Sugar Allergy : More Likely an Intolerance

Some people think they have a sugar allergy. Confirming this type of allergy can be devastating since so many foods contain some form of sugar. It is almost as tragic as a caffeine allergy for those who can not function without that first cup of coffee in the morning. Food allergies can be confused with food intolerance so it is important to know which you have. Some of the symptoms associated with an allergic reaction can occur but there is a good chance they are caused by an intolerance of refined sugar.

For many generations, parents believed that too much sugar caused their children to be hyperactive. While science has found no link between an over active child and the amount of sugar they eat, they have determined that too much sugar is never good for children. Reasons for less sugar consumption include increased risk of cavities, obesity and the possibility of developing an intolerance for sugar.

An intolerance to sugar has been shown to cause a resistance to insulin as well as rapid weight gain if ingested in too large a quantity. It can also lead to fatigue, joint pain, forgetfulness and confusion. The thinking process may also be affected by reducing neurotransmitters leading some people to think that a true sugar allergy has caused this reaction.

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Restlessness and inattention may be signs of a sugar intolerance, often confused as a sugar allergy. This is especially true for school-age children but while sugar intake will need to be monitored, it is not considered a true sugar allergy. When the body develops an allergy to a certain food, it is confusing that food with an allergen. The immune system responds to attempt to eliminate the threat. While many foods cause an allergic reaction in many people, studies have not supported the confirmation of sugar allergy.

Many allergic symptoms may appear in a person with an intolerance to refined sugar. They should therefore stay away from it in all forms. Elimination diets are usually needed and recommended for determining whether you are truly allergic or intolerant. If you believe that it is sugar, eliminate all forms of added sugar for a period of time, at least one week Keep track of what forms of sugar are ingested. If you find that your symptoms are less then you know you are on the right path to pinpointing your intolerance.

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Since sugar is such a common ingredient it is important to keep a diary of all the foods you eat and to note the ingredients. An elimination diet can be pretty tricky for someone who has a sugar allergy or an intolerance to sugar. You definitely need the guidance a professional like an allergist or at the very least your primary care physician. With the proper testing and tracking of what you eat you may also be able to find substitutes like brown sugar and natural sweeteners that you may have less a reaction to.

76 Responses to “Sugar Allergy : More Likely an Intolerance”

  1. Jein.Noir. says:

    Rita (and anyone else who’s interested),

    I also have this bloating problem, but it’s every day now! I wake up flat, and bloat after eating initially – ending my day looking pregnant. Your post has grabbed my attention especially because of the bloating caused by shower! Fo me, my reactions also cause what feels like a rapid heart beat, but I’m thinking it might actually be inflammation making me sensitive to my own pulse. Most of my medical my tests have come back normal. I’ve had Myalgic Encephalomyelitis for a decade now, with the only sure things helping being: no sugar in my diet, 4 tsp gunpowder green tea – resteeped twice on a daily basis (not cuz of caffeine either!), more meat in my diet, and some other herbs. But, lately I’m having to consume OliveLleaf in large quantities throughout the day. It’s antibiotic/antiviral, so I’m looking at sucrase isomaltase/aldolase b deficiencies/Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth again today.

    I’ve sneezed whenever having more than a few grams of sugar (sucrose, fructose, maltose, doesn’t matter) consistently for years now. Back when I ate it in “normal” or binge amounts, I felt like I was having a heart attack and it was hard to breathe. I had chronic sinusitis for a long time. It really seems like a terrible cold/allergy at that point. But lately, things seem even worse. Now, I’m itchy and that’s even having been off of grains for months.

    Anyway, I’m actually up past my bedtime re-researching this. Perhaps someone has or can try the Hydrogen Breath testing for sugar intolerance. I was glad to find it’s covered by Medicare. I’m looking at other options, too. I’m hoping to have the energy to come back and finish reading the posts here soon. Good luck in your search everyone!

    ~PS: Most people haven’t heard of it yet, but there’s one sweet food, a tuber, I didn’t react to, because it’s made up of FOS (an indigestible sugar.) It’s called Yacon, and it’s rare/expensive. But, it’s worth it to use as a transition sweetener if you have a sugar addiction, or have that kind of money.

  2. Jo says:

    Hi all,

    Finally traced my recurring face-rash and mental illness to refined cane sugar! Now it’s on the list with gluten, dairy, eggs alcohol and nuts as things to avoid. It’s taken about four or five years to self-diagnose and learn to cope, but totally worth it.

