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Diagnosis: High Fructose Corn Syrup

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader


I spent most of May itching through the month. For a while, it was a mystery. The last time I had issues with my skin, I had to solve it myself. This time, it wasnít any different.

Iím beginning to lose my respect for doctors. I know they go to school for a long time, and take out thousands in student loans, but it seems wrong that I have to experiment on myself to figure out whatís wrong with me. I never had any interest in going to medical school, but a visit to my doctor and another trip to one of those instant medical clinics didnít yield any believable answers. Predictably, both my doctor and the instant medical clinic place recommended I take yet another pill. Apparently, doctors donít have time to figure out illness, so they just prescribe a pill.

So Dr. Gloria had to put on her white coat and observe her eating habits. I took notes. I had my theory it could be one of three things: one of the meds Iím now taking, chocolate, and soda. I noticed that after I consumed crunchy, salty carbs washed down with Coke, I broke out in hives. I told this to my doctor, but he was positive they were bug bites. I thought that was ridiculous. My house is a clutter factory, but the only bugs Iíd seen were a couple of ants, and a couple of spiders. No bedbugs to be found, no fleas to be seen, not even a mosquito. Besides, bug bites tend to hang around for a while. My hives came and went within hours.

I decided to start with a cleanse. I cleaned up my diet a bit, then embarked on a week-long ritual of some Metamucil-like stuff in the morning and evening, and some supplements. I felt better right off the bat. I felt like I didnít eat as cleanly as I could have, so I went on another cleanse. Then for eight days, I barely ate. I snacked all day on celery, blueberries, cherries, carrots, and grilled some protein for dinner.
The hives gradually went away. But I still wasnít sure what caused them. So since my system was probably cleaned out, I tried one of the things I thought was a trigger. I had Coca-Cola. Within a half hour, the hives came back. I figured it was high fructose corn syrup. The next day, I tried some Mexican Coca-Cola (itís made with sugar) and no hives.

But chocolate is a trigger too. I went to the grocery store and started looking at labels. I figured the less ingredients, the better. Sensing that U.S. foods were going to be chock full of crap (and high fructose corn syrup) I decided to try a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk. What I thought was interesting was that I didnít finish the chocolate all in one sitting. Just a few bites were enough. And I got one hive, which was a mild one that went away quickly. The next night, I tried a Three Musketeers bar. Ugh. Itch city.

So the mystery was solved. My body cannot tolerate high fructose corn syrup (which seems to be in everything) and certain types of chocolate. Life just got a whole lot more meaningless. Two of my favorite foods on earth, and I canít consume them without certain parts of my body feeling like they were blanketed with itching powder.

And Iím thinking about all the food that Iíve enjoyed in the past that I probably canít anymore unless I pop an Allegra. Can I ever eat in a restaurant again? How do I know whatís in that sauce? What about the salsa? I decided not to go to Ribfest because I wasnít sure what was in the barbecue sauce. I had purchased some at the store, and discovered it had high fructose corn syrup. There ARE some that donít have any; I suppose I could have asked for ribs without sauce, then put mine on.

But isnít the whole point of Ribfest experimenting with the sauces the vendors have?

Iím happy that I figured out the cause of my hives, but Iím disappointed yet again that both my doctor and the insta-clinic didnít bother to do any tests, or ask about my food habits. About the only medical people I actually trust are surgeons. Even so, Iím considering buying a few scalpels and watching Youtube medical videos. Those will have to do until Time-Life comes out with a DIY Home Surgery Course. You canít be too careful.

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