How do we deal with a fructose intolerance?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 17, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband has been diagnosed with Fructose Intorerance, is there any information on how to stay on this diet and eliminate fructose from your diet?


Expert Answers

Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet.

Regardless of the source of your husbands fructose intolerance (either an enzyme deficiency or malabsorption issue), the treatment remains basically the same "“ limiting or avoiding dietary fructose. Fructose is found in varying amounts within all fruits, some vegetables, syrups, fruit alcohols and honey. These foods, however, are often a combination of sugars including glucose, the presence of which makes it easier for the body to absorb the fructose. Even those people who have degrees of intolerance may be able to tolerate small amounts. It is when there is an excess of fructose relative to glucose, or too much of a single food that symptoms occur. What this means in practical terms is that those (whole) fruits, that contain almost equal amounts of fructose and glucose, may be fine in limited quantities. Examples include oranges, pineapple and watermelon. Recommendations will vary from person to person depending upon the severity of symptoms and individual tolerance. I would advise making an appointment with a practitioner skilled in this area. They will want to spend a considerable amount of time assessing your husband's diet/symptom profile, explaining potential triggers and malabsorption; the safety of glucose and fructose when eaten in balance; portion sizes for high fructose foods; alternatives and cooking ideas etc. You can find a practitioner in your area by going to the American Dietetics Association website, www.Eatright.org and click on the tab "Find a Registered Dietitian". Best wishes!