I don’t know about you, but I find Nutrition Facts labels confusing when it comes to determining the total starch and sugar content in a packaged food. They isolate the carbohydrates by sugars and fiber. This does not help us much as sugar can stand for sucrose, fructose, glucose, lactose or other forms of sugar. There is a way, however, to use the Nutrition Facts Label in conjunction with the ingredients to estimate how much sucrose and starch a serving of food contains.
First of all, choose foods with very few ingredients whenever possible.The more ingredients the food has, the more daunting this task will become. Consider it a junk-food-proof motivation to stick with mostly pure, unprocessed foods whenever possible!
Next, you will need to memorize all the different names for sugar— primarily anything ending in “-ose”, with the exception of fructose and glucose. Unless there is another dietary issue, these monosaccharides (single molecule sugars) can be tolerated by those with CSID. Also anything containing the words syrup, such as rice syrup and corn syrup. Palm kernel nectar is also over 90% sucrose. Other names for sugar include cane sugar, cane juice, turbano sugar, brown sugar, and molasses. Please see “Choosing the Best Sugar Substitute” for an overview of all sweeteners.
Generally the order of the ingredients indicates the percentage of the ingredient used to make the overall product. If sugar is the first word, you should avoid it all together, unless total sugars per serving is less than 5 grams.
Please note that experimenting and estimating starch and sugar content in packaged foods should not be attempted during episodes of major symptoms. Ideally, the child or adult should have successfully completed 3 weeks of the Induction Diet without symptoms before adding foods which may contain starch or sugar.
Performing the following steps and calculations will help you to determine if a food is tolerable, as well as how much sugar or starch a serving contains.
- TOTAL Carbohydrates per serving should be no more than 35 grams. From what I have learned anything more than this probably contains too much starch for the CSID diet. If starch tolerance levels have not been determined, this number should be far lower. If Sucraid is not available and if any of the ingredients include a form of sugar, this food should be avoided for the time being.
- Then look at the breakdown of sugars and fiber below the carbohydrates. Comparing the ingredients again, search for sources of fiber if the food contains fiber in any amount. Fiber sources which may irritate those with CSID or other digestive problems include wheat, bran, corn, rice, quinoa, potatoes, farina, wheat germ, and others. To play it safe, only choose foods containing fiber sources from fruits, vegetables, legumes (if they are sprouted) and nuts. If the source of fiber is “safe” (not from a grain), you can then subtract the total fiber from the total carbohydrates. Using the label above as an example, we now have 3 grams of carbohydrates left to account for.
- To determine total starch content, the next step is to subtract the total sugars from the remaining carbohydrates. This means a serving of the Breakfast Quiche labeled above has a total of 2 grams of starch per serving. This is an acceptable amount of starch since it most likely comes from the almond flour and possibly the mushrooms.
- If you want to find out the total sucrose content, the figuring is not as specific. Depending on the type of food, you can make an educated guess at best. As always, when in doubt, just don’t use the food at all. If for example, you are looking at a carton of ice cream, you can assume that the majority of the total “sugars” is probably from lactose or the milk sugar. However, the total sugars per serving with Sucraid should not exceed 25 grams.
No grains or sucrose.
- TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES less than 35grams per serving
- Carbohydrates – fiber = sugar and starch
- Carbohydrates – fiber & sugar = starch
Remember dairy products containing lactose are counted in the total sugars.
Group A (or limited maltose enzymes) should not have any starches from grains– almond flour and fiber from non-sugary fruits are okay.
Group C, symptom-free may be able to tolerate up to 35 grams of starch per serving. See “Starch Tolerance Test” to help determine individual tolerance levels.
Use Sucraid 1-2ml with foods containing more than 5 grams of sucrose per serving.