    To all those who are struggling – stick with it! Once you learn what works for you and how to incorporate your diet you’ll feel good (not crazy or angry, not itchy, not depressed, just fine). Instead of missing all the things that ‘make food taste good’ your tastes will actually change so it becomes ‘suggary, overprocessed crud – now pass me my delicious stew!’. I never thought that I would learn to love cooking so much. Try and stick with it guys!

    I can highly recommend the Sugar Blues by William Dufty for informational purposes, or Ptotaoes Not Prozac by Kathleen Desmaisons for chemical reasoning and quitting advice. There’s so many recipe books out there and so many substitutes becomming more readily available…

    Much love to all, Jo xxx

  3. carol says:

    Does anyone else have a reaction to sugar where your mouth feels sticky all of the time and you get mucus in your throat? I get the mental fog also and feel horrible after eating sugar.

    • Mrs NTB says:

      Based on my past sugar issues (and I have a long history of problems with sugar):
      The sticky mouth is a yeast overgrowth. Eliminate all yeast and fermented products. Helps to do a Candida Cleanse, also. NOTE: Sugar feeds the yeast so eliminate sugar in all forms including carbohydrates and starches which turn into sugar in your system.
      The thick mucus in your throat is an allergic reaction to dairy / lactose. Try non-dairy, no sugar products.
      This is very hard to do initially but once you’re on the program, you will feel so much better that you won’t want to go back to the offensive foods. Stick with whole foods. Lose the crap in boxes and cans that are loaded with preservatives. They will tear you up!
      Been there, done that! So far I have lost 55 of the original 85 pounds that went on.
      Good luck!

  4. Jennifer says:

    What a comfort to know I’m not alone. I have the bloating problem just like Jein.Noir. and also ME for about 10 years as well. Migraines, IBS, flu-like symptoms, acne, multiple chemical sensitivities, celiac disease, year-round allergies, horrible mood problems with PMS, etc. etc. I nearly died from Graves’ disease, and have Hashimoto’s syndrome. Had thyroid removed in 2002.

    Lately I’ve noticed everytime I drank tea with sugar…about 8 to 12 hours later I’d be filled with rage. I was unable to think about anything happy or even neutral. I could only think about everything I hate about everyone in my life and every crappy thing everyone has ever done to me. It’s horrible to feel like that. Sometimes it’s so bad I have to take a .5 mg Lorazepam for relief. (strangely, lorazepam doesn’t do much for my anxiety and I’ve found it gets rid of the rage really well). Anyway…I thought I had a tea allergy/intollerance so I varied the types of tea I drank (decaf, green, black, herbal caffiene free, etc) and it was always the same…8 to 12 hours later I find myself simmering with rage. It’s definitely worse when I’m PMSing and tried OTC USP progesterone cream but it made it worse. A few hours after putting the cream on…rage. I also tried testosterone cream (Rx from naturopath) and taking DHEA (I think that’s the name) and they all caused the rage, too.

    So, I’m thinking this is a sugar problem as well as a hormonal problem.

    Lowering my cholesterol through a low cholesterol diet also made the rage worse. I was a vegetarian for 21 years and now I’m on a food allergen elimination diet (forced to eat meat) because a blood test showed I had antibodies to all of my vegetarian protein sources: diary, beans, soy, and eggs. I hate eating meat so I tend to eat small amounts of it…this lead to my cholesterol dropping from 205 to 157 in 6 weeks. I’ve had rage problems since day one of the diet and finally I think I figured out why. There is a Dr. Mercola who wrote an article about the “cholestrol myth”. He mentioned that low cholestrol can cause rage. I increased my meat consumption and the rage got much much better. Now it’s just when I drink sugared tea and/or I’m PMSing.

    Our bodies are so bizarre.

    Oh, yeah, just wanted to express sympathy to everyone else going through this. Doctors treat us like mental patients, family and friends think we’re nuts, too. It’s extreemly depressing and lonely and unfair. I do get suicidal sometimes and if I didn’t have my cat, I’d probably be dead already. But, keep on trucking, everyone. You never know when you’ll stumble across something that makes you feel better. Once you feel better you can’t believe you were thinking about killing yourself. Just look at the depression, anxiety, and rage as symptoms that will last for a few hours and then go away. Just survive them, and keep going. I’ve learned to view it with a sense of pride because I’ve managed to survive despite having such a defective body and no support from anyone.
    And I agree with Alex, there simply cannot be a god. At least not one who’s worth worshipping.
    Peace, everyone.

