The week of April 2 – 8, 2018 is the first National Sucrose Intolerance Week in history. This week was developed in an effort to raise awareness of Sucrose Intolerance, also called Genetic Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency, or GSID. People with GSID have difficulty or are unable to digest common, white table sugar and starch because their bodies lack an important enzyme that allows their digestive system to break down sucrose and starch. The symptoms are similar to the symptoms experienced with other gastrointestinal conditions, so GSID can be very difficult to diagnose as doctors normally consider more common diseases first. Read on to find out how you can learn more about GSID, be involved in celebrating National Sucrose Intolerance Week, and take a quiz to determine if you might suffer from this genetic condition.
What is Sucrose?
Sucrose is the chemical name for white table sugar. Scientifically, it is called a disaccharide, meaning it is made up of two molecules: one part glucose and one part fructose. Sugar is also considered a “simple carbohydrate.” Sucrose is the most common food sweetener used in food processing in the industrialized world. Found naturally in fruits and vegetables, it is extracted from sugar cane or sugar beet and is added to processed foods to enhance sweetness and flavor. Sugar also has many functional uses in food production. It is used as a preservative in many processed foods, like jams and jellies because it blocks spoilage; it preserves the freshness of baked goods by reducing moisture loss; and it is used in the fermentation of beer and wine.
Since sucrose is prevalent in most everything we consume, it is important to know where to look for information on how it is used in food production and which foods contain a high level of natural sucrose. An excellent list can be found on the Sucrose Intolerance website. A more thorough resource for researching food composition is the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, the major source of food composition data in the United States. Managed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the database contains over 8,000 food items, and its information is made available free to the public. While the data for sucrose is not complete, the USDA continues to update the database.
Why is Awareness of Sucrose Intolerance Important?
The lack of awareness of about GSID (Sucrose Intolerance) among medical professionals often delays diagnosis and access to treatment. The lack of awareness in the general population leaves patients and the families of patients feeling isolated and misunderstood. National Sucrose Intolerance Week aims to connect experts, researchers, clinicians, and patients.
What are the Symptoms of Sucrose Intolerance?
In infants and toddlers, Sucrose Intolerance is more commonly known as Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID), and it generally manifests when a child begins drinking formula or eating solid foods. The symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, watery diarrhea, and/or failure to thrive (poor physical growth). Additionally, abdominal swelling, gassiness, colic, irritability, chafed bottom, vomiting, and diaper rash are signs of pediatric Sucrose Intolerance. Unfortunately, these symptoms are similar to other digestive conditions and can lead to a diagnosis of toddler’s diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In adults, the symptoms are similar, but less severe since an adult’s gastrointestinal tract is longer. Symptoms in adults may vary. The symptoms may be limited to an increase in the frequency of bowel movements, abdominal distention, and flatulence. Episodic watery diarrhea may occur upon ingestion of high levels of sucrose. Also, diarrhea may alternate with constipation, which may lead to a misdiagnosis of IBS. But, recurrent symptoms like chronic diarrhea, unexplained abdominal pain, bloating, weight loss, frequent bowel movements, gassiness, abdominal distention, and vomiting should not be ignored.
How Can You Participate in the First National Sucrose Intolerance Week?
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, take the Sucrose Intolerance quiz at https://www.sucroseintolerance.com/quiz. If members of your family or your friends have these symptoms, encourage them to take the quiz. You can also take the quiz for a family member or a friend. Sucrose Intolerance is more prevalent than most people think. Get the facts about sucrose. Download the GSID checklist to bring with you when you visit your doctor so you can discuss any gastrointestinal symptoms you might be experiencing.
For more details on National Sucrose Intolerance Week visit http://www.sucroseintoleranceawareness.org/. You can also help raise awareness of Sucrose Intolerance by using the hashtag #sucroseintoleranceawareness when you post on social media, and by following us on all of our social media sites:
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