Please note, this is information I have gathered from various sources and should not be solely relied upon for diagnosis. If you think you may have similar symptoms, I strongly suggest you see your doctor.
Fructose is a sugar found naturally in many foods, including honey, wheat, fruits and vegetables. Fructose is present in a single sugar form and also as a chain of fructose sugar units (fructans). Normally, fructose is absorbed in the small bowel. In fructose malabsorption, a person’s ability to absorb fructose, fruit sugar, is impaired. This results in fructose passing through the intestines and being fermented by bacteria, causing both gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal bloating/cramps, constipation, loose stools, diarrhea or flatulence) and increased proliferation of certain intestinal bacteria and yeast which metabolise fructose.
Each FructMal sufferer will find there are “problem foods” for them, however not all sufferers are sensitive to the same trigger foods. For example, as FructMal is mostly a genetic condition, both my father and I are sufferes and whilst he can drink red wine and can’t tolerate any wheat, I am the opposite and cannot drink more than a sip of wine but can tolerate small amounts of bread/pasta. You can imagine how much fun it is for my mother to cook for us when I go to visit!!!!! It is also common for FructMal sufferers to also have dairy intolerances – I am lucky enough to still be able to have dairy!
Signs/symptoms of fructose malabsorption:
- Abdominal pain/discomfort
The Problem Foods….
The usual suspects are:
- Apple, pear, mango, watermelon, quince, paw paw, lychees, guava, pomegranate, grapes – the list goes on – in fact I can only eat berries and citrus and even oranges cause a small reaction if I go overboard with consumption!
(Apple and pear are two of the biggest problems, and are used to sweeten many things – Coke for instance, is sweetened with pear juice!) Grapes also can cause some people reactions, and in turn, wine can do the same.
- Excessive amounts dried fruit, fruit juice, tomato paste can cause a reaction.
- Veggies to avoid are onion, spring onion, leek, asparagus, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, witlof, chicory, radicchio, endive and dandelion greens. Peas in large amounts cause a reaction with me.
- I have the added bonus of being raffinose sensitive which means that chickpeas, legumes and beans are out of
the question as well.
- Honey, some brands of coconut cream (as it is thickened with wheat flour!) and large quantities of wheat of any kind causes a reaction. As such, most FructMal sufferers go gluten free but can tolerate rye, barley and oats as it is the wheat that is the problem.
- Fructose, fruit juice, sweeteners (apple juice concentrate, pear pastes) and high fructose corn syrups are ingredients that are concentrated in fructose and are a problem in large amounts. Consuming large quantities of even “safe” fruits can cause symptoms.
Some people can have both coeliac disease and fructose malabsorption. It is also somewhat common for auto immune sufferers (such as thyroid patients, those with diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis etc) to also suffer from fructose malabsorption or other intolerances.