Fructose Sensitivity

Frequently Asked Questions about Fructose Sensitivity

Two Types of Fructose Sensitivity - Definition:

  • Fructose Malabsorption may now be more common due to increased consumption of sugars
  • Hereditary Fructose Intolerance (HFI) is rare - but can be serious if left undiagnosed
  • Both lead to malabsorption illnesses - and both are easily treated by avoiding Fructose.


How common is Fructose Sensitivity?

Hereditary Fructose Intolerance (HFI) is quite rare (less than one in 10,000). It is inherited (genetic) so you have it for life. A positive diagnosis requires a stool test (DNA test) from your doctor.

Fructose Malabsorption is very common. Up to one in three people or 33% has some level of sugar sensitivity - most commonly to Fructose. However around half of these people may show no symptoms at all - until later in life. Fructose is found in some fruits and vegetables, and thousands of processed foods like soft drinks and confectionery.

Most sensitivity to sugars like lactose, fructose and sorbitol is undiagnosed, but can be responsible for unexplained stomach bloating, diarrhea and intestinal distress in millions. These sugars are used extensively in manufactured foods due to their sweetening power and low cost.

If you think you might have Fructose sensitivity - learn more – sign up for the free e-book  'How To Tell If You have Food Intolerance’

How are the two types of Fructose Sensitivity different?

Hereditary Fructose Intolerance (HFI) is a rare genetic condition where the enzyme for breaking down Fructose is not produced. If you discover you have fructose sensitivity - you need to rule out HFI by seeing your doctor for a DNA test. With HFI it is vital to observe a very strict Fructose-free diet. Otherwise there is risk of serious disease including liver failure.

Fructose malabsorption on the other hand is much more common and affects about 30% of people. It especially affects young people who have many soft drinks per week including soda and mixers. With Fructose Malabsorption special cells (epithelial cells) on the surface of the intestine are not available to break down the fructose sugars.

Comments:Treatment of HFI is a very strict Fructose-free diet for life. Treatment for Fructose Malabsorption is a Fructose-free diet with some concessions. You find a threshold level where you can eat some Fructose without getting symptoms. To learn more – sign up for the free e-book ‘How To Tell If You have Food Intolerance’

What are the symptoms of Fructose Sensitivity?

Symptoms for both types:

  • Gastro-intestinal distress: flatulence, bloating, diarrhea
  • Tiredness, Chronic fatigue
  • Malabsorption issues: low iron (anaemia), osteoporosis or other nutrient deficiency
  • Sugar cravings
  • Poor skin, nails and hair
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    • For Fructose Sensitivity (the more common type) there is clinical evidence associating it with mood disturbances and depression

Comments: Both types of Fructose sensitivity have similar symptoms to those of milk sugar (Lactose) sensitivity. Unless careful these can be mistaken for one another. You cannot diagnose your food sensitivity from symptoms alone. Differentiate among them by keeping notes in a simple Journal as in the Healing Program.


How did I get Fructose Sensitivity?

Blame the parents! Food Intolerance is genetic – so you got it from your parents and grandparents. A very small percentage of people have the hereditary Fructose Sensitivity (less than 1 in 10,000 people.)

Most Fructose sensitivity is the Malabsorption type. It may be somewhat self-imposed by our modern sugar-heavy diets. Humans have not yet evolved the biological equipment to cope with such high sugar consumption.

Comments: Consider the high level of sugars like fructose we ingest: in soft drinks, confectionery, desserts, cookies and thousands of processed foods and pharmaceuticals.

We don't recommend changing your diet without finding out for sure which intolerance you have. The Journal Method is fast, easy and accurate.

How do you Test for Fructose Intolerance?

The hydrogen or H2 breath test is often used. However many doctors now regard this test as unreliable.

The doctor may also use stool analysis to check for HFI. If you find you are Fructose-sensitive it is vital to rule out HFI as there may be serious health issues.

However the simplest, most reliable and accurate test is the Elimination Diet (Journal Method). . . . as used in our Healing Program > 

Comments: A simple Journal identifies the offending food - whether it is Fructose, Lactose or something else. It is important to keep a journal because reactions can be delayed up to 3 days.




How is Fructose Sensitivity treated?

A Fructose-free or low-sugar diet is the best treatment - and the best management - forlife. This is easy if you know which foods contain fructose - but many processed foods contain added Fructose under aliases like 'corn syrup'. You need a guide.

Comments: Fructose is present in many fruits and vegetables and thousands of processed foods, supplements and medications.
For guidance on whether you need a Fructose-free diet, we recommend a comprehensive guide as in the Healing Program.

When will I be cured from Fructose Malabsorption or Sensitivity?

The uncommon HFI (Hereditary Fructose Intolerance) cannot be cured. For this a strict Fructose-free Diet must be maintained in the long term.

The much more common Fructose Malabsorption cannot be cured either. But it is much easier to manage. Using a journal and monitoring yourself, you will find a threshold level that is easy to live with. That is - you will be able to eat some Fructose without suffering symptoms.

Comments: It is important to keep a journal of food eaten and symptoms on a daily basis, until you come to know your body's limits. A Journal lets you discover your threshold of sensitivity - so you can eat some sweet foods without suffering symptoms.


I think I might have fructose sensitivity: What should I do?

Beginning with our free e-book, we can help you establish If you are suffering from fructose sensitivity or if your symptoms indicate a sensitivity to gluten, dairy or yeast. You may even be suffering from more than one food intolerance.

The research indicates that doing nothing can be a risk. Undiagnosed food intolerance can cause serious long-term health problems like osteoporosis, anaemia and many others.

To learn more – sign up for the free e-book ‘How To Tell If You have Food Intolerance’



Fructose sensitivity and Gastrointestinal and Neurological disorders



All foodintol® information is based on research from peer-reviewed medical journals