LivingCan you be allergic to sugar?

Can you be allergic to sugar?

Sugar is found to a large extent in our diets, both in natural and manufactured foods. In addition, the body’s cells use sugar for energy, so a bad reaction to sugar can cause serious complications.

An allergy can be confused with an intolerance , but there are some signs and symptoms that differentiate them. People who are allergic to certain components within food tend to experience symptoms after consuming them such as headaches, stuffy or runny nose, stomach cramps, red skin, rashes, or nausea and vomiting.

Severe allergies can cause a quite serious reaction known as anaphylaxis , the most serious allergic manifestation there is. These reactions can happen quickly and can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms of a severe anaphylactic response to an allergen may include: swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing or being unable to breathe properly, wheezing, a sudden drop in blood pressure, palpitations, dizziness, or loss of knowledge.

Sugar intolerance does not involve the immune system response that an allergy does. In contrast, a person who is intolerant to a certain sugar will have trouble digesting or processing it.

The truth is that sugar intolerance is relatively common. It causes a number of digestive problems, which vary in severity from person to person. Symptoms can last from a few minutes to several hours after eating sugar.

Symptoms of sugar intolerances include: fatigue, abdominal cramps, painful bloating, gas, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

A typical example of sugar intolerance is lactose intolerance (due to the sugar found in milk). According to the National Institutes of Health (USA), up to 65% of people worldwide experience some form of lactose intolerance.

Sugar substitutes

Many people who are intolerant to a specific type of sugar cannot have an adverse reaction to certain sugar substitutes. Among these sugar substitutes we can find xylitol, stevia, saccharin or aspartame.

However, sugar substitutes can have other health implications . Thus, a study published in the journal Nature exposed that artificial sweeteners could play an important role in the development of glucose intolerance, so it could not be a very good option.

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