    • Mrs NTB says:

      Really? Because you chose to polute your body with toxins / chemicals (preservatives), there is no GOD? Really? I believe He’s looking down on you right now shaking His head that you are blaming Him for your health issues. You said you nearly died from Graves disease. Do think He caused you to nearly die? Or did He cause you get better so you could live?
      I believe God controls the day we are brought into this world and the day we are taken out. Above and beyond that, I believe our lives are a direct result of our own choices. And a handful of miracles thrown in here and there!
      Refined sugar is absolutely horrible but people continue to consume it! Go figure!
      Good luck in your search for better health! I’ll think good thoughts for you.

  5. Diana Green says:

    Whenever I eat sugar or sweeten foodimmediately pain shoots into my teeth. Very servere pain and I’m not even sure if the pain is coming from my teeth. My dentist said my teeth were fine I have been dealing with this for a year–Does anyone have what my problem might be?

  6. Terrie thinks says:

    I am not a Dr. I try to read as much a possible ,I don’t have a sticky mouth or any thing like that. I do feel ackey all over and get Headaches from chocolate. there is hope back off what ever is making you sick and in time you can have a little every once in a while . I think I have an intolerance of sugar. one lady sayd something about chocolate making her feel depressed , I read that chocolate is not good for those who are taking antidepresant. basicaly it messes whith your meds. and does sompthing to the chemicals in your body. I used to get same simptomes to . I stay away frome chocolate as much as posible. I think the trick is to get it out of your systome and once in a while you can have a little. of chocolate and suger.

  7. miss says:

    When I consume sugar I get terribly depressed, moody and also break out with pimples. I am on a challenging diet for several years now. I try to stay away from salt, sugar, gluten, dairy or vinegars. I have a sweet tooth, so when i can’t resist temptation I cleanse inside after eating. The way I detox is with cerasee tea, a spoonful of herbal bitters tonic, or with Yogi Berry Detox tea. That usually clears up the symptoms.

  8. Naomi says:

    I am the type that doesn’t eat refined sugar for a whole week and then will binge on some. Afterward, I feel extremely lethargic, anxious, moody and bloated. I would say I definately have an intolerance to sugar, but also an addiction to it as well!

  9. Robert Campisi says:

    I have many of the symptoms listed. I have a chronic bacterial infection which I believe is the problem. See if you are colonized with MRSA. I think many of these symptoms are caused by a slow sub clinical infection. Our body is fighting off this low grade infection and causes all of these symptoms, it triggers your immune system and then things stop working. I never had any of these symptoms before I had the infection. Everyone here should think back and try and remember if your problems started after some type of bacterial infection. It starts slow and takes years to advance. I can not tolerate sugar in any form. Also if you have a sugar intolerance it can lead to weight gain because your body is not processing the sugar correctly.

  10. Alyssa says:

    Nice to read that I’m not nuts. In the beginning, my husband and I laughted when I sneezed everytime I ate something in the morning. But then we really started to pay attention and it is an amazing fact, that every sweet food that I eat in the morning, I sneeze 3 times. My nose feels like it has doubled in size and my sinuses went wild and my nose ran so hard, I had to keep tissues close at hand.
    So, I have decided to do something about my health. My family has a serious issue with the Endocrine System. My mother died of pancreatic cancer, my father died as diabetic, my sister has hypoglycemia, my other sister had a para-thyroid removed and I have had my thyroid removed due to 2 large tumors.
    So if I sneeze every time I eat something sweet, then my body is screaming to get my attention and I plan on listening. No more sweets. I’m not going to go overboard but I will eliminate the obvious foods such as soda, cookies, donuts, cake, jello and ice cream.
    This will be my Easter gift to myself, the life of life.
    May you all have a wonderful Easter Day.

    • jane says:

      hi, alyssa – as you’ve had your thyroid removed, and you have symptoms, you probably are in need of thyroid medication. if you’re already on it, you may need more.

  11. Steve says:

    Wow…I knew I wasn’t the only one, after reading all the responses on this site it’s clear to me that we are suffering from the same condition. I used to eat a lot of sweets, cakes, etc. until I started feeling really sick, fatigued, headaches, diarrhea. I noticed that sugar was the main culprit, but I also can’t eat fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, pears, etc. and most processed foods don’t go down well either. Eliminating offending foods helps, but I want to know what causes this, it is candida overgrowth, sugar intolerance, a combination of the two or something else?

