Is My Child a Picky Eater?
Many kids go through a “picky eating” phase, refusing certain foods – or even entire food groups – or only agreeing to eat the same foods every day. A recent survey found that picky eating can be a normal part of infancy and childhood. In one study that followed 120 children between ages 2 to 11 years, 13 to 22 percent of the children were characterized at any given time by their parents as picky eaters.
While picky eating may simply be the result of a child being more sensitive to certain tastes, textures, or smells, it could also be a symptom of a food intolerance, or perhaps a more significant medical disorder.
For instance, it may seem unusual if your child is shying away from foods that contain the sugar sucrose, foods that children normally favor. Sucrose is a naturally occurring carbohydrate often found in produce and legumes. It’s also frequently added to processed foods such as ice cream, candy, and sweetened beverages.
Examples of foods that contain sucrose include breakfast cereals; starchy vegetables; sweet potatoes; beans; typical childhood fruit favorites, such as apples, bananas, and cantaloupe; and even candy and ice cream. If your child is avoiding these foods, Sucrose Intolerance due to Congenital Sucrase Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID) may be the culprit.
Here’s another clue: Does your child often experience symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea after eating? If so – keep reading.
What is Sucrose Intolerance caused by CSID?
Sucrose Intolerance caused by CSID is a disorder of the small intestine that limits a person’s ability to break sucrose (table sugar) down into glucose and fructose so it can be absorbed. When sucrose is not broken down and absorbed, it is common for symptoms, such as belly pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea to show up soon after consuming sucrose. Children who are not yet potty-trained may develop diarrhea-related diaper rash.
Could your “picky eater” have CSID?
Symptoms of CSID sometimes first appear in infants when they begin ingesting sucrose- and starch-containing foods, such as solid foods, fruit juices, milk-based formula, and medications sweetened with sucrose. For this reason, breastfed infants may not show symptoms of the disorder until a milk-based formula or solid foods are introduced into their diet.
Chronic abdominal pain and watery diarrhea are common symptoms of CSID in infants and children. Abdominal distention (swelling), vomiting, irritability, gassiness, diaper rash, and excoriated buttocks (abrasions and irritation) may also signal pediatric CSID. Children with CSID also may exhibit poor physical growth, also called failure to thrive.
In younger children, CSID is frequently misdiagnosed as chronic, nonspecific diarrhea, also called “toddler’s diarrhea.” But unlike toddler’s diarrhea, diarrhea resulting from CSID doesn’t go away and could signal something isn’t right with your child’s digestive system. Older children may be told they have irritable bowel syndrome, which shares many symptoms with CSID.
CSID is a genetic disease that infants and children cannot outgrow. Is there a reason why your “picky eater” child is refusing to eat certain foods? It might be an indicator of CSID. Take the CSID quiz on your child’s behalf and ask your healthcare provider about CSID.