Could You Be Allergic to Sugar?

Could You Be Allergic to Sugar?

What do apples, apricots, bananas, beets, black beans, and desserts such as pie and ice cream have in common? They’re just several entries in a long list of foods that are high in added or naturally occurring sucrose (table sugar).

If you have Sucrose Intolerance caused by Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID), you will likely experience symptoms, such as cramps, abdominal pain, gassiness, and watery diarrhea after consuming foods with sugar. You might think you’re allergic to sugar, but that’s not exactly what’s going on. Your suspected allergic reaction to sugar is actually a sugar intolerance.

How is it possible to have symptoms of an intolerance to sugar, but not symptoms of a sugar allergy? Read on to brush up on your “sweet smarts.”

Can Someone Be Allergic to Sugar?

As you know, the short answer to that question is “No.” It’s not possible for anyone to be allergic to sugar or experience symptoms of a sugar allergy.

Here’s why. In an allergy to a food, protein is the culprit. During an allergic reaction to food – common food allergens include eggs, nuts, soy, fish, or shellfish – the body’s immune system misfires and misinterprets the protein in the food as harmful.

If you’re allergic to one or more of these common food allergens, you may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting if you eat foods you are allergic to. You may also experience anaphylaxis, which can range from relatively mild symptoms, such as a tingling or itchy mouth, hives, itchy skin or eczema, to more severe symptoms, such as swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body; wheezing; stuffiness or trouble breathing; dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.

But sugar doesn’t contain protein. That’s why you can’t experience an allergic reaction to sugar.

Intolerance to Sugar vs Allergic Reaction to Sugar

But it is possible to have an intolerance to sugar. Here’s why. To digest foods containing sugar, your body needs the enzyme sucrase. If you have CSID, something you’re born with, you naturally don’t produce enough of a form of sucrase that works. Consequently, your body can’t digest sugary foods properly. When you consume foods containing sugar, you may experience symptoms, such as cramps, abdominal pain, gassiness, and watery diarrhea.

Symptom Solutions

Some symptoms of CSID and food allergies may overlap: both conditions may cause abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea. This is why differentiating between a food allergy and a food intolerance can be confusing. It’s important to get answers, to know which direction to take to address your symptoms.

Could you or a family member have CSID? Take the quiz to find out if what you’re experiencing could be sugar intolerance.

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Sucrose Intolerance May Be More Common Than You Think