Does anyone know what is in glucose syrup that can irritate me?

Today I cooked a really nice shepherd's pie (FODMAP style as I am on day 14 of this). It was just minced beef, stock and mashed potato. To make it tastier I used a stock cube that said on the packet it was gluten free. When I was cooking I tasted the meat (a couple of teaspoons) and 1 1/2 - 2 hours later I felt ill (still do 6 hours later). I was not sure why as I hadn't eaten anything dodgy on this FODMAP. I checked the ingredients on the stock cube and it contains glucose syrup. So I didn't eat the dinner but my family did. What is in glucose syrup that makes me ill? I am really sorry to ask this question again. Someone answered this for me before, I think it might have been Jerry so I have tried to find the answer on previous posts but been unsuccessful. I am monitoring my food intake and symptoms for the dietician so it is important to identify the dodgy stuff.

35 Replies

  • Instead of using sugar beet or sugar cane to sweeten....they use a by product that's much cheaper....down side is the glucose syrup can contain, wheat or barley or corn....this all depends on what's the country it comes from....... It makes me feel very bloated....


  • Thanks Janie! Do you know why it is considered as gluten free? I know that I react to products that contains glucose syrup and so do others.

  • Thanks again Janie! I did read this but I found it confusing because it seems to suggest the product should be okay because of the process. In fact I had an argument with someone about it as they considered it to be impossible to have a reaction to glucose syrup. I avoid it when I can but got caught out today because I did not read the label - I trusted the packaging again. I am still learning and making mistakes.

  • It's all to do with the parts per million and what they how do they know that every product which says its gluten free is below 20 ppm.....when they can't even stop horse gettin into the uk food chain......I ask ya?


  • Indeed!

  • Gluten is a (complex) protein and reaction is caused by one or more simpler products created when Gluten is digested within the human gut. From what I know, all the breakdown products occurring naturally in the gut are smaller proteins i.e. polypeptides and possibly amino acids. Fructose and maltose are sugars that are broken down by digestive enzymes into glucose. states "Before conversion of starch to glucose can begin, the starch must be separated from the plant material. This includes removing fibre and protein (which can be valuable by-products, for example wheat or maize gluten.Protein produces off-flavours and colours due to the Maillard reaction".

    So, why is glucose syrup likely to: a) contain gluten b) cause a CD reaction?

  • I use bovril out of a jar to flavour my stews and stuff.....because I have had a reaction to every stock cube and gravy and they have all been gluten and wheat I just go without......just meat juices ang corn flour now.....and a bit of bovril but only the beef one as the chicken has maltodextrin....and I flip on that as well.....

  • Urbangirl - please read this earlier posting by FionaGFG which gives an explanation and details of the easy test that's available to determine if there is an intolerance to fructose/glucose

    If you want to look for previous info then just type a key word in the search box at top right of the page.

  • Thanks Irene - I did do this but got confused with some of the stuff. It is very hard to absorb all this info as it is quite overwhelming and science has never been my strong point! But as I am doing the FODMAP thing it gives a good opportunity to eliminate the dodgy stuff. BTW it was suggested to me by the dietician that stress can play a part in reacting to food. So tonight I initially thought that stress was the problem as we a domestic crisis earlier in the day. But because I am doing a food diary it is easier to locate the culprit.

  • Do you have any more details about the stress connection? I've had two unexplained reactions recently that I put down to cross-contamination but both happened on very busy flat-out work days when I was rushing to meet deadlines. I'd been wondering if stress was an issue, or if I was going mad...

    I avoid glucose syrup since reading it was a problem on here.

  • Freelancer the dietician was talking to me at my appointment about the links between the gut and the brain. Then the other day she called me and said that there is a link between my symptoms and stress and suggested I google it. I am sure it is a factor in my case but not always.

  • Thanks – I'll look into it further.

  • Glucose syrup is not made from fruit so why have you put this link ? It corn,wheat,barley and sometimes potato based.....


  • Because many Coeliacs have ongoing symptoms on a gf diet and glucose/fructose intolerance, along with lactose intolerance are the most common conditions to be ruled out.

    Here's another link:

  • I use Kallo Organic Beef Gravy Mix in my Shepard's Pie and so far so good!

