We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Sugar Intolerance?

By Christine Hudson
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
TheHealthBoard is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At TheHealthBoard, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Sugar intolerance describes any condition in which the body is unable to absorb basic sugars. Different kinds of sugar intolerance include fructose intolerance, a sugar allergy, and even lactose intolerance.

The main cause of sugar intolerance is a deficiency of the enzyme lactase. This enzyme is meant to break down sugars into digestible forms so they can be digested of absorbed by the body, and a deficiency makes this very hard or even impossible. When this enzyme is gone, a bacterium that resides in the digestive tract can ferment into gases, resulting in many uncomfortable symptoms.

Fructose intolerance is a fairly rare condition that affects about one in every 10,000 individuals. Many people confuse it with sugar or fructose malabsorption, but they are two very different conditions. Fructose intolerance is a condition in which the enzymes for breaking down sugars are not being produced. This intolerance can be passed genetically and will last a lifetime. Fructose malabsorption is far more common and affects over 30% of the population. This happens when epithelial cells are not available to help with digestion. Almost one in three people experience some type of sugar sensitivity, but many have no symptoms.

The symptoms of a sugar allergy may include diarrhea, bloating, and excessive gas. These symptoms will appear a few hours after consuming drinks or foods that contain simple or even complex sugars. An individual can avoid this condition by staying away from common foods which contain sugar or fructose. Fruits, juices, and soft drinks contain large amounts of these ingredients and should be avoided.

Lactose intolerance occurs when the lactase level is too low or non-existent and the molecule, which consists of two sugar molecules joined together, cannot be broken apart and digested. Those who have this form of sugar intolerance are commonly advised to take a lactase supplement before consuming any foods that contain sugars. Many also choose to substitute normal milk for soy, nut, or lactose-free milk. There are many kinds of food which may contain lactose or sugars that may need to be avoided or eaten very sparingly.

Most who believe they may have a sugar intolerance can go to a medical professional for diagnosis. If a professional diagnosis reveals a sugar intolerance of any kind, then the patient may be advised on how to combat the problem. Medication or supplements may be issued, and typically the patient will work closely with doctors or nutritionists to develop a dietary plan. The most effective way to live with a sugar intolerance, if it is not treatable, is to learn which foods to avoid.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By literally45 — On Jul 11, 2013

But how is sugar intolerance diagnosed?

I think that I have an intolerance to sugar, specifically to fructose, because I have bloating, cramping, nausea and diarrhea after I eat fruits. But my doctor thinks that I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS causes some of the same symptoms, so how can I find out if I have sugar intolerance or not? Is there a test for it? Do I have to do an elimination diet?

If I do get a diagnosis, will the doctor tell me that I just have a sugar intolerance or will I get to know what type of sugar intolerance I have as well? Does anyone here know?

By ddljohn — On Jul 10, 2013

@fify-- No, they're not the same thing. The only things that sugar intolerance and diabetes have in common are that they're both hereditary and they're both metabolic disorders.

Diabetes is when the body doesn't produce insulin or the insulin that's produced doesn't recognize the sugar molecules in blood. There is no such issue in sugar intolerance. Sugar intolerant people have insulin and the insulin recognizes the sugar molecules. It's just that the sugar cannot be metabolized.

Sugar intolerance is much like gluten and lactose intolerance. It causes very similar digestive symptoms.

By fify — On Jul 09, 2013

What's the difference between sugar intolerance and diabetes? Isn't diabetes a type of sugar intolerance too?

TheHealthBoard, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

TheHealthBoard, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.