and for the first time he looked at the ingredients. Low and behold, there was high fructose corn syrup. In sushi. Actually, it was listed as an ingredient in the vinegar used in the sushi.

So, the question in our minds was why in the world would they use HFCS in vinegar? I don't know for sure, but here's my guess. Sushi typically uses a bit of rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar in the rice. Both rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar tend to be mild and sweet. I imagine that instead of using rice wine vinegar in their sushi, our supermarket uses a harsher and cheaper vinegar (like plain white vinegar) and adds a little HFCS to replicate the natural sweetness of rice wine vinegar. So, one way they make sushi so inexpensively is to use HFCS. That's my theory - if anyone has a better one, I want to hear it!

Fortunately, I have yet to see HFCS in vinegar bought for personal use, but it could be out there! I would have to guess that HFCS in sushi is not a problem at most reputable sushi bars. Most sushi bars will use real rice wine vinegar - sans HFCS - but I guess this shows that you just never know!

My husband was crushed to find out that his beloved sushi is now off limits. (He's as committed to this HFCS-free diet of ours as much as I am - maybe even more.) He plans to investigate to see if they have any HFCS-free options available and ask why if they don't.


James Hubbard October 13, 2008 at 8:17 AM  

Now that's surprising.
It's amazing what you can find with a little investigating.


m October 13, 2008 at 8:29 AM  

NOOOOO! Not sushi...I love sushi! Well, I guess I am sticking with restaurant sushi!

Hil October 13, 2008 at 9:05 AM  


My Year Without October 13, 2008 at 11:16 AM  

i know that your interest is HFCS, but as mine is sugar, i am also surprised how much sugar is used in sushi! i did the same double-take when i brought home a pre-packaged container of sushi, not even thinking that sugar would be an issue. sure enough, it came up in several of the ingredients! i guess home made sushi is the best, eh?

Karmalily October 13, 2008 at 11:24 AM  

The sushi at my university not only has hfcs in it, but has aspartame in it as well. I was surprised when I found at I couldn't eat one of my favorite foods (and one of the only vegan options here) because I'm allergic to aspartame. :(

cathy October 13, 2008 at 12:02 PM  

Mark - probably not a bad idea to stick with restaurant sushi - on so many different levels!

My Year Without - Yes, I'll agree that the amount of sugar in some things is shocking. Who would have thought sushi would be high in sugar, much less contain HFCS?

Karmalily - aspratame? Really? That's even more shocking than HFCS!

Pamela Reinsel Cotter October 13, 2008 at 5:55 PM  

For a Christmas gift last year, I bought my husband a rice cooker and a sushi cookbook -- and he's been making homemade ever since! We know the ingredients are the freshest (tuna from the back freezer at the market, our own rice vinegar from an Asian store), and it only took a little bit of practice to get the rolling right. We eat it now about once a week!

JC October 13, 2008 at 7:44 PM  

Wow. It's in everything. Thanks for the tip.

fatfighter October 14, 2008 at 7:56 AM  

Wow - that is definitely something I wouldn't have expected to have HFCS! Weird. Your theory makes sense, though unfortunately.

Dani October 14, 2008 at 8:46 PM  

Oh!!! I know!!! We have a sushi station at our local grocery store too and I noticed that, not to mention the other thousand ingredients I didn't reconize! So dissapointing. I am new to lovin' sushi, but I do. Alas, I am stuck with restaraunt sushi too. All those ingredients just made it seem less "fresh" and less appetizing too.

Rachel October 15, 2008 at 7:59 AM  

I am surprised at this.

But good for your husband bringing it to their attention. I think that is a big key in making HFCS-free foods more readily avaliable--just letting people know that consumers WANT it.

Anya October 18, 2008 at 7:31 PM  

No! I'm crushed too! Not the sushi!!!

CarolinaDreamz November 3, 2008 at 5:54 PM  

OH NO. I think the aspartame has me more upset than the HFCS!! They are both so wrong.. Thanks for the heads-up!

Pink Sky March 17, 2009 at 10:17 AM  

The ingredients for making sushi rice do call or a little bit of sugar to be added, so that could explain the HFCS: it was used in place of the sugar. :P

Mel April 27, 2010 at 12:04 PM  

also, restaurant sushi may contain HFCS in the soy sauce, just found it the other day...brutal.

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