ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fructose malabsorption – Diet, Test, Symptoms, Causes

Updated on August 18, 2014

Fructose is a term used for a monosaccharide or a solitary sugar and often called fruit sugar. It is like glucose but with a varied molecular content/structure. It may have the same calories as sugar but is a lot sweeter. The body can remain healthy and survive without fructose, thereby making it a non-essential nutrient.

The human body cannot absorb unlimited fructose. Most humans can consume 20-25 grams of fructose in a single meal. When a person is unable to intake even 25 grams of fructose in a meal, then he/she is said to be suffering from fructose malabsorption.

Fructose malabsorption is not the same as an allergic reaction. It does cause the usual allergic response symptoms like itchiness or hives.Unabsorbed fructose can result in diarrhea and bloating. Unabsorbed fructose takes in intestinal water and passes into the colon where bacteria react on it and break it down into small fatty acids chains and gases. This is what causes diarrhea and bloating.

Fructose naturally occurs in sugar beets, honey, certain veggies, sugarcane, wheat, and fruits. Foods and commercial drinks may also have fructose which may be naturally present or added as sweetener.

Symptoms of fructose malabsorption

Fructose malabsorption and ‘hereditary fructose intolerance’ are two dissimilar conditions. The latter is an uncommon genetic disorder wherein affected people lack the enzyme necessary for breaking down fructose. The condition is detected early in childhood and can cause severe health problems like liver and kidney damage. Contrarily, the former is a mild condition and may be diagnosed at any age.

The symptoms in either case may become evident in some hours post meals containing fructose, or after about 24 hours. Some patients may elicit the symptoms after consuming 20 grams of fructose, while some others may have a limit of just 1 gram.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of fructose malabsorption are listed below:

  • Excessive flatulence, increased gurgling, abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
  • Aversion to sweet-tasting foods in some patients.
  • Fructose malabsorption related diarrhea can result in loss of essential nutrients like iron, vitamins, etc. from the body before their absorption by the intestines. This can ultimately result in anemia, nutrition deficits, and other medical problems.
  • In rare cases, affected individuals may suffer from additional symptoms like anxiety, weight loss, headache, fatigue, depression, and sugar cravings.

Causes of fructose malabsorption

People of all age groups can suffer from fructose malabsorption. Some of its many causes are listed below:

  • SIBO or increased presence of bacteria in the small intestine.
  • Some people may inherit the condition from either parent with a GLUT-5 anomaly. GLUT-5 is a protein which transports fructose. In such cases, other members of the family are also susceptible to developing fructose malabsorption.
  • Excessive intake of High Fructose Corn Syrup by babies, or increased amounts of fruit juice intake by children can cause fructose-malabsorption-linked toddler’s diarrhea.
  • Damage of the intestinal walls due to varied therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy can also cause fructose malabsorption.
  • Underlying presence of celiac disease or dumpling syndrome, a condition characterized by rapid emptying of the stomach, can increase the susceptibility to developing fructose malabsorption.

It is important for the glucose to fructose ratio to be adequate for preventing fructose malabsorption symptoms. This is because a single glucose molecule helps absorb 1 fructose molecule. Thus when the glucose to fructose ratio is equal, it improves the absorption of fructose into the body even in fructose malabsorption patients.

Tests for fructose malabsorption

The standard test for verifying the presence of fructose malabsorption is the ‘Hydrogen Breath Test’. It is a simple procedure which does not need any drawing of blood and which can carried out at a clinic.

Some patients may opt for a fructose elimination diet instead of the breath test. It is best to carry out the diet exercise in consultation with a doctor who is aware of fructose malabsorption so as to ensure that the diet is proper and that sufficient nutrition is sustained during the period of elimination.

If the diet is carried out properly and the person is suffering from fructose malabsorption, then the results will be good. It may however be noted that if the elimination does not give proper results, but fructose malabsorption needs to be verified, then the hydrogen breath test needs to be conducted.

Fructose malabsorption – Diet which works

Doctors are currently unaware of any cure for fructose malabsorption. Patients can however manage the symptoms by going for a diet that contains the least amounts of fructose, or by completely eliminating it from the diet along with fructans and sorbitol.

A fructose free diet may include:

  • Fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, limes, lemons, rhubarb, raspberries, and strawberries
  • Vegetables like black beans, cauliflower, cabbage, chickpeas, celery, cucumbers, haricot beans, green peppers, kidney beans, lentils, leafy greens, shallots, and mushrooms.
  • Fats and dairy products like butter, ice cream, cheese, lard, milk, margarine, yogurt, and vegetable oils.
  • All meats and meat items, including chicken, beef, eggs, pork, fish, and turkey.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)