Eight Facts on Sucrose Intolerance

Sucrose is commonly known as table sugar, the white stuff. This sugar is found is hundreds of natural foods, like apples, and in processed foods, like ice cream. Sucrose is a disaccharide sugar molecule, which is a combination of two monosaccharide sugar molecules glucose and fructose. It is estimated that 1 in 5000 people of European descent have sucrose intolerance, more formally known as Genetic Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (GSID). Sucrose intolerance (GSID) is the condition in which sucrase-isomaltase, an enzyme needed for proper metabolism of sucrose and starch (i.e., grains and rice), is not produced or the enzyme produced is either partially functional or non-functional in the small intestine. The result can be uncomfortable and painful symptoms. Sucrose intolerance is sometimes mistaken for other sugar intolerances, such as fructose or lactose, and gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome. Here are eight facts that you should know about sucrose and sucrose intolerance.

  1. Common symptoms of sucrose intolerance (GSID) are excess gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and/or vomiting.
  2. Symptoms of sucrose intolerance (GSID) in infants and children are chronic abdominal pain, watery diarrhea, failure to thrive (poor physical growth), abdominal swelling, gassiness, colic, irritability, vomiting and diaper rash.
  3. Here is a detailed list of foods high in sucrose. Some offenders are apple juice, flavored coffee creamer and packaged pasta sauce.
  4. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are: 150 calories per day for men (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons), 100 calories per day for women (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).
  5. Every case of sucrose intolerance (GSID) is unique, so no one diet works for all. Patients with GSID will need to work with their physician and a registered dietitian (RD) to develop an individualized diet to meet their specific needs. In general, dietary treatment for GSID is focused on sugar (sucrose) and starch (isomaltose and maltose) restrictions. The degree of restriction is patient-specific.
  6. After an initial two-week sucrose elimination diet is completed, sucrose-containing foods are gradually added back to the diet to determine how much sucrose can be tolerated. It is recommended that only one new food be re-introduced into the diet every three to five days before adding the next new food.
  7. This is a list of fruits and vegetables that are usually well-tolerated and not tolerated by people with sucrose intolerance (GSID).
  8. Working with a registered dietitian who understands sucrose intolerance (GSID) is crucial for dietary success. The RD will teach you how to effectively write and manage a food log/diary, and how to slowly introduce foods back into your diet.

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