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Intolerance to Sucrose

By Diane Marks

A sucrose intolerance is the result of a lack of the proper enzymes and proteins used to digest sucrose. Sucrose is the general term for sugar. Your doctor may be able to identify specific sugars that you can and cannot tolerate, such as fructose or lactose. These conditions are commonly confused with a food allergy, a different medical condition that affects the immune system. If you experience unpleasant symptoms after eating certain foods, talk with your doctor.

Fructose Intolerance

When you eat, your small intestines create certain enzymes that breakdown the proteins and sugars found in the food. If you have a digestive enzyme deficiency, your body doesn’t create enough enzymes to effectively process the food, leading to common food intolerance symptoms. If you have a sucrose intolerance, your body lacks the proper digestive enzymes and proteins to properly digest certain sugars.

Symptoms

Symptoms from sucrose intolerance affect the digestive tract. Most symptoms will develop between 20 and 30 minutes after eating or drinking the food product containing sucrose. Common symptoms include bloating, gas, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, floating stools and foul-smelling stools, according to MayoClinic.com. Severe symptoms can lead to excessive weight loss, dehydration and malabsorption.

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Treatment

There is no cure for sucrose intolerance, but it can be managed. The most effective treatment for a food intolerance is to identify the foods you are intolerant of and avoid them. Use alternatives in place of the food you have an intolerance toward. For example, your doctor may recommend the use of artificial sweeteners or other forms of sugar that you can tolerate. Your doctor may prescribe an enzyme supplement to be taken at the first bite of the food you have an intolerance with.

Consideration

Because food intolerances and food allergies can have similar symptoms, talk to your doctor for a proper diagnosis. A food allergy is unrelated to digestive enzymes and is a malfunction of the immune system, according to MayoClinic.com. Your immune system mistakes otherwise safe proteins in foods as harmful and attacks them. If you have a food allergy, you will experience other symptoms aside from just gastrointestinal issues. Food allergy symptoms include skin rashes, facial swelling and asthma.

Diet Modification

Your doctor may recommend a modified diet to manage your symptoms. The American College of Gastroenterology recommends eating a balanced diet, full of fruits vegetables, nuts, whole grains and seeds. Drink at least six, 8 oz. glasses of water daily.

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