    I spent years seeing doctors; in fact my family doctor really thought I had a mental problem after a while because as far as he was concerned I was in perfect health…so in his eyes it was all in my mind. I changed my insurance so that I don’t need a referral to see a specialist to avoid dealing with him. After having lab work done at the request of a hormone specialist, they noticed some hormone levels were low like cortisone, dhea and testosterone, but I was also low in vitamin d as well. I have been taking herbal supplements to increase these levels for about a month now, but I still have issues.

    Whatever we are suffering from…it’s beyond the grasp of most doctors out there.

  12. Steve says:

    I forgot to mention that I also suffer with colitis and I am lactose intolerant…I have found that exercise (1/2 an hour on a treadmill) helps to minimize symptoms, but who can exercise everyday?

  13. adrian says:

    I think these issues with sugar intolerance may actually link directly to yeast/candida in the gut. Since giving up sugar and yeast products, I have had a range of benefits-from my Eustachian tubes clearing up, less hypoglycemic effects, and my breathing being less susceptible to cold air irritation. If one approaches these issues from the point of view of yeast being the enemy rather than just refined sugar, then dietary requirements become logical rather than incomplete in scope.

  14. Heather says:

    Some people can have actual sugar allergies, not intolerances. I break out in hives, itch all over, and my esophagus starts to close up if I consume sucrose. If there is a tiny bit in pasta, I itch. My doctor did a fast test and has me consume a spoonful of sugar. After 45 minutes my skin broke out all over.

    The medical community is finally realizing that sugar intolerance is different from sugar allergies, but it is a slow process. Most people who have problems with sugar report indigestion, not actual adverse auto-immune responses.

  15. […] more on food allergies like sugar allergy and yeast allergy at […]

  16. geoff says:

    I share many of the symptoms listed above, including rage, depression, anxiety and confusion, along with stomach pain, but no one has mentioned salt loss. For years I had to take several grams of salt every day. I didn’t want to but I found by trial and error that it helped with my cramps, anxiety and nighmares. I never liked to take it, high salt consumption is linked with health problems, but everytime I reduced my salt consumption to normal the symptoms came back and they were making my life a misery.
    Since I worked out that sucrose is the underlying problem and cut it of my diet as much as possible, my need for salt is almost back to normal. It’s such a relief!
    Can anyone explain this salt phenomenon? I can’t find anything about it on the net. Would love to hear from anyone with an explanation or a similar experience. By the way, the salt loss is not due to diarrhea, that has never been an issue.
    I empathise with all those whose doctors think they are crazy. I don’t fit in any medical box they know of, so I must be mad. Specialists are worse than GPs, in this respect.

  17. Mike says:

    I went to bed one night and woke up with severe gastro problems, night sweats, and a insatiable desire for sugar…went to the kitchen and ate sugar cubes in the middle of the night. I became severely tired after a few days, used to run after work and now could hardly walk, forgetfulness, irritability, bad gas, dia, mucous in my throat, sinus problems, and on and on. I couldn’t stay away from sweets, going to the store and buying cake, pie, ice cream, anything with sugar and couldn’t get enough of it, and the cravings wouldn’t stop. Then my tongue got a thick white coating that I could scrape off with my fingernail, I developed severe lower back nerve pain (it would come on after afew days of high sugar intake). Blood tests showed nothing, no alergies, no diabetes, no yeast infection, nothing. This has gone on for 27 years! I’ve been to doctors all over the country in my work travels and nothing was ever detected. In the beginnibg I started a sugar elimination diet since the problems came on after eating, and much worse after eating high sugar foods. I finally just ate only food with no sugar….chicken, fiucsh, hamburger, eggs, vegetables. I stopped eating any fruit…anything with sugar, and my problems would disappear but it was almost impossible to stay on this type of diet. I tried to just minimize the sugar intake and was able to live with it but still no where close to normal. Anyway, I finally read about digestive enzymes on the internet and gave them a try. To my amazement, the white buildup on my tongue completely disappeared and the gastro issues became manageable. My problems are now only about 25% of what they had been. Apparently the enzymes are taking the place of those that the body would normally produce. It’s worked for me, at least the best improvement I’ve had in 27 years of getting no help from doctors.

  18. Corrie Sweat says:

    I am intrigued that the word hypothyroid only shows on this page one time. After reading everyone’s complaints- I immediately thought hypothyroid. Which does cause insulin resistance in some cases and generally makes people more sensitive to sugar and gluten. I would research thyroid especially hypothyroid and Hoshimotos if you are struggling to find answers.

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