Raffinose intolerance: sensitivity to the carbohydrate can lead to unpleasant symptoms. Understand

 Raffinose intolerance: sensitivity to the carbohydrate can lead to unpleasant symptoms. Understand

Lena Fisher

Carbohydrates are essential macronutrients for our survival. energy for the body But did you know that some people have a so-called intolerance to raffinose, a type of the macronutrient?

That's right. Such a condition can trigger uncomfortable symptoms, often socially unpleasant ( gases But it doesn't have to be this way! It is possible, with the help of a specialist, to find solutions to this issue.

Read also: Irritable bowel syndrome: know the causes, symptoms and treatments

What exactly is raffinose?

To understand what raffinose is, it is worth knowing more about types of carbohydrates According to Dr. Carlos Machado, a general practitioner and specialist in integrative medicine, carbohydrates are usually the most abundant and cheapest macronutrients that exist. They are divided into a few types, according to the amount of "parts" each molecule carries:

  • Monosaccharides: They are also known as simple carbohydrates: "We can mention glucose, fructose (fruit sugar), and galactose (present in milk and other elements)";
  • Disaccharides: two fragments - from here on they are already called complex carbohydrates Like sucrose, maltose and lactose;
  • Oligosaccharides: three to 10 "parts";
  • Polysaccharides: Examples are starch and glycogen produced by the liver itself," concludes the professional.

Raffinose belongs to the group of oligosaccharides (or trisaccharides), since it is formed by three elements (galactose, fructose, and glucose):

  • Oilseeds: peanuts, walnuts;
  • Cereals: rice, oats, rye, barley, granola, corn, wheat;
  • Vegetables: peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils;
  • Fruits: banana, kiwi, orange, grape;
  • Vegetables: Pumpkin, zucchini, artichoke, leek, asparagus, potato, beet, broccoli, onion, carrot, chicory, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, spinach, bell pepper, cucumber, cabbage.

"These foods are also rich in fermentable carbohydrates, which are more difficult to be digested and absorbed by the human body, so they end up being fermented by the very bacteria present in our intestines," explains nutrologist Dr Daniela Gomes, from the Albert Sabin Hospital.

In some people, the sensitivity is greater, which exacerbates gas formation and the appearance of symptoms such as abdominal distension, colic and diarrhea³.

Raffinose intolerance

In the specific case of raffinose intolerance, the aforementioned discomforts appear because we humans do not have the enzyme responsible for breaking the trisaccharide into its smaller fragments. Thus, fermentation occurs by the micro-organisms in the intestine. "The process causes the production of carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen, worsening gas and flatulence. So, they gothere are people with more gas, and people with less gas, depending on the gut flora ", adds the general practitioner.

Usually, the diagnosis is made by self-observation of the patient, who notices the discomfort when eating certain items, and brings the complaint to the doctor's office.

Read also: Probiotic-rich foods - beyond yogurt

Treatment for raffinose intolerance

The treatment seeks to reduce the consumption of "fermenting" foods, "but it is not interesting to cut them out of the diet completely, since some are extremely beneficial to health," points out the nutrologist.

The doctor explains that one way out is to reduce the intake of fermentable carbohydrates at first, and then improve the intestinal microbiota. preservatives and make use of specific probiotics "In case of raffinose intolerance, the use of alpha-Galactosidase This is the enzyme that humans do not have, and that digests the carbohydrate in question⁴.

Finally, after the treatment, the reintroduction of food is done gradually, "so that the diet can be healthy and balanced," concludes Dr. Daniela Gomes.


  • Prof Dr Carlos Machado (CRM SP 41.937), general practitioner and specialist in Preventive Medicine, author of the book You are what you eat;
  • Dr Daniela Gomes (CRM SP 122.126), nutrologist at Albert Sabin Hospital .


  • [¹] - Pinheiro DM, Porto KRA, Menezes MES. A química dos alimentos: carboidratos, lipídeos, proteínas, vitaminas e minerais. Maceió, AL: Edufal; 2005. (Conversando sobre ciências em Alagoas);
  • [²] - Courtois J. Oligosaccharides from land plants and algae: production and applications in therapeutics and biotechnology. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2009;12(3):261-73;
  • [³] - Tahir M. Characterization of raffinose family oligosaccharides in lentil seeds.

    Saskatoon, SK: Thesis [PhD in Plant Sciences] - University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; 2011;

  • [⁴] - Solomons N, Vasquez A, Grazioso C. Orally-ingested, microbial alpha-galactosidases produce effective in vivo, intraintestinal digestion of the bean oligosaccharide.Gastroenterology. 1991;100:A251.

Lena Fisher

Lena Fisher is a wellness enthusiast, certified nutritionist, and author of the popular health and well-being blog. With over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition and health coaching, Lena has dedicated her career to helping people achieve their optimal health and live their best life possible. Her passion for wellness has led her to explore various approaches to achieving overall health, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices. Lena's blog is a culmination of her years of research, experience, and personal journey towards finding balance and well-being. Her mission is to inspire and empower others to make positive changes in their lives and embrace a healthy lifestyle. When she's not writing or coaching clients, you can find Lena practicing yoga, hiking the trails, or experimenting with new healthy recipes in the kitchen.