Holiday Indulgence or CSID?
The holidays have arrived! The gatherings, the cookies, the cheer. The holidays have long been a season of indulgence and celebration – a celebration that your gastrointestinal tract may or may not enjoy! Perhaps you have indulged this holiday season and you’ve noticed that you are experiencing more gastrointestinal symptoms than normal. How can you tell if it’s the overindulgence causing symptoms or something more?
Many foods that are eaten during the holiday season are loaded with sucrose (table sugar) and can be naturally occurring or added to processed foods. For example, roasted carrots and parsnips or mashed potatoes found on the holiday table contain naturally occurring sucrose, which is why they taste mildly sweet. However, the cookies and cakes piled high on the dessert table are jam-packed with added sucrose like powdered sugar, maple syrup, and honey.
While a “holiday bloat” may be normal after eating a large meal, symptoms of stomach pain, diarrhea, and excess gas and bloating are not considered normal symptoms. Excess gas and bloating after eating a meal rich in sucrose may indicate that something more is going on in the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, diarrhea after eating sucrose is not considered normal and may be an indication of Sucrose Intolerance caused by Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID).
CSID is a rare condition in which an individual does not produce adequate amounts of the enzyme sucrase-isomaltase. Sucrase is needed to break down the sucrose molecule into the digestible sugars fructose and glucose. Without this enzyme, the body is unable to break sucrose down, so it travels along the gastrointestinal tract intact.
Sucrose Intolerance caused by CSID can cause symptoms of chronic diarrhea, gas and bloating, stomach pain, weight loss, frequent bowel movements, and even vomiting. While many holiday foods are high in sucrose and not well-tolerated by individuals with CSID, lower sucrose options can still be enjoyed.
Traditional pumpkin pie may be out of the question, but a low-sucrose peanut butter pie can still be enjoyed. Moreover, proteins like turkey or lamb can be enjoyed by most individuals with CSID; just be sure that sucrose has not been added to the basting sauce. Lastly, while some holiday side dishes, including traditional mashed potatoes, are high in sucrose, a low-sucrose cauliflower mash can be enjoyed by those with CSID without causing symptoms.
If you believe that CSID is causing your gastrointestinal symptoms, be sure to talk to your physician to receive an accurate diagnosis.
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