Corn syrup is a glucose syrup derived from corn. When corn syrup is refined further and the glucose is converted to fructose, the result is high fructose corn syrup. Because both pure corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are derived from corn, people with corn allergies may exhibit allergic reactions to corn syrup. Some people may have a corn syrup intolerance. While corn syrup intolerance can produce many unpleasant symptoms affecting digestion, a true corn allergy involves the immune system and ingesting corn syrup can be life threatening.
Corn Syrup Allergy Symptoms
If you have a corn allergy, corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup ingestion may produce an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions often begin with hives on various parts of your body. A more serious reaction to allergens (including corn syrup) may lead to swollen red lips, breathing trouble similar to an asthma attack and, if severe enough, a complete closing of your air passageways. While many people who are allergic to corn can tolerate corn syrup, you should not take chances if you have a serious corn allergy.
Your body's reaction to the corn syrup may cause a rapid rise in histamines and other immunological mediators. This will cause your blood pressure to drop and, in severe cases, may lead to a potentially fatal condition known as anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock can cause your throat to close up and requires a temporary administration of epinephrine, followed by an immediate visit to the emergency room.
Brain Allergies to Corn Syrup
Brain allergies refer to foods that temporarily cause brain chemistry changes rather than immune system responses. Dr. William Sears and nurse Martha Sears (veterans of pediatric medicine and noted pediatric authors who run and operate the Askdrsears.com website) state that corn syrup may affect certain people's cognitive processes. As corn syrup has replaced sugar in many foods including baby foods, brain allergies to corn syrup have begun occurring in high frequencies. Symptoms of a corn syrup brain allergy include irritability and emotional disturbances. While these symptoms are not permanent and are no cause for serious alarm, you should still eliminate corn syrup from children's food if their mood changes after ingestion.
Corn Syrup Intolerance
Although an intolerance will not kill you that doesn't mean it's pleasant. Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup intolerances produce gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating and nausea. Even if you are not directly intolerant to corn syrup, increased corn syrup ingestion may lead to diabetes, obesity and other serious complications. Always look at ingredients to ensure that there is no added high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup. The more corn syrup you eat over time, the more likely you are to develop an intolerance or more serious health problems.
Foods That Contain Corn Syrup
Nowadays, the better question may be "What doesn't contain corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup?" It's common knowledge that corn syrup/high fructose corn syrup is found in soda and "juice drinks." However, look through your fridge and you will probably find a shocking number of items that also contain corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or both. These everyday foods and condiments include many brands of ketchup, salad dressing, jelly, spaghetti sauce, bread and ice cream.
- Photo Credit Soda is a common source of corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. (Ev0luti0nary/Flickr.com)
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