  • These are the offenders!

  • Would confirm what Janie has depends on what the glucose is made can be wheat...or potato or beet.

    The producer of what you believe to be the offending product should know the source.

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  • It might not be glucose, it might be one of the other ingredients. Yeast extract is a possibility. I would keep that in mind as your look for reactions to other foods.

  • I think it is glucose syrup as it has happened with other products that contain it that do not contain yeast extract. But you are right it is important to know exactly what you are sensitive to.

  • Was the stock ingredients ok for FODMAP? I've been avoiding it completely because of onion/garlic content?

  • I didn't consider this Flipflop as the FODMAP book says stock cubes can be used. An important point to consider for the future. Thank you! I've thrown the packet out so I don't know if the stock cube did contain onion and garlic. Will check it out at the supermarket next time.

  • Worth a look, especially if onion or garlic (or any other veg it might contain) end up being what irritate you. Interestingly my FODMAP book says stocks are one to avoid! Makes me wonder what other differences there are in these books!

  • It does say avoid them in the book but I knew anyway to avoid certain stock cubes but this packet said it was gluten free with natural ingredients etc. I have used others that were okay or thickeners for gravy. The thing is that I was trying to make the shepherds pie bearable for my family as they are eating evening FODMAP diet too! I slipped up, but I think that the key thing here for me is the glucose syrup ingredient as I have had problems with it before and I want to understand the reason why.

  • Flipflop - I retrieved the pack from the recycling and looked at the ingredients of the organic gluten and lactose free stock cubes that I used. What a cocktail of dodgies for FODMAPs! Goodness knows whether it was the glucose syrup after all that I reacted to. Thank you so much for alerting me to this.

  • It's a minefield isn't it! Glad you worked out what it was. I've been using a bit of gluten free soy in some foods to add flavour - an idea if you haven't tried it.

  • You could use real stocks to add flavour to your cooking.

    I make my own chicken stock after we have a roast chicken, which I find fairly easy to do. Just bung the carcass in a pan with a chopped carrot and onion, bay leaf and peppercorns (leave out anything that's not allowed on FODMAPs) and boil for as long as I can be bothered, but usually about three hours. Then I freeze what I'm not going to use immediately in blocks of 250ml, which is roughly equivalent to a stock cube.

    Its hard to get hold of beef bones, but meat juices from a roast are good and it is possible to buy proper beef broth in tins.

  • Thanks Poing - we do make our own stock and I used it as well as the stock cube because as I said earlier I wanted to make it tastier for my family who are sharing the FODMAP evening meal with me! I feel so guilty at inflicting this on them and just wanted to make bland food nicer. Ironically I couldn't eat it because I had reacted earlier but they did! We have a fab butcher who does gluten free sausages and has got some bacon without potassium nitrate for me. He is very helpful.

  • Hi Urbangirl

    A few weeks ago someone posted on this forum that they thought the GF Kallo stock cubes contained glucose syrup made from wheat, so I decided to send them an email to find out

    Here is Kallo's response

    "Thank you for your enquiry.

    I can confirm that the glucose syrup in our Kallo Stock Cubes is derived from wheat.

    Our Kallo Low Salt Stock Cube range does not include Glucose Syrup or Wheat. "

    I then went on to ask why the wheat wasn't labelled

    "It may help if I explain that, ingredients labelled as being derived from Wheat are due to the allergenic properties however Glucose Syrup derived from wheat does not have any allergenic properties and is therefore except from this ruling under EU legislation.

    I hope that this information helps with your enquiry and that we may continue to enjoy the pleasure of your custom in the future. "

    I hope this helps you clarify things a bit more for you, I know what it is like to be constantly wondering why you still don't feel well despite being very strict.

    I have emailed Kallo before and have always found them helpful, I have been using the Kallo GF stock cubes for making gravy and also adding Bovril paste to give more taste, however since I wrote to Kallo and found out the syrup is derived from wheat I haven't used them. I have recently not been eating a lot of food that requires gravy and have noticed that I have started to feel better, so I am wondering whether this is the culprit.

