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Keywords:

  • Acute gastroenteritis;
  • carbohydrate intolerance

The prevalence of carbohydrate intolerance in Polish children during an acute episode of gastroenteritis was determined. One hundred and seven consecutive children, less than 3 years old, with acute diarrhoea were enrolled into the study. Carbohydrate intolerance (diagnostic criteria: >0.5% reducing substances and stool pH less than 5.5) was diagnosed in 14/107 (13.08%) children: lactose intolerance was present in 12 (11.2%) patients; glucose polymer intolerance in 1 (0.93%) and monosaccharide intolerance in 1 (0.93%). The most important predisposing factor was rotavirus. In all cases the carbohydrate intolerance was transient, resolving within 5 days. Carbohydrate intolerance is also an infrequent problem in Polish children. Restriction of lactose-containing foods (use of lactose-free or low lactose formulas) for the majority of children with gastroenteritis does not seem to be justified.