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Eating fructose in moderation reduces symptoms.
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Fructose intolerance occurs when your body has trouble digesting large amounts of a natural sugar found in various foods, such as fruit and honey. Unabsorbed fructose enters the large intestine, where bacteria feed on it and produce gas and fluid. This results in uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, cramping, abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. You can control the side effects of fructose intolerance with a low-fructose diet. This differs from hereditary fructose intolerance, which requires a strict fructose-free diet.
Some fruits are low in fructose and may not cause symptoms. These fruits include ripe bananas, blackberries, blueberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, raspberries and strawberries. Limit fruit to 1/2-cup servings with meals and a maximum of three servings each day, recommends McMaster Children's Hospital. Avoid fruits high in fructose such as guava, grapes, mango and watermelon. Fruits with sugar alcohols may also cause symptoms. These fruits include apple, apricot, cherries and lychee.
Limit vegetables to 1 cup per meal or snack, recommends St. Luke's Hospital. Stick with vegetables that are typically well tolerated. Vegetables least likely to cause symptoms include carrots, beets, corn, celery, spinach, cabbage, bell peppers, bok choy, radishes, sweet potatoes, yams and white potatoes. High-fructose vegetables that you need to avoid include artichoke, asparagus, chicory root, fennel, leak, garlic and legumes.
Avoid fruits canned in syrup or fruit juice as well as desserts sweetened with fructose. You also need to avoid sodas sweetened with fructose, high-fructose corn syrup or glucose-fructose. Foods made with honey or agave syrup may also trigger symptoms. You may be able to tolerate jelly made from fruits you can tolerate, peanut butter, maple syrup and certain sweeteners such as stevia. You may be able to tolerate small amounts of sucrose, or table sugar.
Points to Consider
Fructose intolerance is variable, meaning some people can tolerate more than others. It's crucial to assess your own tolerance level. Some foods that are well-tolerated by some individuals with fructose intolerance may cause gastrointestinal symptoms in others. Work with a dietitian to help you incorporate a low-fructose eating plan into your diet. If you experience fructose-intolerance symptoms from a certain food, you may need to avoid that particular food.