Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency, or CSID, is caused by a lack of enzymes that process sucrose, maltose and carbohydrates for use by muscles and the liver, causing digestive upsets, diarrhea and growth problems in children. Although a new drug, Sucraid, has proven effective in treating CSID, a low-sugar diet is often part of a treatment plan. Diabetics, whose pancreas fails to process blood sugars properly, also benefit from a reduced-sucrose diet.
Know What You Eat
Americans crave sugar and manufacturers respond by adding it to everything from breakfast cereals and lunch meat to frozen vegetables. As a result, obesity and Type 2 diabetes have become major health concerns; adult-onset diabetes has increased over 13 percent in two years and affects 8 percent of the American population. The first step in reducing sucrose consumption is to begin reading food nutrition labels to find foods that are lower in sugars. Many foods promoted as "low-fat" actually contain surprising amounts of sucrose. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also publishes tables of nutrient data that lists amounts of simple sugars present in foods.
Choose Fresh Foods
For those who don't suffer from CSID or diabetes, there's a good reason to reduce sugar intake as dozens of conditions, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, GERD (acid reflux disease), gas and simple flatulence are linked to sugar intake or are aggravated by elevated levels of un-metabolized sugars in the intestines. High-sugar foods may also contain extra maltose, a grain-based sugar or other carbohydrates than break down to form sucrose. Choose foods that are not processed---fresh meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and most vegetables and legumes---to provide nutrition largely devoid of sucrose. Many fruits and some vegetables (like corn) contain fructose, a complex sugar that may be tolerated, depending on what type of diet has been prescribed by a medical professional. Hard cheeses such as cheddar, Colby, Swiss and dairy products like plain yogurt and dry cottage cheese (often called baker's or Ricotta) contain little sugar and are often acceptable for lactose-free diets as well. Pure fruit juices may contain natural fructose but will not contain sucrose.
Step Away from the Table
Except for those who suffer from CSID and cannot use a drug such as Sucraid, most people can tolerate a little sucrose in their diets. Another step in reducing sucrose is to limit portions and know when to push away from the table. Nutritionists define servings in teaspoons and ounces, not cups and pounds; a half-cup serving of pudding---about half what most people eat when given a choice---contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, half a meal's worth of sucrose for a diabetic trying to lose weight. That second cup of holiday eggnog may pack a potent 21 grams of sugar. Although whole grains contain less sucrose than refined grains, limiting the number of slices of bread consumed will reduce sucrose intake just as dramatically. Finally, artificial sweeteners support sugar cravings but a campaign of decreasing sugar substitute usage can help reduce them.