Is It Possible To Be Allergic To Sugar?

Food allergies can be a pain to live with. You might be allergic to a favorite food. Food allergies aren't a rare occurrence either. Over 32 million Americans, or one in 10 adults and one in 13 children, are allergic to a certain food, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). A food allergy is caused by the immune system responding to the substance as if it were a foreign invader. Allergic reactions vary from person to person and range from mild — such as itchiness, hives, or nasal congestion — to life-threatening anaphylaxis which can cause a swollen throat and constriction of the airways (via Mayo Clinic).

What about sugar? Being allergic to it would be challenging since it's found in so many different types of foods, including fruit, milk, ketchup, even cold medicines (per Healthline). But is it even possible to be allergic to sugar? Before getting to that, it helps to know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance which is much more common.

Sugar allergy, or sugar intolerance?

It might seem like any food can cause allergies, but that's not the case. Relatively few foods cause an immune system reaction. The majority of food allergies come from milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans, according to the FDA. A food intolerance, on the other hand, doesn't involve an immune system response that happens with an allergy but rather causes digestive issues (per MedicalNewsToday). So a lactose intolerant person has trouble digesting milk.

As it turns out, a true allergy to sugar doesn't exist, but sugar intolerance is fairly common (via MedicalNewsToday). People who are sugar intolerant have a hard time digesting it and can experience a range of symptoms from stomach cramps, gas, uncomfortable bloating, nausea, and fatigue (via Healthline). The severity of symptoms can be different from person to person. Thankfully, if you have a sugar intolerance, you don't need to stop eating all foods that contain sugar. According to MedicalNewsToday, you may find it helpful to keep a log of everything you eat and eliminate foods one by one until you discover which sugar is giving you trouble.