Sucrose Intolerance, also known as Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID), is the body’s inability to breakdown sucrose, resulting in gas, bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea after consuming foods containing sucrose. To avoid the symptoms, all you have to do is just avoid sweets, right? Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Sucrose, also known as table sugar, is found in more than just candy, cookies, and pies. Sucrose is the primary sugar in many vegetables and fruits like carrots, beets, bananas, and oranges. It’s found in taco seasonings, salad dressing, ketchup, bread, and even garlic salt. People with Sucrose Intolerance not only have to worry about sucrose in foods, but they also have to worry about starches because the same enzyme (sucrase-isomaltase) that breaks apart sucrose is also needed to help finish the digestion of carbohydrates (starch).
CSID may take a longer time to get diagnosed than other digestive conditions, such as lactose intolerance. Since there are different types of sugars in the diet besides just sucrose, it can be hard to figure out which specific sugar is causing the issue. For example, think about drinking a soda. No one would argue about the sweetness of a soda; but if it is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup instead of sucrose, a person with CSID will digest it without any symptoms. Drinking one of the “throwback” sodas doesn’t go so well since soda was originally made with cane sugar, a no-no for those with Sucrose Intolerance.
Since people eat varying amounts of sugar and different types of sugar each day, the symptoms may come and go, making a diagnosis difficult to pinpoint. People with CSID may also be misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome because the symptoms are similar. So how do doctors figure out what’s causing the problem? There are a few different testing options to explore with a doctor, including a disaccharidase assay or sucrose breath tests.
Once diagnosed, there are a number of different treatments people with CSID can try including pharmaceutical therapy, special diets, or a combination of both. Besides eliminating sugar from the diet, they may need to cut back on starchy foods like bread, cereal, crackers, potatoes, beans, rice, and pasta. By being careful with what they eat and by taking the appropriate medicine(s), those with CSID can usually find some relief from their symptoms.