Do I Have a Sugar Allergy?
The answer to this question depends on your individual situation. If you have a family history of diabetes or prediabetes, then it’s highly likely that you do have a sugar allergy. But if you don’t have any such risk factors, then there is no need to worry about having one. You are not allergic to anything!
What Is A Sugar Allergy?
A sugar allergy is a reaction that occurs when someone eats certain foods containing high amounts of fructose (a type of simple carbohydrate). These foods include: fruit juices, candy, desserts, cookies and crackers made with white flour and other refined sugars. Fructose is found naturally in fruits like apples, pears and bananas; however, it’s added to many processed food products including soft drinks.
How Does A Sugar Allergy Affect Me?
If you eat these types of foods regularly, then your body may produce antibodies against them. These antibodies cause inflammation in the mouth and throat, which causes a runny nose, sneezing and sometimes even coughing up blood. This is called anaphylaxis. Symptoms usually last from 10 minutes to several hours but they can go on for days or weeks depending on how severe the reaction is.
Should I Be Concerned?
If you have any of the symptoms listed above or if you’re uncertain about your specific situation, then it would be best to see a medical professional. Tell them that you have been experiencing allergic reactions when you eat certain foods. They will help determine what your allergies are and how to treat them.
How Will A Doctor Help Me?
The medical professional will ask you questions about your medical history and also what you’ve eaten recently. They will perform a physical examination and ask you questions about your home and lifestyle. They may also ask you to follow-up with tests to determine your allergies. These may include skin-prick and blood tests.
How Can I Prevent Symptoms?
If you have an allergy to certain types of food, then always check the ingredients before eating anything. Don’t share food with other people because you don’t know what’s in it for them. Also, always carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector with you in case you have a severe allergic reaction.
It’s also very important that you discuss your situation with your family and friends so that they can help you if you have an allergic reaction while you’re away from home. Always be sure to let the management and chef know about your food allergies before you dine at a restaurant because they may come in contact with food that you’re allergic to.
Sugar-Free Allergy Foods To Try
When you have a sugar-free allergy, it can make eating out difficult. You have to check every menu item to see if you’ll be able to eat it or not.
However, there are pre-packaged sugar free foods and dishes that you can order when you’re unsure of the ingredients. You just have to know what to order and how to ask.
Sugar Free Ice Cream
Many ice cream parlors now offer sugar-free options so you can enjoy a sweet treat without worrying about the adverse effects it might have on your body. Ask the waiter or waitress if the parlor uses sugar substitutes in their ice creams or if they have sugar free options.
Sugar-free ice creams usually have a slightly different flavor but they’re still delicious.
Sugar Free Snacks
The best place to find sugar free snacks is in the health food section of the grocery store. Here, you’ll find chips, candies, cookies, crackers and even diet sodas.
Many of these foods have a different taste than their sugared counterparts, but they’re still very tasty. Be careful when you’re eating these foods, though, because they can cause tooth decay and can have a laxative effect if you eat too much of them.
Sugar Free Sodas
Sugar free sodas can be found anywhere diet sodas are sold. They come in all of the usual flavors such as cola, root beer and ginger ale.
They taste very different than their sugar filled counterparts and some people actually prefer the diet versions. However, many diet sodas use a bitter-sweet artificial sweetener called aspartame (also known as NutraSweet) so be careful not to overindulge.
Sugar Free Pudding
Just because you have a sugar free allergy doesn’t mean you have to deny your love of creamy desserts. Sugar free puddings taste very different than their sugared counterparts, but they’re still creamy and delicious.
They come in a variety of flavors such as chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla and even strawberry. You can also find sugar free jellos and yogurts, which make great desserts.
Sugar Free Jell-O Snacks
Did you know that Jell-O now makes sugar-free versions of their popular jiggling gelatin snacks?
They come in a variety of flavors such as orange, grape and fruit medley. These snacks make great desserts when you’re entertaining guests and they’re also fun to eat when they’re frozen!
