Sugar Allergy : More Likely an Intolerance

Some people think they have a sugar allergy. Confirming this type of allergy can be devastating since so many foods contain some form of sugar. It is almost as tragic as a caffeine allergy for those who can not function without that first cup of coffee in the morning. Food allergies can be confused with food intolerance so it is important to know which you have. Some of the symptoms associated with an allergic reaction can occur but there is a good chance they are caused by an intolerance of refined sugar.

For many generations, parents believed that too much sugar caused their children to be hyperactive. While science has found no link between an over active child and the amount of sugar they eat, they have determined that too much sugar is never good for children. Reasons for less sugar consumption include increased risk of cavities, obesity and the possibility of developing an intolerance for sugar.

An intolerance to sugar has been shown to cause a resistance to insulin as well as rapid weight gain if ingested in too large a quantity. It can also lead to fatigue, joint pain, forgetfulness and confusion. The thinking process may also be affected by reducing neurotransmitters leading some people to think that a true sugar allergy has caused this reaction.

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Restlessness and inattention may be signs of a sugar intolerance, often confused as a sugar allergy. This is especially true for school-age children but while sugar intake will need to be monitored, it is not considered a true sugar allergy. When the body develops an allergy to a certain food, it is confusing that food with an allergen. The immune system responds to attempt to eliminate the threat. While many foods cause an allergic reaction in many people, studies have not supported the confirmation of sugar allergy.

Many allergic symptoms may appear in a person with an intolerance to refined sugar. They should therefore stay away from it in all forms. Elimination diets are usually needed and recommended for determining whether you are truly allergic or intolerant. If you believe that it is sugar, eliminate all forms of added sugar for a period of time, at least one week Keep track of what forms of sugar are ingested. If you find that your symptoms are less then you know you are on the right path to pinpointing your intolerance.

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Since sugar is such a common ingredient it is important to keep a diary of all the foods you eat and to note the ingredients. An elimination diet can be pretty tricky for someone who has a sugar allergy or an intolerance to sugar. You definitely need the guidance a professional like an allergist or at the very least your primary care physician. With the proper testing and tracking of what you eat you may also be able to find substitutes like brown sugar and natural sweeteners that you may have less a reaction to.

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76 Responses to “Sugar Allergy : More Likely an Intolerance”

  1. […] Marilyn Franklin writes for where you can find information on all allergy types including food allergies like a yeast allergy or sugar allergy. […]

  2. alex says:

    I cant a damn thing , no wheat no milt no tomato no sugar, I just threw out $100 food … I have nothing I can eat needless to say the is no god .. cant eat margine , even soy margine has whey wtf! is there sugar in margarine too? what the hellam i supposed to do , Im hungry VIOLENT SUICIDAL /HOMICAL becaus eof damn food reactions … that s part of it Im starving , threw $$ out the door , I cant eat rice or potatoes cuz I cant pout anything on them . I can only eat meat fish fresh veg. with basicall no topping s or anything I canyt live like this , what am i supposed to do

  3. colleen mchatten says:


    I have been to several doctors and have had every test imaginable, with no answers to my health problems.
    For almost 20 years, I have consumed very little sugar.
    I actually don’t even like the taste of anything sweet and rarely eat or drink anything that isn’t sour, yet even if I drink unsweetened grapefruit juice, I get terrible migraines within a few hours.
    I have all the above symptoms such as fatigue, restlessness, inability to concentrate by times and bouts of depression or crankiness.
    I thought that maybe I was allergic to coffee(no sugar) but I have cut my coffe consumption down to 3 cups per day and my symptoms are still steadily increasing.
    Can you tell me if my symptoms may be related to a sugar intolerance. If not do you have any idea of what may be causing these reactions.

  4. Tanya says:

    Hi there,

    I also get depressed and angry. I thought it could be pre-menopause and it apppears to be more PMT. I am 41 and my monthly cycle is becoming more irregular. I had a blood test to check to see if I am going through menopause, the doctor said I wasn’t. Today I have had a headache and been very moody. Last night I ate a chocolate pudding, which I havn’t had for a long time. The last time I felt this moody was when I ate chocolate a couple of months ago. And I ate soup made that had soup stock in it that was made from articifical flavourings. From now on I am staying away from chocolate and foods with large amount of sugar. (chocolate puddings, chocolate, lollies etc). Its not worth the day of feeling very grumpy.

