What is Fructose and Fructose Intolerance?



3 min read



Fructose intolerance is a complex allergy that is not spoken about a lot. Often fructose malabsorption is confused with FODMAP or simply choosing to cut out simple sugars for health purposes. If you’re a little confused about what fructose is and what fructose malabsorption means, here’s what you need to know…

So What Is Fructose?

Fructose is one of the three most common ‘monosaccharides’, otherwise known as ‘simple sugars’ alongside glucose and galactose. It exists naturally in fruits, fruit juices, some vegetables, and honey. However, it is often added to processed foods. It’s favoured over other simple sugars because it is sweeter, so less is required to make a product sweet.

And Fructose Malabsorption?

In simple terms, fructose malabsorption occurs when cells on the surface of the intestines aren’t able to break down fructose efficiently. If a person has a deficiency in enterocytes (the cells in your intestine responsible for ensuring fructose is absorbed), fructose builds up in your large intestine and causes gut issues. For a deeper dive, check out this link…

Most Common Symptoms:

  • Intestinal bloating
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation

4 Easy Ways to Manage…

1. Start with cereal! So many kinds of cereal sneak sugar in there without you realising, even Special K has added sugar! Plain porridge where you can add your own toppings or Weetabix is a good way to go! Check out this list of fructose-free cereal options if you want to try something new!

2. Switch your sauces! It’s easy to forget that condiments like ketchup and brown sauce contain a fair amount of sugar. Frusano does a great line of sauces and condiments for fructose intolerants individuals.

3. Avoid the low-fat stuff! This may seem like a weird one but if you’re heading to the low cal aisle, you better be prepared to up your sugar intake. A lot of low-fat products substitute the loss of flavour with sugar, use FoodLama to see for yourself! So, maybe stick to the natural yoghurt.

4. Stick to natural food… Steer clear of processed foods and find recipes that work for you. Obviously, it’s much easier to nip to Tesco and buy a pack of custard creams but if you find a few go-to snack recipes you can batch bake your sweet treats for the week.

Baking 4 Happiness has some great fructose free recipes that are worth a try. My personal favourite is the lemon cake with rice syrup. Instead of of regular household sugar, the recipe uses rice syrup and it’s light, fluffy, and very tasty.

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