four treats that may be playing tricks on your tummy

And what they all have in common

Have you ever finished a meal and 20 minutes later found yourself wondering where you can find the nearest bathroom? Have you gone to a fabulous birthday party and had to make a hasty exit to avoid any embarrassing gas or explosive episodes in someone else’s bathroom? You know it must have been something you ate or drank, but you aren’t really sure because all of the food seemed pretty normal.

Let’s take a look at four foods that you might find at a celebration that could be causing your belly to revolt.

  1. Ice Cream: What a delicious way to end a hot summer day, celebrate a birthday, or just eat daily because you love the stuff. Many people have become lactose intolerant as they have aged. The enzyme they need to breakdown the milk sugar (lactose) is not doing its job and is leading to some uncomfortable symptoms. Choosing coconut-milk ice cream, non-dairy ice cream, sorbet, or lactose-free ice cream usually solves the problem. But if these non-dairy varieties don’t alleviate the symptoms, maybe it’s not ice cream that is to blame.
  2. Doughnuts: Who doesn’t love a hot, freshly glazed energy ring? Friday mornings at the office, Saturdays with the kids, or Sunday mornings at church are all common arenas for the doughnut to play a starring role. People with a sensitivity to gluten (the protein in wheat) try and steer clear of doughy sweets since they can cause symptoms that last significantly longer than the sweetness lasts. Gluten-free doughnuts are available at many bakeries, but what if the gluten-free treats still cause issues? Hmmmm.
  3. Caramel Apples: Nothing screams fall more than caramel or candy apples. These works of art on a stick have been enjoyed for years, and we used to just worry about our teeth. Apples are fruit so they are healthy, right? We shouldn’t have any problem digesting the apple. After all, one a day is supposed to keep the doctor away. But alas, the apple can be a problem for people who take issue with fructose. Fructose is a natural simple sugar, but for some people too much of it can cause diarrhea. But is the fructose the only sugar to blame?
  4. Candy: So maybe it wasn’t the dinner at the restaurant, but it could have been the after-dinner mint that comes with your bill. Maybe it was the jelly beans at Easter and not the questionable hard-boiled eggs that someone hid outside for hours. Candy is made mostly of the one ingredient, SUCROSE, which could be causing the issue with the other foods we have already mentioned. Sucrose, or table sugar, is that innocent-looking white stuff that we make cookies and cakes with. Sugar is the main ingredient in peppermints, rock candy, pixie sticks, and chocolate of all kinds.

So let’s stop for a minute and take a look what all these foods have in common: sucrose. Sucrose is a sugar that is made up of two simple sugars, and it has to be separated so that the simple sugars (glucose and fructose) can be absorbed. People who have sucrose intolerance, also known as congenital sucrase isomaltase deficiency (CSID), either lack or aren’t able to make enough of the enzyme needed to separate the sucrose into its parts, resulting in gastrointestinal symptoms much like the ice cream, doughnuts, and caramel apples might have caused. Many doctors are not familiar with this disease, so oftentimes it gets called IBS and is left untreated.

If you have symptoms, such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea after eating any of these foods, but you don’t have a lactose problem, gluten sensitivity, or fructose issue, maybe it has been sucrose all along. You can ask your doctor about a being tested for sucrose intolerance. Find out more at