How to Explain Sucrose Intolerance to Friends and Family

How to Explain Sucrose Intolerance to Friends and Family

If you have sucrose intolerance, it is your choice how much you share with others about your medical condition. You do not owe anyone an explanation since it may be embarrassing to talk about the gastrointestinal symptoms associated with sucrose intolerance.  It is for you – and no one else – to decide.

However, there may be situations where you need to share some information about your condition. For example, if someone is cooking for you or is hosting you, it may be necessary to explain that you are following a low-sucrose diet or avoiding certain foods. Or you may find yourself in social situations where disclosing your condition is preferable to providing no explanation.

Do certain foods cause you to experience gas, bloating, and chronic diarrhea?

For that reason, it is wise to have a response prepared in advance. For most people who are not medically trained, it makes sense to start with a concept they are already familiar with, like lactose intolerance. If someone were to ask you about your diagnosis, you could say something like, “I’m sure you have heard of lactose intolerance where people can’t eat dairy products because they don’t have the enzyme that breaks down the sugar in dairy products. My situation is similar except my body doesn’t make enough sucrase, the enzyme that breaks down sucrose which is basic table sugar. That means I have sucrose intolerance.”

For many people, this is enough information to share. For close friends and family or for those people who seem to be more interested, you can provide more detail such as, “In sucrose intolerance, my body doesn’t make enough sucrase in the small intestine. Sucrase is the enzyme that breaks down sucrose. Due to the lack of sucrase, I can experience uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea when I consume sucrose. Sometimes I also have to limit my consumption of starch.”

For children and teenagers with sucrose intolerance, simpler responses can be used such as, “Sugar doesn’t agree with me” or “Sugar makes me sick.”

Sucrose intolerance is not a concept that many people are familiar with. Educating others can be empowering for someone with sucrose intolerance.


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Sucrose Intolerance May Be More Common Than You Think