Celebrate National Sucrose Intolerance Week April 2 through April 8 to raise awareness about the unmet needs of people living with the condition.
People who have sucrose intolerance suffer from abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea because they lack sufficient digestive enzymes to properly digest sucrose (table sugar) and starch found in many foods.
Four Myths About Sucrose Intolerance, Busted
To celebrate Sucrose Intolerance Awareness Week, here are four health myths about the disease, debunked:
1. Myth: It’s easy to diagnose sucrose intolerance.
Truth: Sucrose intolerance is tricky to diagnose. Many of the symptoms – like bloating, gas, stomach pain after eating, diarrhea, and constipation – are also present in other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. The gold standard test, the disaccharidase assay, requires an upper endoscopy procedure to sample tissue from the small intestine. Several other testing methods are also available to aid in diagnosis.
2. Myth: You’ll just grow out of it.
Truth: Sucrose intolerance, also called Genetic Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (GSID), is caused by a genetic mutation present from birth that results in a lack of digestive enzyme activity in the small intestine. Babies with the disease may not show symptoms until they start consuming formula or solid foods. Symptoms may become less severe in adults, but it’s not possible to just grow out of the disease. Lifelong dietary intervention to avoid eating foods high in sucrose and pharmaceutical therapy might be necessary to manage symptoms
3. Myth: The low-FODMAP diet can reduce symptoms of sucrose intolerance.
Truth: The low-FODMAP diet was developed for people with irritable bowel syndrome. It is not recommended for people with sucrose intolerance because it’s not a low-sucrose diet. It recommends eliminating foods high in lactose and fructose while still allowing many foods that are high in sucrose including maple syrup, rice malt syrup, table sugar (100 percent sucrose), carrots, pineapple, cantaloupe, and oranges. People with sucrose intolerance who follow a low-FODMAP diet may still experience uncomfortable symptoms
4. Myth: You can see how much sucrose is in foods by reading the nutrition facts chart.
Truth: The nutrition facts chart shows the exact amount of sugar in grams. That “sugar” can include sucrose, lactose (milk sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), glucose, maltose (a simple sugar broken down from starch), and galactose (a simple sugar broken down from lactose). You can only tell what kind of sugar is in a food by reading the ingredient list. People with sucrose intolerance must avoid eating the following sweeteners because they all require sufficient sucrase enzyme activity for proper digestion: beet sugar, brown sugar, cane juice, cane sugar, caramel, coconut sugar, confectioner’s sugar, date sugar, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and sugar.
4-4-4 Oral Sugar Challenge
Do you think you might have sucrose intolerance? You may want to consider taking the 4-4-4 Oral Sugar Challenge, a short, non-invasive test you can perform in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Here’s how to take the test:
- Step 1: Stir 4 tablespoons of ordinary table sugar into a 4-ounce glass of water. Mix until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Step 2: Drink it on an empty stomach.
- Stp 3: See if symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea occur during the next 4 to 8 hours. If the symptoms appear; this suggests sucrose intolerance is possible. Make a note of how you feel soon after ingesting the test liquid.
- Step 4: Follow-up with your doctor to review your symptom and discuss other tests that can help aid in the diagnosis of GSID.
Please consider these important warnings before you take the 4-4-4 Oral Sugar Challenge:
- If you do have sucrose intolerance, you may experience SEVERE SYMPTOMS. This test can cause relatively severe gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Take the challenge on a weekend or day when your symptoms will not cause you to miss work or other important events.
- This challenge should not be given to infants, very young children, people with severe symptoms, or people who have diabetes. If you are considering taking the 4-4-4 challenge, speak to your healthcare provider to make sure you are safely able to handle the test.
- The 4-4-4 Sugar Challenge is not a diagnostic test and cannot be used to confirm sucrose intolerance. Only a physician can tell you if your symptoms are caused by Genetic Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (GSID). Your healthcare provider can use several other tests to help confirm a diagnosis.
Raise Awareness for Sucrose Intolerance
Want to do something sweet? Help us increase awareness of sucrose intolerance the first week of April 2018! Tweet or post to Facebook or Instagram using these hashtags: #SucroseIntoleranceAwareness, #444test, #SugarChallenge. You can also visit the official website for National Sucrose Intolerance Awareness Week at www.sucroseintoleranceawareness.org.
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