About a year ago, I began to feel sick after I ate. I was mystified. Gradually I began to look at what was happening. I love bread and pasta, but I soon began to feel sick after I ate any bread or pasta products. I would often fall asleep for no reason in the middle of the afternoon, and wake up feeling like my head would float away from my body. The only thing that would make me feel normal again was more sugar.
Later I learned that my mother was monitoring blood sugar, and thought she was becoming diabetic. My older brother was also diabetic. I was shocked and suspected I had prediabetes. The thought of having to prick my finger and shoot insulin scared me into quick action. I took a look at what I was eating. Something stood out right away. Most of my diet included foods that were high in corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. I bought store brands or inexpensive foods often, and most of these contained corn syrup in some form or another, whether or not those foods were sweet.
On a whim, I decided to eliminate all corn syrup from my diet. Within a few months, I had almost a complete turnaround. I lost ten pounds without a lot of effort. My mini-comas in the middle of the afternoon ended. Even the growing numbness in my feet that indicated prediabetes receded. My energy level felt back to normal.
When I tried to put sugar into my diet in moderate amounts, I had no further incidence of symptoms. When I tried to introduce foods with corn syrup again, the old symptoms and feelings returned.
The problem was obvious. I probably had prediabetes, and corn syrup was not good for me…at least, not in the amounts I had been eating.
Cutting corn syrup out of the diet takes some diligence. I was motivated by my fear that I was developing prediabetes, with needles in my future. If you’re choosing to reduce your intake, you’ll have to find your own compelling reasons. I can tell you that the results are worth it. The following are some guidelines I’ve developed for myself that may be of use to you as well.
You’ll be surprised where the food companies can hide corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup, or even corn syrup solids. I found it in frozen meatballs. Some kinds of breadcrumbs contain corn syrup. It’s in some brands of chicken stock. It’s not just in sweet or saucy foods. Always read labels.
Be prepared to spend more money.
Corn syrup is used as a cheap replacement for sugar. Foods that use other sweeteners often cost more. I had to decide for myself whether I wanted to spend more money on food, or more money on health care. I opted for food.
I’m the only one in the family who currently has this particular sensitivity, so everyone else in the family eats foods with corn syrup. I’ve had to find different treat foods that I can eat, and make sure I keep them in the house for days I’m tempted to indulge. When I can, I feed my family foods free of corn syrup, since I know my children might be prone to this same problem someday.
Learning to cook helps to minimize the expense, but who can cook every day? It’s difficult, but it’s worth living without diabetes and insulin injections.
Try sugar-free foods
I haven’t had any candy but chocolate for over a year. Thankfully, there is sugar-free candy on the market now. Some of them are very good, and I feel a lot less deprived. However, sugar-free candy can’t be eaten in excess without a laxative effect, so there’s no binging on it. I don’t really want to binge anyway.
There haven’t been too many foods I’ve had to give up entirely, for which I’m grateful. There’s no acceptable substitute for marshmallows, so I can’t eat those anymore. Other than that, my diet is relatively normal.
Beware of eating out.
If you’re avoiding corn syrup, there’s no mindlessly eating out anymore. Even salad bars have items I know will contain corn syrup in some form or another. After a year of reading labels, I’ve learned to spot offending foods and to avoid those foods when I eat out. Pudding is one I have to avoid, or any jellies or syrups. Freshly made breads are usually all right, but pizza sauces sometimes have corn syrup.
If some corn syrup gets under the radar, exercise more.
It happens sometimes that I eat some corn syrup accidentally. It doesn’t affect me as badly as it used to, since I’m not saturated with it like I used to be. Still, if I start to feel those symptoms coming back, I will make a point of getting some extra exercise. About 15 minutes or so is usually enough to bring my energy level back up again.
Corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup in excess is not good for the body. At least, they weren’t good for mine. If you see some of yourself in my story, I would encourage you to try abstaining from all forms of corn syrup, and see if you don’t find some relief.