Can Karo syrup help treat constipation?
In this article, we examine the use of Karo syrup as a constipation remedy for adults and children. There are a few different types of Karo syrup, but the main type in this article is regular corn syrup rather than light or dark corn syrup.
Karo syrup and constipation
Karo is a type of corn syrup that has a laxative effect.
People mainly use Karo syrup in recipes to keep food moist and prevent sugar crystallization.
Karo syrup is a commercial corn syrup derived from the starch of maize.
Corn syrup is an old home remedy for constipation. It has a laxative effect due to the action of corn syrup in the intestines.
Certain sugar proteins in corn syrup help to lock moisture into stools. Dietitians recommend including soluble fiber in the diet for similar reasons.
This moisture keeps stools from drying out and compacting. The syrup can help speed up the time it takes for stool to pass from the colon.
At the turn of the century, dark corn syrup often helped to achieve this laxative effect, as it contained a larger number of these proteins when compared to other types.
However, the dark corn syrup of today has important structural differences to the corn syrup at the turn of the century. As a result, it may not be as effective in treating constipation. This is why people nowadays use a regular corn syrup, such as Karo.
People seeking organic ingredients should not use Karo syrup to treat constipation, as manufacturers of these products make them from genetically modified corn.
Is Karo syrup safe for young children?
Some healthcare professionals recommend feeding infants Karo syrup to prevent or treat constipation.
However, corn syrup is not sterile. As a result, they might contain harmful levels of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum). These bacteria can cause a rare and sometimes fatal illness called botulism.
Karo syrup may also increase the risk of dental cavities developing in older infants. As such, the syrup is not suitable for children.
On top of any health risks, infants often do not require active treatment for constipation.
Preventing and treating constipation in infants is often as simple as making small dietary changes. Adding more fresh fruit or fiber-rich foods to the newborn diet is often enough to soften the stool.
One simple remedy is to give infants 1 ounce of apple or pear juice per day for about the first 4 months of life. Increasing the intake of nutrtious fluids and avoiding cow's milk may also be helpful for older infants.
A glycerin suppository may sometimes help constipation relief in young children. If symptoms persist despite home management and treatment, seek medical advice and treatment from a qualified professional.
What should an infant's bowel habits be like?
Bowel habits can vary greatly between young children.
Infants normally empty their bowels once a day and sometimes after every meal. An infant might also go days without a single bowel movement.
There is generally no cause for concern as long as the child is still eating and gaining weight.
Solid, hardened poop can mean that the infant is constipated, however, and may require treatment or a qualified medical opinion.
Other home remedies
Adding fiber to the diet is recommended for infants, children, and adults.
Constipation is a common but highly treatable health problem.
While Karo syrup is a good option for adults, other remedies are safer for children.
While medications and laxatives are available for people with severe or chronic constipation, people may prefer to manage the condition with lifestyle and dietary changes before taking medication.
Some measures include:
- staying hydrated by drinking more water, which stops stools drying out
- adding fiber to the diet, especially soluble fiber that the body digests with greater ease, such as psyllium
- drinking caffeinated coffee, which stimulates movements in the gut
- eat probiotic foods, containing bacteria that might improve the balance of micro-organisms in the stomach, which can ease digestive processes
- talking to a doctor about changing any medications that might be causing constipation
While these can all be effective measures, a balanced, diet and active lifestyle are the best methods of ensuring smooth digestive processes and avoiding constipation.
Constipation is difficulty passing stools, and people have long used Karo regular corn syrup to promote the smoother passing of stools.
Certain proteins in Karo syrups have a laxative effect. However, they are a genetically modified (GM) food and would not be suitable for people who choose a non-GM diet.
Karo syrup is also unsterilized, meaning that it contains bacteria that can cause botulism in younger children and infants. As a result, people should find alternative ways to stimulate laxative action.
This can be as simple as minor dietary adjustments.
Are there other brands of corn syrup that have the same effect as Karo?
Karo is a brand of corn syrup made from the starch of corn. There are many other brands available.Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.