Fructose Malabsorption - FAQs

Definition, Prevalence, Symptoms, Testing and Treatment

Fructose Malabsorption - Different from Fructose Intolerance (HFI)

Be aware that there are two types of Fructose Sensitivity:

  • The first: Fructose Malabsorption is quite common - around 33% of all people are affected
  • Also Hereditary Fructose Intolerance (HFI) ~1 in 10,000 - can be serious if left undiagnosed
  • Both lead to malabsorption illnesses - and both are easily treated with a Fructose-Free Diet
  • Previously popular, Fructose Breath Testing has now been abandoned by doctors due to its unreliability

How common is Fructose Malabsorption?

Prevalence of Fructose Malabsorption

Fructose Malabsorption is very common. Up to one in three people or 33% has some level of sugar malabsorption - 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.

Comments: Most malabsorption relates to sugars like lactose, fructose and sorbitol - and is poorly diagnosed. However - it can be responsible for unexplained symptoms like bloated stomach, diarrhea, flatulence and intestinal distress. These sugars are used extensively in manufactured foods due to their low cost and high sweetening power.

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


What is the difference between Fructose Malabsorption and Intolerance?

Definition of Fructose Malabsorption

Hereditary Fructose Intolerance (HFI) is a rare genetic condition where the enzyme for breaking down Fructose is not produced. If you discover you have frucrose sensitivty - 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.

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

What are the symptoms of Fructose Malabsorption?

Symptoms of Fructose Malabsorption

Symptoms include:

  • Flatulence
  • Bloated stomach
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Tiredness, Chronic fatigue
  • Malabsorption issues: low iron (anaemia), osteoporosis or other nutrient deficiency
  • Sugar cravings
  • Poor skin, nails and hair
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • There is also clinical evidence associating it with mood disturbances and depression

Comments: The symptoms of Fructose malabsorption are very similar to those for Lactose Intolerance. So they can be mistaken for one another. You cannot diagnose your food intolerance from symptoms alone. To differentiate between them it's best to keep notes in a simple Journal.

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


How is Fructose Malabsorption treated?

Treatment for Fructose Malabsorption

If you have Fructose malabsorption - a Fructose-free diet will make you well within days. This is easy if you know which foods contain fructose - but many processed foods contain added Fructose under aliases like "HFCS" which is high fructose corn syrup.

But remember - the symptoms for Fructose Malabsorption overlap with other food sensitivities - so don't jump to conclusions about having Fructose malabsorption. Fructose is present in most fruits and vegetables and thousands of processed foods, supplements and medications.

To find your food intolerance guaranteed - buy the Healing Program.

How do you Test for Fructose Malabsorption?

Testing for Fructose Malabsorption

Video on five Types of Clinical Testing

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 >

The package also contains the Complete Guide to Fructose-Free.

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.


Fructose Free Co 4f67a44522901


Why do people get Fructose Malabsorption?

Cause of Fructose Malabsorption

Fructose malabsorption - like any other food intolerance - is genetic. So you got it from your parents, grandparents and other ancestors.

However Fructose malabsorption could be somewhat self-imposed by our modern sugar-heavy diets. As a species - humans have not yet evolved systems to cope with such high sugar consumption - as in the typical Western diet.

Comments: Think carefully about the level of sugars like fructose you ingest: in soft drinks, confectionery, desserts, cookies and thousands of processed foods and pharmaceuticals. Fructose sensitive people improve dramatically on a Fructose-free Diet.

When will I be cured from Fructose Malabsorption?

The rather common Fructose Malabsorption can be 'cured' by moderating your Fructose intake. It's easy to manage - with a Fructose-free diet. The difficult part is getting the diagnosis right - because it can easily be mistaken for other food intolerances.

While clinical testing methods can be rather unreliable - the Journal method is accurate and simple to use. By monitoring yourself - keeping a few notes in a Journal - you will find a threshold level that is comfortable. That is - you will be able to eat some foods containing Fructose without getting symptoms.

Comments: It is important to keep a journal of food eaten and symptoms on a daily basis, because it helps you come to know your body's sugar limits. Use the proven Journal system in the Healing Program.

How Sorbitol is linked to Fructose Malabsorption

How Sugars Break Down in Malabsorption

Sorbitol occurs naturally in some fruits and vegetables. It is  now also used extensively in so-called "sugar-free" foods and confectionery. The trouble is, when it breaks down it releases Fructose into your bloodstream. So this needs to be monitored in a Fructose-Free diet.

Sugar malabsorption is the inability of the small intestine to break down sugars like fructose (most common), lactose or sorbitol into smaller molecular fragments for digestion. So the sugars progress down to the colon (large intestine) where bacteria break it down into short chain fatty acids and the gases carbon dioxide and hydrogen. These gases create enormous pressure in the intestine causing bloating, pain, diarrhea and flatulence.

In these people, because fructose (or lactose or sorbitol) is not absorbed by the intestine the condition is known as malabsorption, or an inability to be absorbed. But the molecule gets up to other mischief: it arrives in the colon where it drives an "osmotic purge". This means it attracts fluids back into the colon, making bowel motions loose and watery.

The main danger is that any other nutrients present can also be lost from the body, like calcium and iron. Fructose malabsorption therefore is not only associated with gastro-intestinal distress but also the inability to absorb all kinds of nutrients which can lead to serious diseases like anaemia and osteoporosis.

Fructose malabsorption is notoriously undiagnosed and misdiagnosed. Recent findings are that Fructose malabsorption is associated with the early stages of depression and mood disturbances.

  • Symptoms of Fructose malabsorption are the same as symptoms of other intolerance like dairy and gluten. Only the Journal Method differentiates among them.
  • Remember the easiest and most accurate way to check yourself out for Fructose Malabsorption is with the Journal Method - and a good food substitution guide - as used in the Healing Program.

Everything you need is included in the Healing Program.


I think I might have food intolerance: What should I do?

Beginning with our free e-book, we can help you establish if you are suffering from gluten or wheat intolerance or if your symptoms indicate an intolerance to dairy, fructose 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 intolerance and links to disease



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