fructose intolerance

Fructose Intolerance

Many people are fructose intolerant which is an inability to digest certain sugars. Here we examine how you can manage this intolerance.

Two Types of Intolerance

Wondering about fructose intolerance? If you think you may have this condition but aren't sure and want more information let help to answer your queries and calm your nerves.

There are two types of fructose intolerance: dietary fructose intolerance (DFI) and hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI). Both involve an inability to digest natural sugars however each exhibit different physical reactions.

Dietary Fructose Intolerance

DFI means the body cant break down these sugars efficiently. As such, the individual experiences diarrhea, abdominal pain, tiredness, weight loss and headache. Sucrose, glucose, and lactose breath tests are conducted to determine whether the individual suffers from DFI or another digestive condition.

Causes of this condition include bacterial imbalance, intestinal injury, exposure to radiation, chemotherapy treatment, and/or a family history of this digestive complication.

Hereditary Fructose Intolerance

HFI involves a complete inability to break down the sugars found in fruits, honey, and vegetables and sugar in granular form.

This inability stems from a lack of the enzyme known as aldoase B within the digestive tract. This enzyme is needed to absorb these natural sugars and without it, the undigested sugars accumulate in the kidneys and liver causing extensive damage.


Often first diagnosed in infants, symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, vomiting and subsequent dehydration, thirst, and extreme sweating and urination. In severe cases, the individual suffers from seizures due to low blood sugar levels, swelling of the liver, and jaundice.

This condition can become fatal if ignored and thus treatment is imperative. Diagnosis involves urine testing for sugar levels and a liver biopsy to determine enzyme levels and the extent of the damage done to the liver. A loading test is also sometimes conducted wherein the patient is administered a certain amount of fruit sugars in order to observe their reaction.


The only way to combat this hereditary disease is to eliminate these problematic sugars from the diet. This can be achieved but must be done in consultation with a doctor in order to avoid malnutrition.

Early detection is your best defense against significant internal damage. See your doctor for more information and counseling.

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