Sugar Free Candy
Most varieties of M & M’s are now sugar free. They come in the same colors and the coating is just as crunchy.
Other sugar free candies include Smarties (cookies and creme style), sugar free Werther’s Original candies and others. They come in great flavors such as root beer, butterscotch, mint and fruit.
Sugar Free Popsicles
When the weather gets warm, most children look forward to enjoying a delicious popsicle on a hot summer day. Sugar free popsicles are a great alternative because they come in many of the same flavors such as root beer, fruit and fruit mix.
They’re made with a sugar substitute so you don’t have to feel guilty about letting your child enjoy one.
When you’re at a restaurant and unsure if something is safe for you to eat, always ask the waiter or waitress what ingredients are in each dish. Be aware that meals often have hidden sugars in the form of desserts, garnishes and condiments so make sure to ask.
You should also be aware that some common foods such as bacon, breaded foods and cream sauces often contain sugar so you’ll need to ask about those as well.
Sugar Free Birthday Cakes
Who says you have to skip the cake at your next birthday party?
Many bakeries sell sugar free cakes that taste great. You can even get sugar free icing to top it off. The colors of the cake are a bit more muted than their sugared counterparts but they taste just as good.
At the Grocery Store
As you shop for your groceries, there are a few things you should always have in your cart. All of these items are great for people with a sugar free allergy because they won’t raise your blood sugar level.
You may even find that you like some of these foods better than the high sugar ones.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables are good for you so you should make them a staple of your diet. Apples, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, carrots, green beans, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are all perfect choices.
Always try to choose the fresh varieties whenever possible; canned and frozen foods typically contain a lot of sugar.
Whole Grain Breads and Cereals
Most breads and cereals today are made with refined flour. This is a refined product and should be avoided or used in small amounts.
As a rule, if a bread or cereal has a bran, wheat germ or other fiber added to it, it’s a good choice. Whole grain breads and cereals are rich in dietary fiber and other nutrients that are great for you; they also slow the absorption of sugar into your blood.
Whole milk is high in dietary fat so you should try to choose low-fat or nonfat varieties. Low-fat and nonfat yogurts and cheeses are good sources of protein and calcium; they’re also low in fat.
Just be sure to read the nutrition labels so you get the right kind of dairy product.
Most types of shellfish are naturally low in fat and high in protein. Mussels, clams, crab, lobster and shrimp are all great choices.
Just watch out for food poisoning by making sure that the shellfish is safe to eat.
Most fish and seafood are naturally low in fat and high in protein. Salmon, tuna, trout, haddock and other water-packed fish are all great sources of protein.
Pregnant women should avoid tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel due to high levels of mercury. Other than that, enjoy!
Trim the Fat
If you’re cooking foods such as meat, poultry or fish, try trimming away the fat before cooking. Fats and oils are high in calories but have no nutritional value so getting rid of them will help you keep your calorie levels down.
Most frozen entrees are packed with salt and other unhealthy additives but there are a few that are OK to eat. Read the labels and avoid anything with the words “cheese food” or “cheese substance” in the title.
These types of entrees are usually very high in sodium so don’t eat them too often.
Whole Grain Pasta
Whole grain pasta isn’t just good for you, it’s delicious too. There are a lot of varieties available so pick your favorite shape and enjoy.
Whole grain pastas have more vitamins, minerals and fiber than their refined counterparts.
Most commercially prepared dips are full of saturated fats and other unhealthy stuff so make your own instead. There are a lot of easy recipes online that let you customize your dip to your specific tastes.
Light yogurts, low-fat sour cream, tofu and fresh vegetables are all great low-fat dip choices. Try different recipes using these ingredients to find your favorites.
Baking Instead of Frying
Instead of frying your favorite foods, try baking them instead. Baking has the added bonus of making the food more flavorful and it’s healthier than frying.
Cut the food into serving-size pieces before you put it in the oven to ensure that it cooks evenly.
