Fructose Intolerance

Fructose Intolerance

Today we are delving into fructose intolerance. Like lactose, fructose is a type of sugar that can be difficult to digest. Fructose is most commonly found in fruit but is also in honey, some vegetables and grains. Fructose intolerance occurs when the molecule that transports fructose in our digestive system doesn’t work properly. The fructose can’t be absorbed in the small intestine, so when it reaches the colon, the bacteria have a field day. These bacteria ferment the fructose, and this causes bloating, wind, pains and often explosive diarrhoea.

Commonly found alongside fructose malabsorption is lactose intolerance and also gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder (GORD). GORD is essentially reflux or heartburn, a digestive reaction to consuming fructose in this case. You can read more about lactose intolerance in our previous article titled ‘Lactose FAQ’. 


Diagnosis of suspected fructose intolerance can be made via a breath test, very similar to lactose testing. A fructose solution is drunk by the patient, and the amount of gas released on the breath is measured over the next few hours. The results determine a diagnosis. This can be costly, time-consuming and painful if strong digestive symptoms occur as a result of the testing procedure. A painless and non-invasive option is to take our ‘hair intolerance test’, which you can order HERE. You simply send us a few strands of your hair, and once received, we analyse it in our state of the art machine and send the results back to you within 3 working days. 

If you are found to have a fructose malabsorption issue, it is strongly advised that you avoid any foods that are known to be high in fructose or those foods that contain fructans, which are chains of fructose joined together. Reducing your fructose load will reduce your symptoms. Over time you may find that you can still tolerate certain foods that contain fructose, especially those low in the sugar. 

This is a list of foods to avoid until your symptoms dissipate. You can eventually retest small amounts to see how you tolerate them.

With tomato intolerance, the main symptoms that can occur are:

Foods High in Fructose Foods containing Fructans
Honey Globe artichoke
Apples Garlic
Pears and nashies Onions, spring onions, shallots
Mango Leek
Watermelon and honeydew melon Wheat, rye & barley in large amounts
High fructose corn syrup Asparagus
Tinned fruit, fruit juices Green Beans
Coconut milk and cream Beetroot

Other fruits are vegetables are quite safe to consume, and these include:

  • berries, bananas, oranges and rhubarb.
  • Black beans, broccoli, celery, chickpeas, green peppers, haricot beans, kidney beans, leafy greens, lentils, mushrooms, spinach. 

Being diagnosed with fructose malabsorption can be quite daunting. However, there are several fantastic resources out there that will be super helpful on your journey. There are sites specifically for fructose intolerance sufferers, such as this one here:  A simple internet search for fructose-free recipes will also bring up many more for you to try.

In summary, we’ve taken a look into fructose intolerance today and learnt that it is a sugar found mainly in fruits and vegetables. Problems occur in the digestive tract when the fructose can’t absorb efficiently, leaving it free for bacteria to ferment. It is this fermentation that gives rise to the main symptoms of fructose intolerance. 

You will find a handy list of foods that are high in fructose and fructans, which you need to avoid in order to reduce your symptoms initially. We also give you a recipe site to enjoy, filled with lots of delicious fructose-free recipes and idea. As always, if you suspect fructose is an issue for you but haven’t yet been tested for it, we recommend our hair intolerance test as the easiest and most non-invasive option. You can read more and orders yours HERE.  Until next time, stay well.

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