  5. Des says:

    COLLEEN: I am going through the very thing that you are. I, too, thought that maybe it was my coffee (no sugar). (I like my coffee, tea, juice w/ no sugar) I then started taking out dairy–mainly it was skim milk (for cold cereal) and half n half for my coffee. I cut the h&h months ago and still no help. I cut the skim (organic) milk weeks ago and still nothing. I have to say that there was a minor change for a slim moment, but all in all, if that were the cause, then I should feel great now. So, something has been nudging me for awhile (in my head) thinking that “MAYBE it’s sugar.” Although, I am like you & consume not that much sugar. As far as the unsweetened grapefruit juice…I SO feel you on that! In fact, I thought, “ok, I’m gonna just cleasne my body…” So, I bought in bulk Naked juice–which is 100% sugar free and all natural–JUST JUICE–no additives–just how I like it. Well, even though there is no “refined” sugar in juice, there IS sugar. But, WTH??? I don’t know, it’s frustrating that PURE 100% juice–which is supposed to be healthy–u know, fruits and veggies–can make you feel so damn SICK!!! I, too, have gone to MANY doc’s and they treat me as if I am making all this up. “Uh-huh…yeah…okay…well Ms., I think you are depressed.” WTF??? I’ll tell you when I’m depressed…when I have tried ALL that I know to try, cut out all that I know to cut out, switch to “healthy” (although I have been mainly a healthy eater, with exception to ice cream, cocoa puffs, etc, every now and again–but not part of my daily)….and STILL have these HORRIBLE symptoms!!! I don’t know what to do. I so feel for ALEX!!!! It really can take you to the limit with things!!!! If you find out anything new, please keep in touch… Thanks!! 🙂

    ALEX: I’m am SOOO very sorry to hear of your AWFUL plight! I wish that there were something that I could do for you! I completely understand how you come to the end of the rope and cast out God. I get it…really I do! On top of having my own health problems and constant problems with food, I have twins that have the same issues. Diagnosed with Autism, they too, are on restricted diets. Luckily, I started them out healthy eaters before all the BS, but guess what?? As I’m sure YOU know, “healthy” does NOT mean healthy for all of us, right? I mean “healthy” is whole grains and fresh juice and veggies, etc., right? Well, for my twins, it was actually killing them in a sense. It was destroying their intestines and digestive system. It was AWFUL and I did not find out ANY of this for YEARS!!! It was only until I started doing things on my own and talking to others, that I discovered WTH the problem was!! NO doctor–and believe me, there were MANY–could help me with them!! “Oh, it’s just gas.” “Oh, we don’t know” “Here, try some of these drugs on them….but we’re not sure….” WTF???? Alas, it was due to whole grains and gluten and dairy and a mix of other things!! Although, those tend to be the main culprits, even with cutting all that out, we can still have issues!! SOOO FRUSTRATING!!! Now, it seems, in the last few years, I am developing allergies to food. And I used to be able to eat ANYTHING, any time!!! It’s awful and I feel your pain and I just wish I had an answer for you! I know that the way in which I have been physically feeling for sometime now, can just make you want to jump off a bridge! What kind of a “life” is this? I understand, and I’m sorry. I’m wishing you the best and I pray that you will find an answer! I wish that for ALL of us.

  6. Jessica says:

    Go see Doctor Winer in Pittsburgh PA he’s a hollistic doctor and treated me for my dairy allergy. no pain and no needles. my insurance doesn’t cover in but some things can’t have a price tag. I’m getting my sugar treatment done in a couple months. He’s very busy and you usually have to wait 2 months for an appointment but its worth it. I have colitis and he found that allergies are the cause. I feel your pain when you say you’re hungry…..I am too and I have wasted tons of money on food as well. Im only 80 pounds and can’t wait to gain a little weight for the winter months after my treatment

  7. Durell says:

    I had multiple food allergies soy, lactose, cane sugar suffered with anxiexy depression memory prob inability to concentrate. They all have been corrected through an alternative Dr in Coeurd’Alene Idaho Dr. Tony smith at Dynamic Health. He has a patten on a method he developed called cranio biotics. You have to keep an open mind. I was skeptical at first but he has been amazing. I still can’t tollerate eggs thats a small price to pay for eating all the other things that used to make me sick.

