Reasons Why So Many People Now Suffer From Fructose Malabsorption
Fruit sugar also known as ‘Fructose’, which is found in many different types of natural and highly processed foods, can often be the cause of uncomfortable bloating, excessive gas, frequent diarrhea and painful cramps.
People that suffer when they eat foods high in Fructose are normally suffering from what is called, Fructose Malabsorption .
The Reasons Why So Many People Now Suffering From Fructose Malabsorption
These days with our modern diets, that rely on fast foods and convenient, pre-package foods, our bodies are being overloaded with ingredients they just don’t need. One of the biggest digestive overloads comes from Fructose.
In people with more sensitive digestive systems, an overload of fructose, along with a diet high in other FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharide’s and polyols) foods, puts a huge strain on our digestive systems.
High fructose foods are very hard for the body to process and this may lead to Fructose Malabsorption and also a reactive gut when you eat foods high in other FODMAPs.
A High Fructose Diet Is Poison
When fructose and high FODMAP foods don’t travel smoothly through our digestive systems, it causes symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramps, nausea and diarrhea.
Important: Fructose Malabsorption should not be confused with Hereditary Fructose Intolerance, which is a serious and potentially fatal condition, see – hereditary fructose intolerance
The Western Diet is a highly processed diet and is absolutely overloaded with fructose. While most humans can comfortably absorb 25g of fructose in a sitting, our highly sweetened and processed diets contain much higher levels and for people that are sensitive to fructose, the results are uncomfortable and often embarrassing gut issues e.g cramps and excessive gas etc. http://www.livestrong.com/article/372656-consumption-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup-hfcs-in-the-western-diet/
Fructose is found in many of our foods naturally and in small doses it is considered healthy enough e.g honey and certain fruits such as apples, mangoes and pears, are all high in fructose. The problems start to occur when we consume much more fructose, often unknowingly, than our digestive systems can handle.
Fructose sweeteners are inexpensive and very sweet, so are used heavily in processed foods. High Fructose Corn Syrup for example, is a real problem for fructose sensitive individuals, (currently estimated to be in the Western World around 40% of the population) as it is used to sweeten countless food items from, soft drinks and candy, through to breads, biscuits and sauces etc. High Fructose Corn Syrup is very unhealthy as it overloads the body with excessive amounts of fructose, way more than our digestive system can cope with.
Even foods marketed as health foods are often sweetened with fruit concentrates that contain very high levels of fructose; e.g Agave is very high in fructose and is common place as a replacement for sugar in natural and raw food treats.
The Importance Of Medical Diagnosis For Fructose Intolerance
That being said, it is crucially important to see a medical professional for diagnosis first.
The cause of your discomfort may be something else more serious; e.g. Ulcerative Colitis, Crohns, Bowel Cancer and Hereditary Fructose Intolerance . These must always, first be ruled out through medical testing, which usually involves a gastroscopy and colonoscopy, both painless procedures.
An integrated medical doctor may also test for Leaky Gut and SIBO – read Leaky Gut, SIBO and Food Malabsorption , Common Causes of Bloating and Gas
How Fructose Testing Is Done – The Breath Test
If your diagnosis is clear the next step is to ask your doctor to refer you for a Breath Test to measure how your body reacts to Fructose. This is a painless procedure. You will be asked to drink a sweet solution containing pure Fructose and then over a period of a couple hours, at regular intervals, you will blow into a machine that will measure your breath and determine your result.
Breath testing can also be used to diagnose Lactose intolerance and bacteria overgrowth in the bowel.
How Fructose Malabsorption Is Treated
If you come back as positive for Fructose Malabsorption you will need to greatly modify your exposure to Fructose , along with other gut irritating foods in working towards being symptom free and to give your body a chance to recover from its previous Fructose overload.
This is not all that hard to manage, but it does mean reading labels and knowing which ingredients to avoid e.g fruit concentrate, honey, garlic, onion, high fructose corn syrup, apples etc.
See my High Fructose and FODMAP Food List to see a full list of foods to avoid. Following a low FODMAP Diet will do a lot to relieve those uncomfortable digestive issues caused by fructose.
It is also highly recommended that you see a dietitian who specializes in Food Intolerance’s such as Fructose Malabsorption. They can plan a diet to suit your lifestyle and make sure all your nutritional needs are covered. They can also after a period of time, help you to challenge your digestive system so you can hopefully and gradually, be able to introduce small amounts of the foods you were intolerant to and build up from there. Visit the expert on FODMAP information and diets Dr. Sue Shepherd.
Remember it is in your whole family’s best interests to avoid highly processed and sweetened food. By limiting the amount of fructose you and your children consume e.g steer clear of soft drinks, processed fruit juices, fruit strips, fruit bars, lollies, candy and all foods and drinks sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup, or Fruit Juice Concentrate, artificial and some natural sweeteners such as Agave, you can avoid the unpleasant and painful symptoms of Fructose overload.
*Health Tip – do not to substitute fructose for artificial sweeteners and processed natural sweeteners that end in “ol” as these are even more of a gut irritant and health issue.
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