Unmasking My True Food Sensitivity
A while back I wrote about how reducing or cutting gluten out of my diet improved my symptoms. Since then I discovered something interesting and that has been a game changer for my daughter and me. She has fibromyalgia and eczema and I have fibromyalgia, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. Gluten was and is not what had been increasing our pain; it was something even more sinister, and it is found in way too many foods and beverages.
My daughter and I first began to doubt that gluten was the culprit when we noticed we could eat one brand of a wheat product but not another. So we began experimenting with various wheat products and here is what we discovered. We could eat a bagel from the corner bakery, but not from the one across town. Certain brands of bread weren’t a problem nor were we experiencing reactions from various cakes, pancakes, cookies, etc. What baffled us at first is that they all contained gluten. So how could gluten be an issue for us when there were gluten products that didn’t bother us? That’s when we started inspecting the other ingredients.
Catching the real criminal
Unmasking and capturing the real criminal wasn’t easy. We started by only eating wheat products that were made from scratch. When those proved not be a problem we began tracking how we felt after eating store bought products. In addition to how we physically felt we also logged all of the other ingredients. However, because those products had so many common ingredients it made it difficult to decipher which one was responsible for our increased pain and inflammation. It wasn’t until my daughter developed a rash that we were able to zero in on our culprit. Her rash developed after she began using a flavored creamer in her coffee on a daily basis. Her rash began to improve after she stopped using it. There was more improvement after cutting out soda. What those two things had in common was fructose syrup!! Soon we began inspecting every label and guess what we found?!! Fructose syrup was in all of the wheat products that had been causing us problems!! We didn’t have a gluten sensitivity or allergy; we were poisoning ourselves with fructose syrup.
Fructose syrup was guilty of increasing our inflammation, causing our joints and muscles to ache more than usual. It was to blame for our headaches and migraines that weren’t weather related. It was guilty for increasing our fatigue and making our brains feel fuzzy. Fructose syrup may not be responsible for all of our pain from our chronic illnesses, but it did increase the severity of our symptoms.
Lurking in the bushes
Finding the food source of what was making our conditions worse was just the beginning. Trying to avoid fructose syrup isn’t easy. Until we made this discovery we had no clue how many food and beverage products it was hiding in. It’s not as easy as saying “I am giving up bread” to avoid it. Not that giving up bread is easy, but it’s easier than giving up 90% of the foods and drinks in the grocery store! Where is fructose syrup hiding? It can be found lurking in soda, candy, sweetened yogurt, salad dressing, frozen pizza and other frozen convenience foods, breads, canned fruit, juice, boxed dinners like macaroni and cheese, granola bars, breakfast cereal, store bought baked goods, ketchup and BBQ sauce, cookies, crackers, chips, cereal bars, nutrition bars, coffee creamer, energy and sports drinks, jams, jelly, and ice cream!!!! Like I said, giving up fructose syrup isn’t an easy task and what I listed is just the tip of the iceberg! While we haven’t achieved the status of being able to say we have completely removed it from our diet, we have reduced it so much that we are definitely feeling the benefits of not putting it in our bodies.
Could fructose syrup be increasing your pain or making your symptoms worse?