Individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance lack the protein aldolase B, which is required to break down fructose. When a person with fructose intolerance consumes foods or beverages that contain fructose, their blood sugar level drops due to chemical changes in the body. This causes harmful substances to accumulate in the liver, in addition to symptoms such as excessive fatigue, irritability, convulsions, vomiting, and jaundice. If you have fructose intolerance, it is important to eliminate fructose from your diet.
Some people also choose to avoid fructose in order to prevent weight gain, high blood pressure, elevated blood triglycerides, or inflammation. Whatever the reason you would like to get started on a fructose free diet, you will need to know which foods to avoid, what foods are safe, and what alternatives to sugar are available.
To begin with, it’s important to understand that there is a considerable difference between the fructose found in fruits and the refined sugar found in processed foods. If you have hereditary fructose intolerance, you will need to avoid fructose altogether, including that found in fruits and fruit juices. If you do not have this condition, then you may want to think twice before eliminating fruit from your diet. Fruit is a whole food that, in addition to natural fructose, contains an abundance of antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients. If your goal is to lose weight, for example, keep fresh fruits in your diet while eliminating foods that contain processed sugar (one of the primary culprits of weight gain).
In addition to obvious items such as sugary desserts and sugary beverages, there are many types of condiments and savoury foods that also include added sugar. For example, ketchup, mayonnaise, breads, crackers, ham, bacon, and salad dressings often include a significant amount of fructose. If you have hereditary fructose intolerance, be aware that some vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes also contain fructose.
Always read ingredient labels to determine whether or not a food contains fructose, sorbitol, or sucrose. If you discover that your favourite foods contain sugar, look for alternatives. You will find the widest selection of alternatives at a health food store where plenty of sugar-free foods and beverages are available. For example, if you’re concerned about what to eat for breakfast on a fructose free diet, a health food store will have a selection of sugar-free cereals and sugar-free almond milk, rice milk or soy milks. You will also find bread, vegetables, meat, cheeses, condiments, and beverages that do not include sugar additives at a natural foods grocery store.