  8. […] with your doctor. They may also further direct you to an allergist.Find more on food allergies like sugar allergy and yeast allergy at […]

  9. Joel Konrad says:

    You not going to believe this but I have lost all day digging for some articles about this. You’re a lifesaver, it was a essential read and really helped me out. Kind regards,Homepage

  10. Sk says:

    Hello colleen
    I too used to get a reaction from sugar. Headache, dizziness, fatigue and a terrible itchy rash on my face minutes after ingesting a large amount of sugar like in sodas and juices. What I did was stay away from sweets for like 15 years until I got pregnant with my son. My body craved sweets like no other so I started consuming high amount of sugar including juice,icecream etc. I never had any of the symptoms I used to have. After pregnancy is a another story. I get the symptoms after consuming sweets but not as severe. What I’ve noticed is my eyesight getting worse. I had LASIK about 7 years ago and Had perfect vision up until now. I had horrible nearsightedness starting as a child and Im wondering if that was caused by sugar consumption. My parents and brother has perfect vision.

    I was sure I had diabetes and every doctor I went to would laugh and say there is no way I could have diabetes and sure enough, tests would confirm I didn’t. Then why couldn’t they explain what was happening to my body when I ingested a good amount of sweets? They all thought I was crazy!!!

    I think sugar intolerance/ allergy could be a potentially dangerous problem that not many people are aware of. Im glad I found this article because I couldn’t find answers to my problem. Because I thought I was the only one with sugar I tolerance/ allergy.

  11. Sk says:

    Hello colleen

    I Reread your response

    maybe it may be a Candida/ yeast problem? You say you don’t drink anything but sour drinks. Maybe that’s causing your body to become acidic and yeast thrive I acidic bodies. But they really thrive on sugar and when you do consume sweets, maybe your body is reacting to the Candida/ yeast.

    Symptoms of Candida overgrowth may be fatigue, restlessness, mood swings, irritibility, depression etc and a whole host of other problems.

    Google Candida overgrowth and you may be surprised at what you find. Hope this helps!

  12. sharon says:

    I seem to have negative reactions to sugar too…..all kinds of sugar….honey, juices, regular refined sugar products, sugar substitutes etc… i seem to be okay with very small amounts of berries or melon eaten with a meal once a day or less…but any more than that and my toes swell plus all the other hypoglycemic symptoms (fatigue, mood swings, inability to concentrate etc….). It’s extremely uncomfortable. My toes turn purple and get so puffy and itchy and it hurts to wear shoes, but when I lay off the sugar the symptoms slowly start to fade. I’ve had blood work and I’m not diabetic and my circulation is good. I wear those compression socks but they don’t really help. all I can think of is just to eat as little sugar as possible….. it sucks b/c i have a HUGE sweet tooth….but on the upside i’ve lost 10 lbs?!
    anyone else have the toe swelling problem?

    • Mah says:

      Sharon, I also have the toe swelling problem. My problem started when I started eating a lot of cherries. Then I noticed that watermelon was doing the same thing to me. First I would get this itchy red rash all over my body and then my toes started swelling up. The itch drives me crazy. Sometimes my fingers also swell up.

  13. Dhanielle says:

    I get horrible symptoms from comsuming any kind of sugars, from fruit to cake, to juice and also get Migrains from Dairy…
    They started out as joint pain and I had no idea what was causing it, doctors said my joints were just inflamed from growing or something…
    So I started catching on and figured out it was sugar that was now giving me headaches/migrains, fatigue, memory loss, joint pain and just an all over sickly feeling…
    I too told doctors about this who like other people said gave me the “Aaah yeeeeeah, suuure it does….” Kinda “You’re totally making this all up, you have mental issues” spin…

