Have you ever experienced stomach pain or felt fatigued after consuming sugary foods? What do these symptoms mean? They can occur after eating too much sugar as it leads to blood sugar spikes.
However, if this is not your case, and you always have these symptoms after eating small amounts of sugar, then you might have sugar intolerance or sugar allergy. Actually, sugar allergy is a very rare problem and in most cases, people are just intolerant to sugar. So, what are the symptoms of sugar allergy?
In fact, signs of sugar allergy will usually occur immediately. People with sugar allergies typically experience immediate physical signs that are similar to those of other food allergies. The symptoms of sugar allergy include:
Abdominal pain or cramping
Probably, everyone has a certain product or products that can cause unpleasant things like indigestion, diarrhea, or cramping. However, that doesn’t mean you have an allergy to that product or ingredient. This is called food intolerance. Yes, food allergy and food intolerance are two different issues.
Food allergy is a reaction that happens when the immune system overreacts to a food protein perceiving it as a harmful substance. Food intolerance is when your body can’t digest it. Therefore, food intolerance provokes digestive problems, and its symptoms are usually not severe.
There are many causes of food intolerance. Your body might not produce an enzyme necessary to break that product or ingredient down. For instance, if you have lactose intolerance, you lack the enzyme lactase that’s required to break down lactose, which is the sugar in milk. In other cases, food intolerance can be due to certain health issues or conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stress, or anxiety.
Symptoms of food intolerance include:
It’s easy to confuse a food allergy with food intolerance since the symptoms can be similar, for example, diarrhea or abdominal pain. However, they are caused by different things, and food intolerance is not caused by an immune system dysfunction. Moreover, most people with food intolerance can eat a small amount of food without any problems and discomfort while people with an allergy can’t eat any of the food allergens. If you experience diarrhea or indigestion after eating a certain food, visit your primary care physician. They will be able to determine the correct diagnosis.
Most people are intolerant to certain kinds of sugars, rather than all sugars. People who have a sugar intolerance might just experience gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or indigestion, probably in addition to tiredness.
The most common types of sugar that cause intolerance include:
Lactose is a sugar that is contained in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance is characterized by digestive problems.
Fructose is contained in foods like fruits, certain vegetables, honey, and certain fruit juices. Just as with lactose, fructose can cause gastrointestinal problems in people who are intolerant to it.
Sucrose is obtained from sugarcane, which makes up table sugar. It can also lead to indigestion in some people.
Sugar alcohols include erythritol and xylitol. These are used as sugar substitutes and are contained in many low-calorie or sugar-free products. However, they can lead to GI problems for many people.
However, in some cases, sugar intolerance can occur due to underlying health problems like an imbalance of bacteria in the gut along with an overgrowth of yeast. Yeast actually feeds on sugars and thus eating sugary foods can lead to its overgrowth causing digestive issues, skin rashes, and puffiness.
As was mentioned above, sugar allergy is rare, but it’s still possible. If you have an immediate reaction after eating sugary foods just like tightness in the throat, difficulty breathing, and skin rash, call an ambulance. Allergy can be life-threatening since it could progress to anaphylaxis if not eliminated quickly.
In severe cases of allergy, doctors use epinephrine (it can reverse anaphylaxis) and then a steroid to reduce overall inflammation caused by a hyper reaction of the immune system. If you have a mild allergy, you might just take an antihistamine. Visit an allergist/immunologist and run skin-prick tests to pinpoint the cause of the reaction and determine if sugar is the cause. In the case of sugar intolerance, you simply need to cut added sugars, white bread, energy drinks, and other products that contain sugars.