What is Sugar Intolerance?
Sucrose intolerance, also called genetic sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (GSID), is one form of sugar intolerance. People with sucrose intolerance have a deficiency in sucrase, the enzyme that breaks sucrose (table sugar) into glucose and fructose.
|Sugar Found in Food||Digestive Enzyme||Simple Sugars After Enzyme Action|
|Sucrose (table sugar)||sucrase||glucose and fructose|
Sucrose Intolerance and Sugar Allergy Are Not the Same
When people with sucrose intolerance consume high-sucrose foods, they experience symptoms that include stomach pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Many people with this condition are also not able to digest maltose — the sugar found mainly in starchy foods like bread, cereals, and crackers — because they also do not have enough maltase activity.
However, with a sugar allergy, the body’s immune system responds with an allergic reaction that may include clogged sinuses, headaches, runny nose, redness of the skin, or rashes and hives in addition to stomach cramps and nausea. Severe food allergies can cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis, which may include swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat; shortness of breath; a sudden drop in blood pressure; racing heartbeat; and loss of consciousness.
Diet Modifications Can Help
People with an intolerance to sucrose must avoid many foods containing sucrose to manage their symptoms. Adopting a whole-foods diet, eliminating processed foods, and cooking at home using sucrose-free ingredients is a good start. It is also important to avoid or limit consumption of several fruits, juices, and vegetables that contain natural sucrose. Pharmaceutical therapy is also available to help manage symptoms.
If you suffer from bloating, gas, diarrhea, or stomach pain after eating foods that contain sugar, you need to be seen by a specialist to determine which sugar your body is not digesting properly. A correct diagnosis ensures that you can identify the foods you need to limit or avoid so you can manage your symptoms.
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