Pros: Inexpensive, variety of uses, easy blending.
Cons: Reputed to be responsible for the fattening of America.
As an RN Telephone Triage Nurse, I'm called on to recommend lots of non-medicated home remedies for the thousands of callers wanting relief from every day ills. Besides Tylenol, ibuprofen, ice packs, heating pads, antacids, Benadryl, antiseptic and hydrocortisone cream, plain old light corn syrup may surprise you to also place rather prominently on this list.
Karo Light Corn Syrup 16 Fluid Ounces
I remember Karo products in my Grandmother's baking cupboard as a small child during my regular searches for candy, chocolate in particular. And while it seems these days that corn syrup-an inexpensive sweetener-appears in rather an alarming number of nutritional labels, from soft drinks to ketchup, the basic boiling of water with cane syrup results in a clear, viscous product useful in many bakery and confection recipes.
A simple carbohydrate, with 4 calories per gram, corn syrup has been linked to both the growing obesity problem in our country, and feared by a few otherwise diligent souls, somehow confusing this very inert substance with the threat of botulism, (honey, for instance, is not recommended for children less than 1 year). The manufacturing process requires lengthy boiling in huge stainless steel vats...no honeycombs here!
Other Uses For Corn Syrup, or Pssst! Dr. Mom:
As mentioned above, corn syrup has found its way into a myriad of foods, but also non-foods such as cough syrup.
Who doesn't remember honey and lemon as a homemade remedy for a nagging night time cough or irritated throat?
Corn syrup is the inert, (read: non-medicated), part of nearly all cough syrups you'll find on the market, and there's a reason for that. Besides helping to mask the taste of the active cough ingredient, dextromethorphan, corn syrup's thick, sticky helps to thin and loosen secretions as well as provide soothing coating action to abraded tissues.
In recent headlines, the AMA's Pediatricians and FDA have been voicing cautions over use of DM in children between 2 and 6 years of age. As an Advise Nurse, using standardized protocols set forth by Dr. Barton Schmitt, (aka latter day Dr. Spock), I'm already familiar with recommendations to avoid cough suppression for kids less than a year; the cough reflex protects against fluid build-up in the lungs otherwise known as pneumonia.
Plain Jane corn syrup is now new again, touted as a safe alternative to OTC DM products you'll find pushed especially hard during cough and 'flu season. Tried and true, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of corn syrup, along with plenty of warm fluids and use of a humidifier is helpful indeed.
And where I wouldn't recommend repeated dosing of honey or corn syrup for diabetics, a single dose at bedtime or in the middle of the night, faced with a hacking cough contains only as much sugar as 1 to 2 packets of the white stuff-16 to 32 calories, (4 to 8 grams). As a diabetic myself, I know this small amount will not be harmful, causing anything more than a transient blip on my blood glucose level.
Speaking of diabetics though, we frequently get calls from patients/families of diabetics with the opposite problem, hypoglycemia. One such pt. only had diet soda and sugar substitutes and diet candy in his house. He needed at least 4 spoonfuls of simple sugar to raise his blood sugar above 70 mg/dl until he felt well enough to eat a more substantial meal, (sandwich, cheese and crackers or the like).
He had some canned fruit, but it was water packed, so I asked him to check the cupboards for pancake syrup, jelly or corn syrup. All were diabetic, sugar-free except for a lowly container of Karo. 20 minutes later, his blood sugar was a much safer 110, and we could proceed to the final portion of the instructions; he would contact his own PCP in the morning since this was his 3rd bout in a week with hypoglycemia.
In a pinch, I've instructed family to offer a few spoonfuls of frozen, fruit juice concentrate, but the Karo, in liquid form, is more easily accessible, goes down smooth and is rapidly digested, beginning with the mouth's own salivary amylase.
We also get a lot of calls about nausea and vomiting.
A pricey OTC product, Emetrol, is primarily corn syrup, with a bit of mint flavoring. 8 ounces of this costs about 20 times Karo corn syrup, so I empower callers with this information and let them be the judge of how much they want to pay, or even if a frantic midnight's drive to an all night drugstore is in order.
Corn syrup, like all sugars, can have a laxative effect, so I'd never recommend it as an anti-emetic in the presence of loose or watery or crampy stools. It is interesting to note though, that Karo's Dark Syrup relative, kissed with the goodness of molasses, has elsewhere been recommended by our protocol's as a safe, simple stool softener-less harsh than cathartic laxatives.
Final Thoughts And Recommendations
These are my own personal experiences with Karo Light Corn Syrup, simply shared in the spirit of good will as one consumer to another, not offered as medical advice in place of diabetics checking with their own Health Care Providers and parents wishing to hear what their own Pediatricians have to say re the Great Corn Syrup brouhaha.
Of course, when I think of my Grandmother's canning procedures to avoid botulism, (that boiling and boiling that corn syrup undergoes in it's transformation from water and cane extract to syrup is the same process), I do have to smile, though I'm certainly not advocating chugging this sticky stuff by the jugful!
Not just for baking and candy making, that familiar pink labelled jug has a number of simple, home uses I find quite handy and you might as well. 4 full star rating. Sweet!