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Sucrose intolerance: Sugar And Stomach Problems

Last updated: Dec 18, 2022 Post in Gastroenterology in Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

Digestive disorders and diseases can affect your life to a great extent and lead to irritating symptoms like diarrhea, gas, bloating, and even pain in the abdomen that disturb your normal routine. People with sucrose intolerance suffer gastrointestinal symptoms after eating foods containing table sugar as they do not have the enzymes needed for sucrose digestion. The gastroenterology doctors at the Century Medical and Dental Center are devoted to analyzing your discomfort and work hard to diagnose the real causes behind your sucrose intolerance. With their considerable study and experience of the digestive system and its potential problems and solutions, the specialists come up with the best treatments and therapies that provide relief for your particular discomfort.

Most people suffering from digestive disorders are intolerant to foods that affect their condition and lead to painful symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. You might be surprised to know how regular white sugar can cause digestive issues and what you need to do to manage your condition better. For people suffering from these symptoms, learning about sucrose intolerance and treating it may help to seek the relief you need.

What Is Sucrose Intolerance?

Sucrose intolerance (SI) is the inability to eat foods that contain sucrose without resulting in any unpleasant symptoms. You may be amazed to know that sucrose is another name for table sugar, commonly white or brown table sugar. It is a disaccharide, which means, it is two individual sugars linked together.

The level of intolerance can vary. Some people experience mild symptoms, while others may experience severe symptoms that disrupt their lives.

To get absorbed in the body, these two linked sugars have to be pulled apart and digested in the body. The enzymes in the body break apart the sugar and make it small enough to be digested the right way. If the sugar-breaking enzymes are missing or their levels are low, it results in sucrose intolerance or the inability of the body to digest the sugars.

Sucrose Intolerance – How It Occurs

Sucrose intolerance has two forms. They are:

Acquired sucrose intolerance

When the gut lining is damaged, it can result in inflammation, disease, and other problems due to which the levels of enzymes that help in digesting sucrose drop very low. It is because these enzymes are stored in the gut, and with damage to the gut lining, enzyme stores decrease.

This form of sucrose intolerance is mostly noticed in conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, SIBO, celiac disease, and other illnesses that may damage the gut lining.

Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID)

It is a condition that is present at birth. Some people do not have the genes to make the enzyme. From infancy, the patient must follow a low sucrose diet.

The symptoms for the genetic or congenital form begin when a baby starts eating or drinking foods that contain sucrose. Babies usually do not show any evidence of intolerance when they are nursing.
Sucrose Intolerance

When Do Symptoms of Sucrose Intolerance Occur?

Symptoms of sucrose intolerance usually occur after eating. It happens because the intestine is full of bacteria and other organisms, part of the microbiome like sugar. When offered a buffet of sugars in foods, these organisms eat and when they consume the sugar, gases are produced. It causes a feeling of bloating and gases, accompanied by pain. In some cases, diarrhea is also a major factor because of the effects sugar has on the intestines.

Symptoms of sucrose intolerance

Most commonly experienced symptoms of sucrose intolerance include:

  • Watery diarrhea;
  • Smelly stools and gas;
  • Chronic abdominal pain;
  • Bloating.

High Sucrose Foods

Sucrose is present in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and sweeteners. The tolerance of these foods depends on the number of foods you eat. Eating sucrose in small amounts is not a problem but if you ingest these foods in large quantities, it may result in unwelcome symptoms.

Fruits that contain sucrose include:

  • Apples;
  • Bananas;
  • Dates;
  • Grapefruit;
  • Honeydew melon;
  • Peaches;
  • Pineapples;
  • Raisins.

Vegetables that contain sucrose include:

  • Beans;
  • Lentils;
  • Peas;
  • Sweet pickles.

Sweeteners that contain sucrose are:

  • Brown sugar;
  • Cane sugar;
  • Maple sugar;
  • Molasses;
  • Table sugar.

Starches/Carbohydrates rich in sucrose include:

  • Breakfast cereal;
  • Granola bars;
  • Muffins;
  • Cookies;
  • Pudding;
  • Pies;
  • Jam;
  • Rice;
  • Potatoes;
  • Pasta;
  • Bread.

It is necessary to know that sucrose intolerance is common while there are no apparent reasons for it. Anyone with underlying digestive problems can develop acquired sucrose intolerance.

Learning to live with your gastrointestinal symptoms and accepting the issues as normal is key to living a healthy life. Infants and children also face similar symptoms, but as the adult gastrointestinal tract is long, it makes the symptoms more frequent and severe for them.

Adult symptoms lead to increased frequency of loose stools, abdominal distention, and flatulence. Many people experience episodic watery diarrhea when ingesting foods containing high levels of sucrose. Sometimes, diarrhea may alternate with constipation. It makes it a challenge for medical professionals to diagnose this condition accurately and suggest the best treatment options.

Diagnosing Sucrose Intolerance and Stomach Problems

Your primary care doctor will detect your intolerance to sugar and stomach disorders by eliminating possible causes of symptoms. They will look for conditions such as infection, celiac disease, SIBO, or other bowel disorders.

When the underlying problems are discovered, and if sucrose intolerance is present, it becomes easy to treat and improve stomach problems resulting from it.

The most accurate test to diagnose SI is an intestinal biopsy. This procedure is not common as it requires anesthesia and has associated risks. It is more likely to be done for congenital sucrose intolerance as it is a lifelong condition and needs more care. A few tissue samples are collected from the small intestine and tested for the presence of enzymes that are required for digesting sucrose.

Other ways to test for SI

There are a few other methods for diagnosing sucrose. They include:

  • Enzyme supplement;
  • Monitoring urine for sucrose;
  • Genetic testing.

Managing Sugar Intolerance

Keeping a track of everything that you eat throughout the day can help figure out what type of sugar is causing the intolerance. Understanding what is causing the problem can eliminate these trigger foods from the diet.

If you are allergic to sugar, you may have to remove other foods that are mixed with sugar or contain certain types of sugar to avoid reactions. In addition to this, if you are intolerant to sugar, you must stay away from sugar unless you get tested and accurately diagnosed.

Sugar Substitutes

Many people who are intolerant to a specific type of sugar may not face any adverse reaction to certain sugar substitutes. These substitutes include:

  • Xylitol;
  • Stevia;
  • Saccharin;
  • Aspartame.

It is important to note that sugar substitutes may have health implications that people should know about. Health experts suggest that artificial sweeteners can result in glucose intolerance. They might not be a good choice in the long run.

They may ask people to eliminate fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates from their diet and keep a food diary. The doctor will observe your progress and recommend the best solutions that keep away sucrose intolerance and other food allergies.

Do not ignore recurring symptoms like chronic diarrhea, unexplained abdominal pain, gas and bloating, weight loss, and frequent bowel movements, as they may be a warning sign of sucrose intolerance. Gassiness, abdominal distending, and vomiting are sometimes accompanied by intense sucrose intolerance. Schedule an appointment with experienced and top-rated gastroenterologists at the Century Medical and Dental Center to learn more about what could be causing these symptoms. The doctors who specialize in digestive issues use a variety of diagnostic tests to figure out the exact causes behind your condition and suggest the best preventative and treatment options to enhance your quality of life.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 18, 2022 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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