Beer and Sucrose
Lager, ale, porter, pilsner, stout, IPA – with so many choices of beer, it is hard to decide which to choose! This is especially true if you have Sucrose Intolerance caused by Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID). In order to understand if consuming beer is okay while following a low-sucrose diet, first we need to understand how beer is created.
Whether brewing 3 gallons at home or 200 gallons at a brewery, producing all beers generally follows the same process. While there are some differences in the types of ingredients used and the timeline duration, the process remains the same.
To begin, malted barley is crushed and mixed with hot water. This mixture, called mash, is held at 150˚F until enzymes are activated and begin to break down the starches into sugars. Various types of sugars are produced during this process and they include maltose, sucrose, and glucose. The amount of each sugar created is determined by the brewer who controls the temperature of the mash and the duration at which the temperature is held.
Next, more hot water is added and a sweet liquid, containing malt flavor, sugars, and tannins are drained out. This sweet liquid, known as wort, is brought to a boil. Hops are then added during this boiling process to offer a bitter or aromatic quality. The wort is then run into a fermenter, where yeast and oxygen are added. During the next 12 hours, the yeast ferments the sugars in the wort.
This step is important to note for those with CSID. CSID is a decreased ability to produce the enzymes needed to digest sucrose and maltose. When those with CSID consume sucrose, many different gastrointestinal symptoms can occur including gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. But, during the beer making process, when yeast is added to the wort, the yeast ferments the sugars and creates ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide. This means that by the time the beer is served to consumers, the sugars are already fermented and degraded, so the final product does not contain sucrose! When yeast is added to the wort, sugar content usually decreases as alcohol content increases.
While most beer does not contain sucrose, remember that any type of alcohol can cause some gut irritation including abdominal discomfort, gas, and nausea. Regardless of a CSID diagnosis, the CDC recommends sticking to a maximum of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. It is also suggested that drinking less is better for overall health.
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