Thursday, September 23, 2010


When I first became pregnant, I noticed that I became very ill whenever I ate or drank something containing high fructose corn syrup.  Having a glass of soda resulted in the equivalent of 24 hours of food poisoning. 

The thing you might not realize, however, is just how many foodstuffs contain HFCS.  Good ol' Wonderbread, for example.  Most shelved baked goods, in fact, including hamburger buns and cookies.  Though thankfully things from a bakery are usually HFCS-free.  Soda, of course, has it, and popcicles.  Many cereals, and the list goes on...  I've gotten into the habit of checking every label, regardless of the product, since several unexpected 'surprises'.  It's not a corn allergy, as I can eat an old fashioned corn on the cob without trouble, and even regular corn syrup doesn't bother me.  I guess the slight differences from the processing make it unrecognizable as food by my body.

Since this was a new 'allergy' (Having not been tested for an actual allergy, it may be some sort of intolerance, but the result is no less miserable) beginning during pregnancy, I did a bit of research and found about half of the anecdotal cases to be rid of a new allergy after they gave birth, though almost all noted the allergy in the children they carried.  After my 6-week followup appointment after Ganon was born, I decided to test things out.  I had a couple of Chips-Ahoy cookies, which had the HFCS further down the ingredient list (so possibly less HFCS than other products).  Happily, I didn't become ill at all, and felt only the slightest twinge of nausea. 

A couple of hours later, however, I discovered a real problem.  After breastfeeding and giving a nice big burp, Ganon was whining and squealing in pain.  At first I thought it was just more gas, or maybe he was tired and needed a nap...  But the next day, with more experimenting - half a can of soda this time - I ended up ill, and Ganon's post-nursing screams intensified.  Major facepalm.  Whatever it was that made me ill (abdominal cramping included) was somehow being passed to Ganon through my milk.  I felt just awful!  I had caused him such pain because I wanted to have some junk food.  Not that I could have known he would be affected, but I was still wracked with guilt.  I guess growing up Catholic gave me an overdeveloped sense of guilt!  Now that I know, I am doubly careful to keep HFCS out of my diet, and since Ganon begins eating baby food soon, I will need to be just as careful with his foods.

Now, I think ahead a few years to when Ganon visits friends' houses, or snacktime at daycare, or even well-meaning grandparents sneak him some sweets.  As he gets larger (and therefore has more body mass), will the effects lessen?  Will he, like me, be able to eat a small treat with little trouble, or will he be miserably in pain from the smallest cookie?  Will other parents and caregivers realize how prevalent HFCS is?  That something as innocuous as a hamburger (depending on the bun) could cause such problems in my little boy?  With HFCS being rebranded as "Corn Sugar", will it become more difficult to spot in products - and will there be a difference in labelling between HFCS and regular corn syrup?

This is going to be difficult.

No comments:

Post a Comment