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Everything You Need to Know About Fructose Intolerance

<This is a contributed post> Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar in honey, fruits, and vegetables. If a person is unable to absorb or digest fructose, they may have fructose intolerance.

A person with fructose intolerance may experience diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. And yes, fructose intolerance can be hereditary where one develops symptoms in infancy. If this type of fructose intolerance is not treated, it may advance to life-threatening complications like liver and kidney failure.

What Are the Types of Fructose Intolerance?

There are three common types of fructose intolerance. They include:

Essential Fructosuria

Also known as hepatic fructokinase deficiency. It is a harmless recessive disorder. Most people who have it are not even aware that they have the condition.

What does it mean to have a recessive condition? It means that a child will only have the condition if they get the genes from both parents. Where the genes are from one parent, the child is known to be a carrier.

People with this condition lack the hepatic fructokinase liver enzyme that can break down fructose.

It is worth noting that this condition is not harmful. People with this condition are asymptomatic and do not require any treatment.

Fructose Malabsorption

It is a food sensitivity condition that affects 40 percent of the people living in the western hemisphere. Like other food sensitivity conditions, a combination of lifestyle, genetic factors, exposure to fructose, and one’s health plays a part in causing the malabsorption.

People with this condition are unable to absorb or digest fructose. Thus it passes to the colon causing gas and a painful digestion process.

People dealing with this condition have sensitivities to a certain group of food known as FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.

FODMAPs include a variety of artificial and natural sweeteners.

The Hereditary Fructose Intolerance

It is a serious type of fructose intolerance. But the good news is, the condition is treatable and manageable.

The condition occurs when a person is unable to digest fructose or fructose precursors like brown sugar. People with this condition lack sufficient activity of the fructose-1-phosphate aldolase that helps digest fructose.

The indigested fructose accumulates in the kidney and liver leading to serious and life-threatening complications like kidney and liver failure.

What Are the Symptoms of Hereditary Fructose Intolerance?

The condition is present at birth; thus many children experience the symptoms when they start eating solid foods. The symptoms include:

Growth delays

A strong dislike for biscuits and sweets

  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting
  • Hyperventilation
  • Impaired physical development
  • Liver or kidney failure

What is The Treatment for Fructose Intolerance?

The treatment is dependent on the type of intolerance that a person has. For instance:

People with fructose malabsorption should maintain a low fructose diet. Such people are advised against consuming more than 15grams of fructose daily.

Hereditary fructose intolerance has no treatment. A person dealing with this condition is advised to avoid consuming fructose.

The Management of Fructose Intolerance

Managing hereditary fructose intolerance requires one to eliminating foods that contain a high level of fructose. Such foods include:

  • Certain cereal bars
  • Sodas
  • Apple cider and apple juice
  • Certain fruits like apples, peaches, cherries, pears, prunes, plums, and watermelons.

Headline Image – Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


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