Parents have been sweetening up their questions recently, asking me what is causing their child to gain too much weight. In previous segments, Ive stressed the importance of exercise, the dangers of unhealthy snacking, and the risks associated with your child watching too much television and becoming overweight. I have not yet discussed, though, the role one particular substance plays in your childs diet that can contribute significantly to their becoming overweighthigh fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS pretends to be sugar in many foods, but it actually has far more calories than sugar. HFCS is found in many foods and drinks, and is the sweetener of choice for many manufacturers because it is cheaper than sugar, sweeter, and it blends into foods easier, keeping them moist. It is, however, metabolized differently than regular sugar, and it has been found to increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. How do you prevent your child from getting too much HFCS? I recommend that you read food labels carefully. If HFCS is on the label, put it back on the shelf. This means avoiding most soft drinks and those popular childrens breakfast cereals. Other foods high in HFCS include artificially-flavored fruit juices, cookies, gum, jams/jellies, and pre-made baked goods. Fruit-flavored yogurts, ketchup, barbeque sauce, canned soups, canned fruits, and popsicles are just a few other items with high levels of HFCS. The more that you can select all-natural foods or whole, non-processed foods, the better and the less likely they will contain HFCS. Hopefully tips like this will allow you shape up your shopping habits and avoid those foods high in high fructose corn syrup.