When you’re trying to figure out a food intolerance, certain results aren’t surprising. A lactose intolerance, for instance, is common knowledge. Gluten intolerance is a buzzword these days.
But what about fructose intolerance? Let’s consider this less well-known (though still common) intolerance and what you can do if you find you aren’t digesting fruit sugars properly.
Fructose intolerance (also called fructose malabsorption) comes from an inability to digest fructose — also called fruit sugar. This is present in various fruits, vegetables, processed foods, and even honey.
Fructose intolerance is common in certain areas of the world. Approximately 30% of Europeans, for instance, have the condition to some degree. Research also indicates that as much as a third of IBS patients are misdiagnosed and actually have fructose intolerance.
If you’re living with or even suspect that you’re living with fructose intolerance, there are plenty of safe, effective things that you can do to make life easier and enjoy your food again. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
The first step you can take is to educate yourself regarding what foods have high quantities of fructose. The most obvious of these are fruits and veggies — but not all of them. For example, cranberries, strawberries, and bananas tend to be lower in fructose, as do sweet potatoes, winter squash, celery, and green pepper. In general, though, most fruits and vegetables have the potential to set off a fructose intolerance.
Other foods to avoid include apple and pear juice, jams, and processed products such as soda, sweets, sauces, dressings, cookies, and even breakfast cereals. Read labels, too. Look out for foods with sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup, honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, and coconut or palm sugar.
To be clear, you don’t have to ditch these foods entirely. Instead, be aware of the potential harm they can wreak on your digestive tract, which leads us to our next tip…
Fructose intolerance may be common, but it isn’t consistent. Many people deal with varying degrees of symptoms. Some of these are painful while others are more manageable.
Take some time to gauge how light or heavy your fructose intolerance is. One way to do so is by trying the FODMAP diet.
This is a scientific meal plan that helps you eliminate and then slowly introduce potential trouble foods back into your diet. This can give you an idea of what foods are particularly bad for your system and which ones are less of a concern.
When you have a fructose intolerance, you lack the protein GLUT-5, which helps fructose absorb into the intestine wall. One workaround that the body uses is to attach fructose to glucose as it’s absorbed via the GLUT-2 protein.
This works in a one-to-one ratio. However, if you have too much fructose in your system, some will be left behind. These are called free fructose, and they pass into your large intestine where they’re broken down by bacteria, leading to bloating, gas, and other unpleasant symptoms.
If you eat balanced quantities of glucose and fructose, it can help your body manage your fructose absorption. You can use a tool like the FODMAP app from Monash University to monitor which foods have a healthy balance of glucose and fructose and which ones will introduce more free fructose into your system.
Intoleran’s enzyme and digestive support products can help with the process of managing fructose intolerance, too. Our fructase dietary supplement, for example, helps with fructose malabsorption. It contains the enzyme Xylose Isomerase, which can help the body break down excess fruit sugar.
If you’re not sure if you are dealing with IBS or fructose malabsorption, you can also use our popular “catch-all” digestive intolerance tool quatrase forte. This consists of an enzyme mix (including Xylose Isomerase) that many use for holistic enzyme support for weaker digestion.
At Intoleran, we love to see people enjoy their food again. If you’re living with fructose intolerance, you can take multiple steps to tailor your diet and find the foods that you can still eat without the concern that you’ll pay the price later.
All that’s required is to invest in a little nutritional education and find the tools to allow you to improve your diet, and by extension, your quality of life.