South Beach Diet - Oh, no. Hidden crap in cough syrup.

Fat Melanie
11-18-2009, 01:16 AM
I was taking generic cough syrup at night, I have a bad cold and cough. I just read the ingredients and saw HFCS listed. I took a dose last night and a dose just now.

It doesn't say how much HCFS or sugars are in it. I'm not sure what to think. I stayed OP yesterday and today, so that's good. I went to sleep after taking the med last night so cravings weren't an issue... what should I do about it?

11-18-2009, 01:47 AM
I say drink a hot toddy instead...but I have a feeling that isn't the answer you are looking for.

11-18-2009, 02:15 AM
What is(are) the active ingredient(s) in the cough syrup? Most contain guaifenesin and/or Dextromethorphan (the DM in Robitussin DM, and other cough medications).

These ingredients can be purchased seperately or together in a capsule, caplet, or tablet form.

Mucinex or Mucinex DM tablets (actually the Walmart or Walgreen generic version) is what I use when I need a cough med or have "gunk" issues like sinus drainage and postnasal drip. I have high blood pressure, so I can't take the DM for more than 3 or 4 days without a doctor's ok (per the pharmacist).

However, I almost never use otc cough and cold meds any more, because I found more natural remedies that work BETTER.

The first and best... HOT PEPPERS (chemically related to the guaifenesin, but not only does it thin mucus, it does seem to ease the cough as well.

I don't chow on peppers, I heat a can of low fat chicken broth and add seasonings I like such as garlic and ginger (they're supposed to help - but mostly I add them because I like the flavor) and some kind of pepper or hot sauce - cayenne powder, chili flakes, hot sauce or chili paste, or sometimes fresh or canned jalapenos. Add as much or as little as you can stand, and if that isn't much try to boost it a little each time you make it.

Only for hardcore chili lovers (and even then, you may not like it) - cayenne lemonade.

I don't object to sugar substitutes, so I use a sugar free lemonade (or other Crystal Light style drinkmix - I use Walmart or Aldi's generic - pink lemonade usually) or sometimes make my own lemon or lime "shakeup" with splenda and cut,squeezed fruit - vitamin C and all), and then add cayenne pepper.

I read this remedy in a magazine and it suggested microwaving the cayenne lemonade and drinking it hot. I don't like it hot, but it's ok cold (not my favorite beverage, but BOY does it work). I add a bit of grated ginger, if I have it.

Crazy remedies, but they work SO much better than the otc cough syrups, I can't go back to store bought.

And yep, if I can't get rid of a cough - especially if it's that "tickle" in the back of the throat that drives you crazy - alcohol of some kind seems to do the trick faster than anything - something fairly high proof. A tablespoon or two at most (not even a full shot) usually is plenty to stop the cough, generally works fine (any more than that and I'm going to get sleepy - I'm a real featherweight when alcohol is involved. One standard drink, and I'm ready for a nap).

11-18-2009, 06:48 AM
IMO there's a big difference between grabbing a drink or snack with HFCS in it and taking a dose of medicine in order to feel better.

So far it hasn't caused cravings, you've been able to stay on plan and you're sleeping better. Colds don't last forever, a couple of more doses and hopefully you won't need it any longer.

If you can find something to help your cold/cough without the corn syrup of course that's what you should go with, but if the cough syrup is the only thing that's working for you right now I'd say be realistic, use the medication as needed and don't worry about it.

Get well soon! :hug:

11-18-2009, 07:03 AM
Kaplods - great ideas. Thanks for sharing these. I'm definitely saving them for if/when I need them.

I swear by tea made with fresh ginger (lots),fresh lemon juice, and some sweetener (I use agave). This is more Phase 2 friendly but better than HFCS for me (major trigger for me). If I needed more I'd take a capsule with it but I never do.

Mel - I'd recommend going really easy on the cheese until the chest gook clears up some. That should help a little too. Hope you're on the mend. Nothing worse than being sick when you have a little one to care for.

11-18-2009, 10:44 AM
FM, Dr. A made it clear in an old daily dish that when you have a cold, you should try your best to just take care of the cold and start back on P1 (if necessary) when you're better. Here's a thread ( being sick, and here's the original daily dish post ( Here's an additional post ( comfort food while sick.

However, they do make sugar-free cough syrups and cough drops for diabetics. You have to look for them, but they are out there.

For now, work on getting better. If you have cravings when you are healthy again, just jump on to P1 for 3-5 days until the cravings go away. Okay?

Fat Melanie
11-18-2009, 01:08 PM
I am off the cough syrup as of today, it really doesn't work. All it did was make me sleepy, and then it was very hard to get up this morning. (not good with a toddler!) The good thing is, I think I'm getting over the cold (it's lasted maybe 2 weeks now, although probably not THAT long) and so I feel I am able to continue Phase 1 with no problems. I like the ideas of the drinks with lemons, gingers, and cayennes.. and the broths... I have read cayenne works because it numbs the nerves a little? Or something like that. Good ideas guys. I love sipping on broths with something a little spicy, it does clear out my sinuses...

Thanks again. I won't freak out over the cough syrup, I'll just put it behind me and keep truckin on.

Those are good threads, Beachgal! :) Sounds like some good tips.