  14. Cindy says:

    Wow. I’m so glad to find all these comments of fellow sugar/sensitive people. I’ve had problems with sugar for years and no doctor has ever believed I could be allergic to sugar. I also am lactose intolerant and I believe my sugar intolerance is like the lactose intolerance. I can take so much of sugar and believe me I put it to the test because I have a sweet tooth and then all of a sudden I have symptoms. Most of the time it has been one foot becoming intensely itchy. But lately, I have been breaking out in huge welts all over my body. Especially after drinking even a tiny bit of red wine. Last night I avoided red wine but had chinese food and soy sauce. I was miserable within a half hour of eating. Benadryl and calomine lotion seem to be my only relief. today I will start no sugar, yeasts and probiotics. Haven’t found a doctor to help me yet, but am starting accupuncture alternative medicine on Monday. any other ideas, please let me know. I don’t want to go to an allergist yet. My father had the same thing a few years ago, related to yeast and soy.

  15. Musee says:

    Well, this sugar allergy/intollerance story is normally one thats hard to accept and believe. I have been living with these type pf reactions for as long as i can recall; but have been relactant to accept that it could be caused by sugar! why? Because sugar is really sweet, and its found in many of the other on the shelves foods!

    Yet i have been suspecting it alot! Whenever i take my usual cup of coffee/tea, my eye lids itch, the nose itches and stuffs, the face becomes very dry and rough, and sometimes sneeze violently!

    If i find out that sugar is the victim, i will really be upset! It will probably have denied me a better life normally associated with perfect schooling; for i couldnt concentrate in class during these bouts…them days! I will also be very mad to the sugar manufacturing companies, who put no hint on packages that sugar could be possibly allergic to some people! I will also be mad at my doctor who cant figure out such simple problem, and keeps prescribing antibiotices, anti-hestamines, or even recommenting nasal drainage!

    If i was any younger, i would read and specialise into this area of allergy to find out the real truth (an area that has really dulled my otherwise good life) and possibly expose the greedy commercial firms who care less to investigate possible reactions of their products! If i was less civil, i would insist that my babies make it up by studying this area…But then, i have to grant them choice…


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  17. ted says:

    Hi Sharon colleen and others,

    I have the worst reaction to sugar as well, I get pelvic pain and also I have hemmoroids, which act up. As well as the other fatigue, headach, inability to concentrate. I have been going to a american indian doctor who also said It was a candida infection that was causing the intense cravings for sugar! And then the candida produces a byproduct that is poisonous to your system and causes inflammation. Also this candida, takes all your nutrition so you keep feeding the candida with sugar and all your nutrients leaving you starving, and craving more. If you have the symptoms of fatigue, headache, it might be a candida infection eventually with the infection it can spread to your EYES! and all your different organs can be infected by this, and doctors tests do not test for it! So forget it! Ive spent thousands on doctors. I suggest journal the foods you eat and your reactions to them (how you feel) see what foods make you feelgood, and if you have any adverse reactions. tired, grumpy… and then eat less of the bad and good. Also, I reccommed XYLITOL, its a sugar kind of like equal but made ffrom real fruits, SO tasty and sweeter thann sugar! you can cook with it and use it in place of sugar. But sorry refined table sugar as well as carbohydrates, yeast, corn starch, gluten, corn flour, flour…. FEEDS THE CANDIDA!!!!So sorry but must cut these allout! also cows milk is not great either buy almond milk,

  18. Jennie says:

    Have you tried squeeze parkay. It has no whey or dairy.

  19. […] more on food allergies like sugar allergy and yeast allergy at […]

  20. kimberley says:

    wow soo many girls here im glad i found this i realised i have a sugar problem as well for about five days i was at my boyfriends parents place and they use sweetner instead of sugar i soo now im at home today day and had coffee with white sugar and i just went soo hot and i wasnt like that when i had the sweetner but this has been good seeing soo many people here and im glad i know its not just me

  21. Teri says:

    I see the last post from february. I have just found this site..

    Sharon..yes I have swelling too,not only on my toes, my all feet.
    It started 4 months ago. The docs ran every kind of blood tests on me. I’m not diabetic..never had problem with sugar, at least I didn’t know.

    The swelling got so bad about 2 months ago, and I decided to to a juice fasting. To my big surprise the my feet are got so much better.

    When I finished the fasting..I returned to my morning tea with sugar and milk, within 1!! day my feets swelled up again.

    From two days I’ don’t eat sugar whatsoever, even honey..and it much better again.
    It can’t be a coincidence.

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