Instead of drinking sodas, fruit juices or other beverages high in sugar, drink water instead. Water doesn’t have many calories and it’s vital to your health.
If the taste of water is too boring for you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime or a splash of fruit juice.
This Japanese specialty is made from steamed soybeans that are packed with protein. They’re a good source of fiber and other important nutrients so enjoy!
You can find them in the freezer section of your local grocery store.
Everyday salads are great and all, but if you get bored of them you could wind up eating too many high-calorie dressings and toppings. Instead, switch your focus and have a green salad every day.
Green vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, kale and others are low in calories yet packed with nutrients and fiber.
Watch the portions though because it’s very easy to overindulge when it comes to salad. Don’t drown your greens in high-fat salad dressings or smother them increamy cheeses and other calorie-laden toppings.
Stick to low-calorie options such as vinegar, lemon juice, mustard or even light dressing.
Protein is an important part of a balanced diet because it promotes muscle growth and repair. There are a lot of meat, seafood and vegetarian options packed with protein so enjoy!
Breading and Coating Substitutes
If you love the taste of fried foods but want to avoid all the calories that come with them, try some of these low-calorie alternatives:
Flour — great for coating fish, chicken and other proteins.
Egg Whites — substitute egg whites for whole eggs in baked goods for fewer calories and fat. You won’t even notice the difference in taste or texture.
Finely Ground Cereal — mix finely ground cereal (like corn flakes) with an equal amount of flour for a breading substitute.
Applesauce or Mashed Potatoes — use mashed potatoes or applesauce in place of oil when frying vegetables.
Squash and zucchini make great low-calorie substitutes for higher-calorie starchy foods like pasta and rice.
Salsa and other Sauces
Most bottled sauces are very high in sodium so make your own instead. The fresh taste is worth the extra couple minutes it takes to throw together a quick concoction.
Once you’ve mastered the art of making your own sauces you can start using them in a lot of different ways. Try mixing salsa with sour cream for a low-calorie dip for baked tortilla chips.
Salsa is also great for flavoring eggs. Just add a few teaspoons to a bowl, break in some eggs and scramble.
You can also use salsa in place of pizza sauce. Top a baked tortilla with salsa, cheese and whatever else your heart (and stomach) desires.
Salsa is a “grab and go” food that can help you get rid of those late-night hunger pangs. Just make sure you don’t eat the whole container!
A lot of dietitians recommend canned tuna as a protein-rich, nutritious food that’s easy to take with you on the go. Most cans are $1 each so they’re also cheap.
Limit yourself to one can per day and try to find ones that aren’t packed in oil. (Some of them have as much as 15 grams of fat!
Yikes!) Use it to make sandwiches (like tuna salad), to top salads or just plain old out of the can.
Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious (and in some cases more so) than their fresh counterparts and they’re usually cheaper, too. Because they’re frozen when they’re at their peak of ripeness, their nutritional value remains intact.
Most supermarkets offer frozen mixed vegetables that can be added to just about any meal. For example, you can use the veggies to make Mexican-inspired dishes by adding them to ground beef, include them in a bean and corn salsa or add them to chili.
Eating out on a diet doesn’t have to mean a boring, flavorless meal. As you can see, with a little creativity and planning you can eat out without blowing your diet!
Sources & references used in this article:
290 Sugar “allergy” and children’s behavior by LK Mahan, M Chase, CT Furukawa… – Journal of Allergy and …, 1985 – jacionline.org
Lick the sugar habit by N Appleton – 1996 – books.google.com
Respiratory, allergy and eye problems in bagasse-exposed sugar cane workers in Costa Rica by M Gascon, H Kromhout, D Heederik… – Occupational and …, 2012 – oem.bmj.com
Unproven techniques in allergy diagnosis by B Wüthrich – J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol, 2005 – jiaci.org
Pediatric allergy medications: review of currently available formulations by G Scadding – Current medical research and opinion, 2009 – Taylor & Francis