After becoming ill, I developed what appeared to be an extreme reaction to the sugar substitute known as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). It included rapid, pounding heart, flushed head and chest, profuse sweating, diuresis and generally feeling terrible. It took a while to narrow down the culprit to this one ingredient, but this reaction would come on, to varying degrees, within an hour of eating anything with HFCS. The reaction itself would last about and hour or two. Since HFCS is a powerful sweetener, I have recently (as a result of posts on this board) come to wonder if these symptoms might be caused not by corn, but rather by reactive hypoglycemia. On the other hand I only get these severe symptoms from HFCS and not from any other sweetener, including regular corn syrup.
I have always wondered what, if any, relationship HFCS might have had in regard to the CFS outbreaks in the early 1980s. HFCS was introduced into the food supply just at that time when I (and many others) initially became ill. It was first introduced into liquids such as soft drinks and only later was a method discovered for using it in baked goods. My most extreme (and scary) experience was a near-anaphylactic reaction which came from drinking a can of Coke on an empty stomach on a day when I had skipped breakfast. This was actually what lead to my suspicion of HFCS, as there is very little else in Coca-Cola.
Im not suggesting that my sensitivity to HFCS lead to CFS. The opposite is most probably true. I suspect that (in my case at least) CFS lead to gastric problems which (via leaky gut or some other means) resulted in this sensitivity to high fructose corn syrup. When tested for allergies, I did react strongly to corn as well as to several other things, but they havent given me anything like the trouble caused by HFCS.