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J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Oct;106(10):1631-9.

Fructose malabsorption and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome: guidelines for effective dietary management.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Monash University, Victoria, Australia. <>


Dietary fructose induces abdominal symptoms in patients with fructose malabsorption, but there are no published guidelines on its dietary management. The objective was to retrospectively evaluate a potentially successful diet therapy in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and fructose malabsorption. Tables detailing the content of fructose and fructans in foods were constructed. A dietary strategy comprising avoidance of foods containing substantial free fructose and short-chain fructans, limitation of the total dietary fructose load, encouragement of foods in which glucose was balanced with fructose, and co-ingestion of free glucose to balance excess free fructose was devised. Sixty-two consecutively referred patients with irritable bowel syndrome and fructose malabsorption on breath hydrogen testing underwent dietary instruction. Dietary adherence and effect on abdominal symptoms were evaluated via telephone interview 2 to 40 months (median 14 months) later. Response to the diet was defined as improvement of all symptoms by at least 5 points on a -10- to 10-point scale. Forty-eight patients (77%) adhered to the diet always or frequently. Forty-six (74%) of all patients responded positively in all abdominal symptoms. Positive response overall was significantly better in those adherent than nonadherent (85% vs 36%; P<0.01), as was improvement in individual symptoms (P<0.01 for all symptoms). This comprehensive fructose malabsorption dietary therapy achieves a high level of sustained adherence and good symptomatic response.

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