Fructose Malabsorption and Paleo; Can It Help?

A resounding YES would have to be my reply.

What’s fructose malabsorption?  Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

  • Fructose malabsorption, formerly named “dietary fructose intolerance,” is a digestive disorder in which absorption of fructose is impaired by deficient fructose carriers in the small intestine’s enterocytes. This results in an increased concentration of fructose in the entire intestine.
  • Fructose malabsorption is found in up to 30% of the population of Western countries and Africa.
  • This condition is common in patients identified to be suffering symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.  A small proportion of patients with both fructose malabsorption and lactose intolerance also suffer from celiac disease.
  • It is not to be confused with hereditary fructose intolerance, a potentially fatal condition in which the liver enzymes that break up fructose are deficient.

My rationale for my statement is as follows.  If one does not eat foods that wreak havoc on the GI tract, such as all grains and legumes, they’re less likely to have increased gut permeability in the first place, thus their ability to digest all Paleo foods (including all fresh fruit) properly is greatly increased.

Do not misread this post as “eat paleo and your fructose malabsorption symptoms will disappear immediately”, please, as I’m simply suggesting that Paleo can, at the very least, and once again, help the situation.

Why not give it a try?  Go full Paleo, and along with the grains, dairy and legumes that you’re going to nix, also keep out any foods from your diet that you’ve already identified as troublesome if you feel you do have fructose malabsorption issues.  Some of the most commonly reported foods that may cause problems for those dealing with it include: 

  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • leeks
  • onions
  • wheat-containing products (big surprise here), including most beers, breads, cakes, biscuits, breakfast cereals, pies, pastas, pizzas, and some noodles.
  • foods containing sorbitol (another shocker), present in some diet drinks and foods
  • some stone fruits (plums, cherries, mangos, peaches, apricots and nectarines)
  • almonds
  • xylitol, present in some berries
  • sugar alcohols  such as maltitol, erythritol, mannitol, and other ingredients that end with -tol, commonly added as artificial sweeteners in commercial foods

After thirty (at least) days of strict Paleo, try an apple or some asparagus and see how you feel.  I would not suggest adding back in anything with the sugar alcohols, though, as they’re widely known to cause GI distress and are indicated for use as a laxative!

Be sure to only try one thing at a time, though, so you’ll be able to clearly decipher what is working for you!