Monday, 19 February 2018 14:27

Cliff Notes on Sugar Digestion

Written by
Rate this item
(4 votes)
Sugar Digestion Teeter Totter Sugar Digestion Teeter Totter

Cliff Notes on Sugar Digestion

 

Everyone with Fructose Malabsorption tolerates different levels of fructose and has their own unique gut and gut voice. It is best to make a list of what feels good and what doesn’t, listen to your gut voice, and remember it is all about the daily balance. 

 

Cliff Notes® on Sugar Digestion

Here are the basics of Fructose Malabsorption written in layman’s terms.  Real food-food without a label- food like bananas, potatoes, berries, cucumbers, cheese, berries and milk contain sugar.  There are six types of sugar found in real food: dextrose, glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, galactose, and lactose. If you have Fructose Malabsorption you only need to focus on 3 of these types of sugar: glucose, fructose and sucrose.

All fruits and vegetables have different amounts of fructose and glucose sugars. I like to think of it like a teeter totter, what we used to play on at the local park. The more your friend pushed you down on their side of the teeter totter the more you went up.  Every fruit and vegetable has its own teeter totter.  For example; green peppers have 1.7 grams of glucose and 1.6 grams of fructose; causing the teeter totter to be heavier on the glucose side, not balanced, and sending the fructose side up in the air. Another example are red apples.  Red apples have 7.4 grams of fructose and 3 grams of glucose. The apple teeter totter is also out of balance, opposite of the green pepper teeter totter. The fructose side is much heavier sending the glucose side of the teeter totter up in the air.  What you need to remember is vegetables and fruits that have teeter totters with heavier fructose loads like the apple one are not good for people who suffer from Fructose Malabsorption.  If you have Fructose Malabsorption you do not want to play on a fructose heavy teeter totter. 

Fructose Resources

If you have Fructose Malabsorption your body has a difficult time absorbing digested fructose.  The majority of the fructose you eat is not absorbed into your bloodstream; and sits in your gut resulting in all sorts of issues. It’s like a volcano waiting to erupt causing gas that makes you feel bloated, producing bowel wind, and changing your bowel output (diarrhea and/or constipation).

Fructose ResourcesSo, if you eat things with a teeter totter that is heavier on the fructose side (not balanced like the apple one) you create a volcano in your gut.

Fortunately, all is not lost. Those of us with Fructose Malabsorption can eat fruits and vegetables with fructose in them as long as we eat more glucose. Glucose is like a spaceship transporting fructose across the gut barrier into our bloodstream thus preventing the fructose volcano.  By paying attention to the fructose and glucose loads in food you can alleviate your symptoms, stop feeling like a volcano is about to erupt from your gut, and start living a healthy lifestyle again.

Fructose ResourcesMany fruits and vegetables represent a well balanced teeter totter or one with a heavier load of glucose.You will feel a lot better if you eat these foods, and mostly avoid the foods that have a higher fructose content. Foods with a higher amount of glucose are “gut friendly” and foods with a higher amount of fructose are not “gut friendly”.

 

My family still continues to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables with heavier fructose loads, but only in moderation and only with other foods that have a higher glucose load and foods that contain protein.  It’s about balance, not elimination.

So you ask what is sucrose, the 3rd type of sugar? Sucrose, commonly known as table sugar, is 50% fructose 50% glucose. Sucrose is totally balanced, ready to be digested and tastes great in homemade cookies.  Go ahead and bake, get your kids in the kitchen, make a mess and enjoy eating homemade safe treats; treats made without man-made highly processed sugar substitutes.

Fructose ResourcesWe bake a lot in our family. My kids love creating treats with their own hands, and I love knowing that all real food ingredients are used in each recipe. We still balance our fructose loads when eating homemade treats. I have learned through my dietitian that each person who suffers from Fructose Malabsorption can only handle up to 15 grams of fructose per day. Some FM patients can only digest ½ of that. As you rethink your food culture and start to cook more at home, pay attention to how your Fructose Resourcesbody works and what feels good-give your gut a voice. My daughter’s gut voice is happy when we keep her daily fructose load to less than 15 grams a day.  We choose to not find that entire amount in treats. It’s all about balance. We eat safe fruits and vegetables (real foods that have a heavier glucose load, or those that have less than 5 grams of fructose) first; and if their is space on our own personal kitchen scale we eat a homemade treat.

 

There is one more type of sugar that you need to be aware of: man-made sugars and man-made sugar alcohols. Our food product industry has developed a multitude of fake sugars that can wreak havoc on the guts of those who suffer from Fructose Malabsorption. All of these sugars have high fructose loads and are hidden in highly processed food products. These man-made products have unbalanced teeter totters and can create gut volcanos. They are not safe.

There are over 50 types of man made sweeteners we need to avoid. Our family keeps it simple: we avoid highly processed products, go back to basics and eat real sugar when choosing to have a treat. If you look at the sugar food label it’s only ingredient is sugar.Fructose Resources

 

 

Everyone with Fructose Malabsorption tolerates different levels of fructose and has their own unique gut and gut voice. It is best to make a list of what feels good and what doesn’t, listen to your gut voice, and remember it is all about the daily balance.

When diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption it is best to keep a daily food journal.  It will help you see trends in your diet and determine what foods work best for your unique gut voice.  Link here to see an example of a Daily Fructose Malabsorption Food Journal.

Everyday my goal is to have my personal teeter totter or science scale heavier on the glucose side or in balance, limit my daily fructose load to less than 15grams, and eat safe fruits and vegetables each day.  I still choose to eat fruits and vegetables with higher levels of fructose occasionally.  For me and my daughter it's not about elimination, it's about balance.

 

Sources and Notes:

Families Balancing Fructose Blog Posts About Sugar And Other FM Related Issues:

FODMAP: a closer look, an article about a FODMAP diet vs a FODMAP program that includes 3 phases. Some people living with FM can not tolerate other foods in addition to fructose.  For example, wheat, onion and garlic can be an issue.  This article dives into this topic.

Coconut Sugar Encyclopedia Entry

What Millennials Can Teach Us About Sugar

Fructose Malabsorption and Chronic Inflammation, Symptoms Beyond Irritable Bowel

An Apple A Day Is Not The Fructose Way

It's Ok To Give Your Child White Bread

Other Sources:

For more information about all types of sugars visit Wikipedia.

For a list of fruits and vegetables and the specific glucose and fructose ratios I prefer to use USDA Food Composition Database. Here is a link to a database that lists all types of fruits.

Here is a link to database that lists all types of vegetables.

CSID Cares also publishes a database that includes fructose and glucose amounts.

Dr Ede of Diagnosis Diet also explains Fructose Malabsorption very well. 

GI for kids gives a very simple explanation to help when you when your child is diagnosed.

Some people who suffer from Fructose Malabsorption also have a difficult time digesting naturally occurring sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol. Here is a link to an interesting article

FODMAP: a closer look, an article about a FODMAP diet vs a FODMAP program that includes 3 phases.

Some people who suffer from Fructose Malabsorption choose to follow-up a low FODMAP diet. NutrientReview.com provides information regarding this diet.  Another resource suggests to limit your time on a FODMAP diet.

Authors Anne Kemp and Christine Shafter explain Fructose Malabsorption in their book, "Healthy Eating, Low Fructose, 100 Recipes To Calm The Stomach".  You can find it on Amazon.

This article explains different names for High Fructose Corn Syrup.

FructoHelp is a great resource for all things Fructose Malabsorption.

SugarScience is a great resource for all things fake sugar related.

Read 11872 times Last modified on Tuesday, 05 February 2019 21:15