Elimination Diets, Like Low-FODMAP, Might Not Work If You Have Sucrose Intolerance
Are you having stomach pains and diarrhea and cannot seem to get any relief? Sometimes it is hard to figure out what is going on. You may need to look at your diet.
For example, patients with lactose intolerance (cannot digest milk and other products made with the sugar, lactose) typically have diarrhea, stomach cramps, and gas after eating anything made with lactose. The way to manage this condition is to eliminate lactose. Alternatively, people who eat lactose products but also take over-the-counter lactase, which is the enzyme that digests lactose, can minimize their symptoms.
Similarly, if you have any type of gluten sensitivity, you may try to avoid gluten. Avoiding gluten can be more difficult but with increased awareness of gluten sensitivity, many food manufacturers have appropriately labeled food so you can readily tell if it contains gluten.
So what happens if you think you have a Sucrose Intolerance, also known as Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID)?
People with CSID cannot digest sucrose, also known as table sugar. The typical American consumes about 60% of their calories in the form of carbohydrates, or sugars and starches, with about 30% of the carbohydrate calories coming from sucrose and about 60% from starch.1 Trying to avoid sucrose is difficult and even someone’s best effort to avoid sucrose will likely come up short.
Some clinicians recommend an elimination diet, like the low-FODMAP diet, to help patients with undiagnosed and recurring stomach problems. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. FODMAP foods represent certain types of foods that contain a variety of sugars and grains. The purpose of the low-FODMAP diet is to eliminate many types of foods and then add back a FODMAP food, one at a time, to determine if the food is the cause of your stomach problems. While the low-FODMAP diet does a good job in eliminating many types of sugars, it does not eliminate all sources of sucrose. Therefore, if you have CSID, the low-FODMAP diet will not help you.
CSID symptoms are similar to many other gastrointestinal problems, which makes it hard for even experienced physicians to diagnose. Some people with CSID may have diarrhea and some may have stomach pain, while others may have both or even completely different gastrointestinal symptoms.
If you think you may have CSID, then it is recommended to seek a gastroenterologist who is knowledgeable about CSID and knows how to appropriately diagnose it. Your doctor can tell you if you have CSID and can work with you to help best manage your condition.