Foods to Avoid With Fructose Malabsorption

Fructose malabsorption is a condition in which a person cannot properly digest the carbohydrate fructose, which is found naturally in many different foods. Somewhat similar to how lactose intolerant people cannot tolerate milk, people with fructose malabsorption have a difficult time breaking down the sugars in the fructose molecule. According to Katherine Zeratsky, Registered Dietitian for the Mayo Clinic, people with fructose malabsorption experience gas, bloating, diarrhea and stomach pain if they eat foods with fructose. She also states that in the long term, consuming too much fructose could lead someone with fructose malabsorption into kidney failure. Therefore, it is important that people with fructose malabsorption avoid particular foods that could pose a problem.


According to the University of Virginia Health System, fruits like grapes have a high level of fructose, because fructose is the type of sugar found naturally in all fruits. While people with fructose intolerance can sometimes eat small portions of certain fruits without having any problems, the University of Virginia Health System states that grapes have so much fructose that they should be completely avoided by those with problems digesting fructose.


Fructose also naturally occurs in honey and it gives honey much of the sweet taste. In fact, the amount of fructose in two ounces of honey contains about the same amount of fructose as in two whole apples, according to the University of Virginia Health System. People with fructose malabsorption may even experience problems after eating foods made with small amounts of honey like cookies or blended tea beverages. Regular table sugar is an alternative to honey for people have fructose malabsorption.

Apple Juice

Since apples contain a high level of fructose, apple juice, which usually uses the whole apple in processing also, contains a lot of fructose. Registered Dietitian, Katherine Zeratsky explains on the Mayo Clinic website that people with fructose malabsorption need to avoid all types of fruit juice so that they don’t experience gastrointestinal distress. She states that even a very small portion of apple juice could cause cramping and diarrhea.

Diabetic Candy

According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetic or “sugar-free” candies are usually sweetened with either fructose or a sugar alcohol such as sorbitol, isomalt or maltitol. Many of these sugar alcohols contain a blend of fructose and other sweeteners, both of which can cause gastrointestinal problems for people with fructose malabsorption. The University of Virginia Health System recommends that people with fructose malabsorption choose regular candies rather than those labeled “diet” or diabetic.

About this Author

Sarah Davis has worked in nutrition in the clinical setting and currently works as a licensed Realtor in California. Davis began writing about nutrition in 2006 and had two chapters published in “The Grocery Store Diet” book in 2009. She enjoys writing about nutrition and real estate and managing her website, She earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition from San Diego State University.