Is Sucrose Bad for the Body?
Sucrose, or table sugar, gets a bad rap in our society. Used to sweeten a wide variety of processed foods, it has been linked to everything from dental cavities to obesity and heart disease.
But sucrose also occurs naturally in a wide variety of healthy foods. It helps makes fruits like apples and oranges taste sweet and puts the “sweet” in sweet potatoes. Good-for-you foods like these provide valuable vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Most health experts believe that all foods can have a place in a healthy diet. In the case of sucrose, foods containing the naturally occurring kind (produce, such as vegetables, beans and legumes, and more) are a staple of a nutritious lifestyle, while items containing the added variety (candy, cakes, and other sweets) are recommended in limited quantities as a special treat.
But for people with a condition called Sucrose Intolerance caused by Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID), sucrose in any form can cause an array of unpleasant symptoms.
What is Sucrose Intolerance?
Sucrose Intolerance is a disorder of the small intestine that limits a person’s ability to break down sucrose. People with the condition lack or have low levels of the functioning form of digestive enzymes, sucrase or isomaltase, which are needed to digest sucrose. The result: gastrointestinal symptoms, such as stomach pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
What Foods Are High in Sucrose?
It can be challenging to avoid sucrose, considering it is found in so many items, whether they’re nutrition-packed whole foods or indulgent, once-in-a-while treats. Below are several examples of a list of high-sucrose foods.
Fruits are one of the main types of foods containing sucrose. The following fruits tend to contain the most sucrose:
Grapefruit, oranges, and other citrus fruits
Tropical fruits, such as pineapple, mangos, and guava
The following vegetables are high in sucrose:
Beans and Legumes
Many beans and legumes are high in sucrose, including:
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
In terms of added ingredients, sucrose is found in many processed foods. If you spot the following words on an ingredient label, the food contains sucrose:
Cane juice, caramel
Corn syrup solids
Modified tapioca starch
So, Is Sucrose Bad for the Body?
In addition to bloating and gas after meals, symptoms of Sucrose Intolerance include watery diarrhea, stomach pain, frequent bowel movements, and sometimes vomiting. Besides being extremely unpleasant and causing those affected to feel self-conscious, these symptoms can lead to weight loss and vitamin deficiency. If this is you, you may likely answer, “Yes!” when people ask, “Is sucrose bad for the body?”
But with some strategic dietary swaps and changes, people with Sucrose Intolerance can avoid foods that are high in sucrose.
The Bottom Line
If consuming sucrose causes you to experience bloating, gas, diarrhea, or stomach pain on a regular basis, you may have Sucrose Intolerance. Take the CSID quiz* and share your results with your physician. You may be asked to record your dietary intake and symptoms before your appointment, enabling your physician to recommend further testing that may be needed. *This quiz is not a diagnostic.
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