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Diet for Disaccharide Malabsorption

author image Melodie Anne
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.
Diet for Disaccharide Malabsorption
Enjoy your favorite cut of meat while following a disaccharide-free diet. Photo Credit: yelo34/iStock/Getty Images

Disaccharides are a type of carbohydrate. Disaccharide intolerance, which is characterized by malabsorption of disaccharides, is a rare disorder often diagnosed during infancy. If you or your child has problems with normal disaccharide absorption, consult a registered dietitian. She can make recommendations for a diet plan that limits disaccharides while incorporating foods you love.

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Disaccharide Intolerance

Disaccharide intolerance occurs when you don't produce the enzymes sucrase and isomaltase, which are essential for breaking down disaccharides. Malabsorption of disaccharides is not life-threatening, but you may experience episodes of watery diarrhea and abdominal discomfort when you eat foods containing disaccharides. Usually this disorder occurs in babies and children tend to outgrow it as they age.

Types of Disaccharides

Sucrose, or plain white table sugar, is the most commonly known disaccharide. Other common types include lactose, or milk sugar, lactulose and maltose. Avoid eating foods that list these specific types of disaccharides as ingredients.

Foods to Include

While limiting disaccharide carbohydrates in your diet may seem difficult, there are a variety of foods you can still enjoy. Animal proteins, such as chicken, beef, pork and veal, as well as seafood and shrimp, do not contain any type of carbohydrates. You can also enjoy a variety of vegetables such as asparagus, salad greens, eggplant, peppers and onions. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn and peas, are high in carbohydrates, but they contain starch which is a type of polysaccharide. Fructose, a type of sugar found in fruits, is a monosaccharide. Including your favorite fruits in your daily diet is another way to avoid consuming disaccharides.

Foods to Avoid

Exclude any processed foods from your diet that have added sucrose. Be wary of candies, cakes, cookies, chocolate bars and ice cream, all of which often contain sucrose. You may also find sucrose hidden in your breakfast cereal or yogurt. Some types of beer are rich in maltose, a type of disaccharide, so you need to eliminate drinking beer. Avoid consuming dairy foods or foods processed in an environment where they may come into contact with dairy. Since milk foods are rich in lactose, having milk or other dairy product, may aggravate your digestive tract.

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