A spoonful of sugar

pexels-photo-356365.jpegIf you’re like me, after a stressful day, you can’t wait to take that first sweet, creamy, bite of a candy bar.  Nothing can take its place after a hard day at work!  But now imagine, never being able to taste that sweet, luscious, melt in your mouth piece of candy ever again!!  I can’t imagine that happening either!  But, to a rare few of people out there, their love of sugar has come to an end.

A reader asked me if there was such a thing as a sugar allergy.  It seems if she puts sugar in her coffee, or, eats a candy bar, or any form of sugar, she gets severe cramps that last for several hours.

A sugar allergy would be very rare.  A sugar intolerance on the other hand might be a more suitable term.  An allergy is when, a food causes an immune system reaction that affects many organs of the body.  In some cases it can be life threatening.  A food intolerance  is less serious and often limited to digestive problems.

There is such a thing called Genetic Sucrose-Isomaltase Deficiency or GSID. I can give you a lot of medical talk, but, to make this short, a person with GSID can not digest sugar, whether it’s white sugar or the starches in fruits, vegetables and grains like bread and rice.

GSID is often mistaken as other sugar intolerances, such as fructose or lactose intolerances, and gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome.

Symptoms can be abdominal pain, cramping, nausea/vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea.  There is nothing you can take to ease the symptoms of GSID.  You just have to wait for the sugar to run through your body.  It can be minutes or hours depending on how fast the sugar moves through your digestive tract.

GSID in children can affect growth and development.  People suffering from GSID are at risk of chronic malnutrition, diarrhea, gassiness, abdominal distention and pain.  Failure to thrive is another characteristic of this disorder.

If you think this sounds like something you may have.  See your doctor!  There are tests they can do to test for GSID, which include, a hydrogen breath test, 13C sucrose breath test, a stool pH, a SI Genetic test or a small bowel biopsy with disaccharidase enzyme testing.

There is a simple test you can do at home.  Stir 4 tablespoons of ordinary sugar into a 4 oz. glass of water.  Mix until completely dissolved.  Drink it all on an empty stomach.  Wait and see if symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramping or diarrhea occur during the next 4-8 hours.  Well….I didn’t say it would be FUN!!

The good news is, there is help for this deficiency.  Talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian.  The dietitian will want a food log of everything you have eaten over a period of time.  Then the starches will be taken out of your diet and slowly be re-introduced depending on how well you are tolerating the foods.  Soon you will learn which foods you will have to take off your diet.

There is a prescription the doctor can give you to help you live a more “normal” life.

So, don’t sit and wonder if you are out of your mind.  Sugar intolerance is a REAL thing.  Go get checked out, after all, what do you have to lose other than those nasty symptoms!

Good luck and here’s to pain-free eating!