Read Your Labels: Boxed Stuffing Mix

Hidden Dangers: Grabbing a box of stuffing is super tempting, especially since all you have to do is add a few additional ingredients and – voila! – it’s done. But is the convenience of stuffing mix worth the health cost? Most boxed stuffing mixes are a cheap knockoff of the real thing, and most contain the worst health offenders: high-fructose corn syrup, trans fatty acids, GMO oils, MSG, preservatives and artificial flavors.

What you should avoid: We always avoid the three heavy hitters, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fatty acids (partially hydrogenated oil) and MSG (hydrolyzed soy protein) because they’ve been clinically proven to lead to conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome and neurological damage. Next up, skip the GMOs – genetically modified foods. The main genetically modified ingredients found in boxed stuffing are corn syrup and soybean and cottonseed oil. While GMO foods and their potential health implications are still being researched, a few side effects may include infertility, sterility, liver and kidney damage and cancer. Finally, steer clear of all chemical preservatives. BHA, BHT and propyl gallate are potential carcinogens that may damage the liver, impact development and hormone function.

Avoid: High-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat), corn and cottonseed oil (GMO), hydrolyzed soy protein (MSG), propyl gallate, BHT and BHA

Here’s what to do: Take a deep breath – you don’t have to give up boxed stuffing mix altogether, but you may have to consider ditching a brand you consider traditional. Look for higher quality versions that use organic ingredients without all the toxic chemical preservatives and cheap oils. A good rule of thumb is the fewer the ingredients the better. The extra effort will pay off. If you have time, or a willing guest, make the stuffing from scratch. We like the homemade stuffing option best because we can’t get enough of this rustic gluten-free version: Mushroom and Leek Cornbread Stuffing.

TCM Picks: Arrowhead Mills Organic Savory Herb Stuffing, Whole Foods 365 Stuffing, Rudi’s Gluten-free Stuffing Mix

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