Fructose is a simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that the body uses for energy. Fructose has a low glycemic index, meaning it does not have a severe impact on your body's blood sugar. However, consuming large amounts of fructose at once can overwhelm your liver, causing the excess sugar to be stored as fat. This is one reason to go on a fructose-free diet or low-fructose diet. Another reason is if you are intolerant to fructose.
Fructose intolerance is the term used to describe two different conditions: hereditary fructose intolerance and fructose malabsorption. Hereditary fructose intolerance is a rare disorder in a person who lacks the enzyme to properly break down fructose. Hereditary fructose intolerance can lead to kidney and liver disease. Fructose malabsorption simply means that someone with this problem can't digest fructose properly. People with fructose malabsorption don't risk kidney or liver disease, but malabsorption can cause stomach pains, diarrhoea and bloating.
Foods to Avoid
Fructose is naturally found in fruit and honey, so you should avoid eating these products with a fructose intolerance. Fructose is also found in soda, flavoured water, sports drinks, sweetened milk, fruit juices, table sugar and icing sugar. The best way to avoid eating fructose is to check the ingredients list for fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, sucrose and sorbitol.
Foods You Can Eat
You can still eat many with a fructose intolerance. Dairy products, meat, poultry and grain products shouldn't cause problems for someone with a fructose intolerance. People with a fructose intolerance can also enjoy products with artificial sweeteners as long as it's not sorbitol.
Diets for Fructose-free Living
While there may not be a specific diet out there that is completely fructose free, there are diets that lend themselves nicely to eating without fructose. Since fructose is a carbohydrate, you can adopt a low-carbohydrate diet, such as Atkins, South Beach or Zone. These diets can get you most of the way there, but you still need to remember what foods and ingredients to avoid. Simply adjust these diets for your own needs.