My Doctor Said to Cut out Sucrose – I Don’t Use Sugar, so What Am I Missing?
When you’ve been advised to cut sucrose out of your diet, it’s important to understand the tests and diagnoses that led to your doctor’s recommendation. There are a variety of “sugars” in the diet, and different sugars are eliminated based on different tests and diagnoses.
If sucrose is the cause of your gastrointestinal problems, then cutting “table sugar” out of your diet may help alleviate symptoms. Many people have pushed the sugar bowl away, but sugar is found in many other foods.
The more obvious sources of sugar are found in baked goods, such as cakes, pies, cookies, and pastries. Candy is another common source of sugar. However, there are also many hidden sources of sugar, primarily in processed (packaged) foods found in the American diet. Sucrose also occurs naturally in some fruits, juices and vegetables.
Learning to read food labels is helpful when comparing the type and amount of sugar in different products. If sucrose is the only diet restriction you have, then products containing other sugars, such as fructose may be a good substitution.
Ingredients to avoid on a low-sucrose diet include beet sugar, brown sugar, cane juice, cane sugar, caramel, coconut sugar, confectioner’s sugar, date sugar, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, and table sugar.
Contrary to what you may be thinking, a low-sucrose diet can still include a variety of great tasting foods, including desserts! Recipes can be revised by substituting dextrose or fructose for table sugar. In addition, some of the low-sucrose fruits that can usually be enjoyed on a low-sucrose diet include berries, grapes, pears, and kiwi. Most juices should be avoided, but a 4-ounce serving of grape, pear, or tomato juice may be tolerated. A few vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and corn contain sucrose and may need to be avoided.
Don’t forget about all the other good foods you can eat. Fresh, lean protein from seafood, turkey, chicken, pork, beef, eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt can be included. Grab some sucrose-free or plain yogurt and add dextrose or fructose and fresh berries.
Healthy fats may also be included. Avocados, olives, and canola or olive oil add satisfying flavors. Round out your meals with lots of fresh vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, leafy greens, spinach, and squash. Raw vegetables, like celery, cucumber, lettuce, mushrooms, peppers, radishes, and tomatoes can also be included.
For more specific information on following a low-sucrose diet, speak with a registered dietitian.