A low sucrose foods list can be useful as a resource for folk swith congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (CSID) or acquired sucrose intolerance who have been prescribed a sucrose intolerance diet.
This entails eliminating foods high in sucrose, while simultaneously emphasizing and leaning on foods lower in sucrose.
A low sucrose diet is exclusively beneficial and relevant for people who have a sucrase-isomaltaste deficiency, which means your body can’t break down sucrose in the gut.
Refer to the list of low sucrose foods below as a guide for which foods to lean on if you have a sucrose intolerance.
Disclaimer: This is not medical nutrition advice! This is meant to be an online resource exclusively for people with IBS who have a sucrase-isomaltase enzyme deficiency and have been prescribed a sucrose intolerance diet. This information should complement, not replace, the fundamental practice of keeping an IBS food diary and working with a CSID dietitian who specializes in sucrose intolerance.
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Table of Contents
What is sucrose?
Sucrose is the chemical name for table sugar (or beet sugar, or cane sugar). It is naturally found in most types of plant foods in varying amounts, but not in animal foods. Sucrose is also often found in processed foods sweetened with a variation of sucrose-derived sugar.
Low sucrose fruits
- Cranberries (fresh)
- Figs (raw)
Low sucrose veggies
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Bamboo shoots
- Bell peppers (red, yellow, green)
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Green beans
- Mung bean sprouts
- Mustard greens
- Spaghetti squash
- Yellow squash (“summer squash”)
Lower Sucrose Grains/Flours/Starches
According to the Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency Community, Advocacy, Research, Education & Support Foundation (“CSID CARES”), virtually all starches require some sucrase, maltase, and/or isomaltase enzymes in order to get properly broken down in the gut. (1)
For this reason, some patients with a very severe sucrose intolerance may be advised to eliminate all starches; however, the following list of grains and starches generally take longer to break down into sucrose (and in smaller amounts) since they’re higher in fiber.
Use this list as a guide if you’re following a sucrose intolerance diet, alongside keeping a food-symptom journal / IBS food diary* and working with a registered dietitian to make sure you’re receiving customized guidance to meet your individual needs.
- Barley pearls
- Buckwheat soba noodles*
- Brown rice
- Coconut flour (for baking)
- Rolled oats / unsweetened oatmeal
- Spaghetti squash
- Wild rice
- Whole rye bread*
The following sources of dietary fat are the lowest in sucrose:
- Butter / ghee
- Chia seeds
- Flaxseed (ground)
- Oils (all kinds) – since they contain 0 grams sugar per serving
- Avocado oil
- Canola oil
- Coconut oil
- Corn oil
- Flax oil
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower seed oil
Beans/legumes, nuts, and seeds
Most beans and legumes, nuts and seeds should be reduced/eliminated in the early phases of your sucrose intolerance diet.
You’ll likely be able to add some of these foods back in limited quantities, once you’ve established your tolerance threshold to sucrose.
Each of the following food sources of protein is inherently low in sucrose, or even sucrose-free. (Plant-based proteins tend to be higher in sucrose, unfortunately, so going vegan is not the best idea for people with a confirmed sucrose intolerance.)
Also make sure to avoid proteins marinated in sauces, breadcrumbs, or seasonings which could contain hidden sources of sucrose.
- Dairy proteins
- Cottage cheese
- Cows’ milk
- Goat milk
- Plain yogurt
- Tofu (FIRM)
Low sucrose drinks
While there may be more low sucrose drinks, use this basic list as a starter-guide (and I’m not necessarily endorsing everything on this list as “healthy”!):
- Water (regular or carbonated)
- Milk (cow’s, goat)
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Oolong tea
- Herbal tea
- 100% tomato juice
- Green juice made with cucumber, spinach, ginger + lemon
- Homemade lemonade/limeade sweetened with fructose/honey
- Diet soda
- Soda made with high fructose corn syrup
Low sucrose sugars & sweeteners
Below is a list of low sucrose sweeteners which can be tolerated by people with a sucrose intolerance, from a symptom-management standpoint (but it doesn’t mean I’m endorsing these as “health foods”). This list is not exhaustive, but feel free to use it as a resource!
- Agave nectar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Monk fruit extract
- Splenda (“sucralose”)
- Stevia leaf extract
Low sucrose spices/seasonings
The research is limited and sparse on which types of spices and seasonings are guaranteed “low sucrose”. There are likely lots of herbs and spices low in sucrose, but I don’t feel comfortable including those which are still considered “unknown” from the standpoint of their sucrose content.
Anecdtally, the following are well tolerated in my clinic by people with a suspected or confirmed sucrose intolerance:
A sucrose intolerance diet is meant exclusively for people who have a genetic or acquired sucrase-isomaltase enzyme deficiency, and can’t break down sucrose in the gut. Eating mostly low sucrose foods and avoiding foods high in sucrose can help to reduce and prevent IBS symptoms among people with a sucrose intolerance.
This type of diet is very restrictive and should be done only under clinical supervision from a doctor and registered dietitian who specializes in sucrose intolerance.
While the above list is not exhaustive, I hope it can serve as a helpful resource for you on your gut-healing journey if you have a sucrose intolerance.
There’s so much to say about sucrose intolerance and IBS! To learn more, please feel free to check out the following articles which may help you tie everything together more holistically:
- Sucrose Intolerance Food List – What to Eat & What to Avoid (FREE Downloadable PDF)
- Sucrose Intolerance Diet Plan: 7-Day Meal Plan + 21 CSID-Friendly Recipes (PDF)
- What is a Sucrose Intolerance and How Do You Know If You Have It?
- Understanding Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID)
- Acquired Sucrose Intolerance: How to Navigate Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency in Adults
- What is IBS and How Do You Know If You Have It?
- Food Allergy vs Intolerance vs Sensitivity
- A Comprehensive List of Foods High in Sucrose
- IBS and Sugar – A Holistic Perspective
- Spilling the Tea on Splenda (Sucralose) and IBS®