    I wonder whether if enough people emailed them they would derive the syrup from another source ie. corn

    Since going GF I have found that gravy and stock to be the most difficult items to replace and have ended up buying different GF ones only to find that they have an ingredient in them that is causing a reaction and wasting lots of money as well as the frustration of trying to work out why I was feeling ill. I tried making my own beef stock and after hours of cooking, it looked like dishwater and had little taste, although I have successfully made chicken stock.

    Hope you feel better soon

  • Thank you so much Tmoxon for this very informative response. Maybe I am being naive but I am surprised that a company can state that their product is gluten and wheat free but then admit it is not. Extraordinary! People buy these products in good faith. Because I am relatively recently diagnosed I am still learning. My friends have yet to cook for me and I can imagine they would buy Kallo stock thinking it was okay to use. As you probably read I did react to a very small taste of the stuff so goodness knows how I would have felt if I had eaten a whole meal. Like you I find stock (except chicken) difficult to replace and whilst I can probably endure the blandness imposing it on others in my family seems unfair. So to find alternatives would be helpful as it would increase variety in our diet. Thank you for doing the research it has been most helpful to me and reassuring that I am not imagining symptoms.

  • That is my conclusion....

    A company selling a product containing glucose syrup can state that it is gluten free because at the most basic level, gluten is a protein and glucose syrup is a saccharide (ie a sugar). These are different food types - the 3rd type being fatty acids. All 3 have different chemical and biochemical characteristics.

    Wheat ceases to be wheat when it is decomposed into its constituent parts and if not all of the constituent parts are contained in the end product, there is no reason to label the product as containing wheat. If the question was 'is this food derived from wheat' the answer would have to be 'Yes'.

  • Apologies, I have ranted this question before. Why the manufacturers tell you? Simple, they don't have to. In fact the EEC ruling on agriculture states that it isn't necessary for them to list the source of the things that we regularly complain about on GFG.

    The massive agri cartel states on their member website that they do not encourage members to state the origin of glucose syrups etc. The reason is because it meets the current 20 ppm ruling.

    So until things change you either take your chance and monitor your reaction or just ditch any processed food. (You don't know what the food operatives are munching on while making your food anyway. Some students recently told me they ate their lunch on the shop floor.)

    Jamie Oliver has a recipe for making stock using shop bought chicken wings. It's well worth making and freezing in dinner-sized portions. Google it.

  • I vote for ditching processed food. It is clear manufacturers can't be trusted! The worst thing about it is having to convince family and friends that you can't have something labelled GF :-( Stock cubes one of the offending items in question. They start to think you are imagining being ill or that it is attention seeking. It was especially hard when I had to simply say, I don't know why, it just made me ill, but has become a bit easier since joining Gluten Free Guerrillas and finding all these explanations for why I have reacted to things :-) Thank you to everyone who responds here with their research, it is so appreciated. My body knew there was wheat in stock cubes labelled GF and that should have been enough for everyone, but people have a habit of trusting the manufacturers because it's in writing isn't it! If you do buy processed foods, it is worth noting that ingredients can be changed, so you should really read the label every time!!

  • I can agree with that ...(ditching the processed food) but it is difficult for some people to do this. I completely get what you are saying about people thinking you are imagining things or attention seeking. People ask me what symptoms I have ... it is very personal. Someone asked me if it was psychological! However, I am beginning to think that stress played a part somewhere along the line for me. That is because I think I was always gluten intolerant but mega stress tipped the balance and it hit me with a bang. It is so reassuring to share things here. I really appreciate it. And it helps to respond to the people who think I am making it all up. I really, really don't trust manufacturers. And I have not yet eaten out as I don't trust the restaurants either. I have yet to try this.

  • I'm sure that stress can play a big part in health problems and having to be gluten free just adds to the stress. People who aren't coeliac have no idea.

    I haven't found a stock cube I can use. I tend to make something the French call 'mirepoix', a mixture of onion, celery and carrots cooked up together in butter.

    If you feel you can manage to go out to eat It pays to plan in advance. We tend to use independent restaurants rather than chains, where staff can change frequently. We have found several in our area that have gluten free menus, ranging from 'pub grub' to more the expensive. Have a look at the Coeliac societies in your area, they may have a list. There is also a map site which may help.

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