What Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Doing In My Salmon Burger?

February 21, 2012   17 Comments

Have you heard the warning about sugar hiding in your food? People are usually surprised when they find high fructose corn syrup in bread and ketchup.

Salmon Burger With High Fructose Corn Syrup

I received an e-mail from an avid label reader about salmon burgers:

Could you give me your opinion on frozen salmon burgers? Trader Joe's has one that looks pretty good but then in my regular grocery store they had frozen salmon burgers that had listed on the outside a " Women's Health Magazine Award winning product" but in the ingredients it listed salmon along with corn syrup; high fructose corn syrup and more of the same nonsense.

So I'd love to know your thoughts? Are there any frozen salmon burgers you recommend?

Sheesh! You would think that you could avoid corn syrup when you are eating salmon. I purchased the above box of salmon burgers ($6.50) and it featured "Wild Alaska Sustainable Seafood" - which made me happy.

I LIKE salmon but I like it even more when it is wild caught (meaning isn't farmed) and it is fished in a sustainable way. There are environmental problems involved with salmon farming and I like supporting the fishing industry. I love "sustainable" because I want my kids to have salmon when they are adults.

But what about the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)? Salmon, unlike Coca-Cola, should be corn syrup free. The manufacturers of this product "Ocean Beauty" used HFCS to sweeten the breading that surrounds the salmon.

Breading isn't really necessary to make a salmon burger, but it does provide a nice CRUNCH to the outside which is tasty. The first thing I did was evaluate how much sugar was added to the burger:


There is less than one gram per serving - which is a very small amount. The nutrition facts for this salmon burger are:

200 calories, 8 g fat, 20 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 0 g fiber, 240 mg sodium, 5 Points+

So, basically, it is just a small amount of sugar added for flavor - which I am not against. Would I like my salmon burger without salt, herbs, and sugar? Probably, but those small additions do not make this burger unhealthy.

I would buy these and use them to replace the more fatty hamburger (made with beef). You get more of the "good fat" here and you get to support Alaska fisheries.

My advice is to buy the salmon burgers you can afford - and if you can afford wild, sustainable, with a wee bit of sugar added - go for it!

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Love your sensible approach, snack girl!
Keep up the great work!

Walked over to my freezer and found the same brand, but the version without breading...4 seasoned patties (120 cal, 3g fat, 5g carbs, 16g protein, 0 fiber, 230mg sodium) and it also has corn syrup and HFCS in the ingredients! yuck! I'm sick of the corn subsidies and how they are shoving it in all of our food!

I can recommend a great salmon burger it's Whole Foods 365. They are a bit pricey...$7.99 for a pack of 4. But delicious, I eat them often.

Ingredients are clean too:

Ingredients: Pink and/or chum salmon, water, expeller pressed canola oil, contains 2% or less of: lemon juice (from concentrate), ground onion, garlic powder, white pepper, sea salt, natural smoke flavor, potato extract, natural flavor, mustard flour, rosemary flavor. Parfried in expeller pressed canola oil.

I'm going to sound like a broken record because I know I've said this so many times... Yes, it may only be a little bit of sugar/HFCS, so it may technically be "in moderation." But then there's "only a tiny bit" in THIS food and THAT food. It becomes no longer "in moderation."

The fact is that HFCS, or even real sugar for that matter, is just not necessary in a salmon burger! It's up to us to let the food companies know we don't approve of this by NOT buying their products.

It would be very easy to make your own salmon burger. You can get salmon from the seafood counter, and it will save you money because you can buy exactly how much you need.

I remember being really surprised (maybe terrified is a better word?) when I first realized HFCS was in my whole wheat bread. Now I'm not even surprised to see it on a salmon burger!

But I've accepted it as a fact of life, and like you, I don't mind a wee bit of sugar on something that I like a lot!

I agree--if it is in many boxed and packaged foods how is it 'moderation'?

I'm in the "make your own" camp. It only takes a few minutes to mix the burgers and cook them, and this way you can avoid these nasty ingredients.

I bought the Trader Joe salmon burgers, but they look funny to me, so I am yet to make them, but I will when I get enough nerve. I just started eating fish, so this is all new to me.

I agree with you. Sweeten salmon is not better than fishy salmon. Have you contacted the manufacturer? What do they say is the reason for the corn syrup?

@Valerie - I will send them this post and see what they say. I am interested in their response as well.

My husband buys the Wild Alaskan Salmon burgers from Costco. I just checked, no corn syrup of any kind in them.

I love salmon and all sorts of fish. I agree that a wee bit of sugar and hfcs is fine since i do watch it in in everything i eat. And on the subject of fish, my husband was telling me about a report he saw on the fish coming here from China. I started looking on the packages at my local WalMart where i shop for groceries. EVERY FROZEN FISH in their freezer case came from China or in that area. None of it was from our continent! We live in the boonies and don't have a fresh fish counter to buy from at our local WalMart or other grocery store. Do you have any insight on this problem of fish from China? Is any of it okay to eat if we look for certain markings or package documentation, etc.?

We make our own because it really doesn't take that long and then I know there's nothing questionable in there (although I agree with Snack Girl that a tiny bit of HFCS is certainly not going to kill you, especially if you eat almost nothing else that's "packaged"). Whenever there's a sale on fresh salmon at our grocery store, I stock up, make a bunch, and freeze them. I have two toddlers and this is their hands down favorite dinner paired with sweet potato fries :)…

I think it's dangerous to become desensitized to the fact that HFCS and sugar is put into just about everything!! We can not ignore the fact that too much sugar is very bad for us. I make just about everything from scratch! I don't have a pantry stocked with packaged foods and my freezer doesn't have much packaged anything outside of some frozen fruits for smoothies! When we fall into the trap of just ACCEPTING that HFCS is going to be put into our foods, we are sending the message that we don't care about what we put into our bodies. This is very, very dangerous! This foolishness will never stop if we don't take a stand and say enough is enough (literally)!

@Angie M.- check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website (they also have a phone app). It will give you info on what kind of fish to look for and where it should be from/good alternatives. I use the phone app all the time at the grocery store to find sustainable fish. It is hard to find sustainable fish sometimes (so far haven't been able to find any shrimp that meets the requirements). Anyway, it is a great resource!!

I am adamant about not using products with HFCS, which can be a problem since I am a very lazy cook. I found out about some easy to make salmon burgers by a company called Trident Seafoods-- bought them at Safeway. They're a bit pricey, but very yummy-- wild salmon and no HFCS. They said if you contact the company you can get coupons for them, so I'm going to do that next.

I might be a little bit late, but one option not yet mentioned in Seapak. They use wild-caught salmon, all-natural ingredients, and no HFCS. They sell them in Publix for only $4 (box of four), I think and can also be bought in Sam's Club (box of 10) for around $12.

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