Saturday, 02 February 2019 13:39

Why is it important to keep a daily food journal when you have Fructose Malabsorption?

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Daily Fructose Malabsorption Journal:


Item and Serving Size:

Gut Voice/Health Score:

Fructose and Glucose Amount:

Protein Amount:

Water Amount:

FM Phase:














Why should we use a daily food journal?:


A daily food journal is a must when you have a food intolerance.  If you use it consistently it can show you trends in your diet and health.  It will help you understand why you have valleys, mountains and even roller coasters in your gut health.  If you have Fructose Malabsorption it will teach you what food, amount of food, or collections of food caused the dreaded Fructose Volcano

When I was first diagnosed with FM I used a daily food journal for the first few years.  It taught me many lessons.  I now know that sugar alcohols, like sorbitol, are not my friend and definitely something I try to completely eliminate from my diet.  

And, my food journal showed me that, yes, I can eat green beans and black beans, but only a few times a month.  So even though I occasionally have left over black beans I should not feel guilty and eat them.  My gut prefers if I eat them sporadically.  

Occasionally, my gut feels off.  Yes, even after 10 plus years of living with Fructose Malabsorption I still have not so great days.  When this happens I always go back to recording everything I eat in my food journal.  It truly helps me understand negative patterns in my diet.


Tips on using this daily journal:


    *each tip corresponds to the columns in this journal

1.  Write down everything you eat including serving size.  This can be difficult when you eat processed foods.  When I was fist diagnosed with FM I would staple the labels/packages to each daily journal.  After a few months I really started to limit processed foods because it is so hard to determine what is safe and what isn't safe.  In fact, I came up with a list of questions you should ask yourself every time you look at a food label.

2.  I like to use 5 emojis or symbols to help me quickly evaluate how I am feeling each day.  For example: a smiling emoji smile would describe a day where my gut is not yelling at me, I have a lot of energy, my joints do not ache and I feel healthy.  

Fructose Malabsorption can cause chronic inflammation and affect you in a negative way in addition to an irritable gut.  Pay attention to other symptoms in your body.  I explore this topic in my FBF blog.

Another symbol you could use is a Fructose Volcano.  

This would be the opposite of the smiling emoji. A Fructose Volcano occurs when 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).

3.  You can use the USDA food chart to find the fructose and glucose amount in food.  Why is this important?  When you have Fructose Malabsorption you are limited to around 15 grams of fructose each day (some people can have more and some people can have less).  Glucose is your friend.  It helps your body absorb the extra fructose that is floating around in your gut.  It is like a spaceship.  



And, remember table sugar has equal amounts of fructose and glucose.  For example 5 grams of sugar equals 2.5 grams of fructose and 2.5 grams of glucose. Yes, we can eat table sugar because it contains equal amounts of fructose and glucose.  However, we have to limit our table sugar consumption.  For example, a typical chocolate chip cookie has 8 grams of table sugar:  4 grams of fructose and 4 grams of glucose.  In my article Cliff Notes® on Sugar Digestion I explore this topic more.

4.  Eating protein sources with essential amino acids also aids in the digestion of fructose.  For the last few years I have intuitively known that protein is my gut's friend. I figured out that if I want to eat vegetables or fruit that are higher in fructose eating a protein source with it helps.  I never knew scientifically why this worked, but I intuitively knew why. Recently, one of my new Fructose Malabsorption friends shared an article from the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition that proves my theory.  Amino acids, found in proteins, have been scientifically proven to aid in fructose absorption.  My goal is to eat protein with every meal.

5.  Eating access fructose can cause an osmotic load in your body.  In layman’s terms this basically means that your body is working really hard to get rid of excess fructose and pulls a lot of water out of other cells in our body to eliminate the fructose.  When you have Fructose Malabsorption it is essential to drink a lot of water.  I try to drink 72 ounces of water each day.

6.  There are many Fructose Malabsorption Phases in your life after you get diagnosed and adopt a new diet.

     Recently Diagnosed (RD):  You have just learned you have FM; and after seeing your dietitian you are working on eliminating foods that do not work for you and your unique gut.  Typically, your dietitian will put you on a 6 week elimination diet that is very strict. The goal of this diet is to help you settle your gut and have a fresh start.  You are working on the basics and will later fine tune your diet.  On the Families Balancing Fructose Website there are two blog articles that will help you understand what is going on in your body:  Fructose Malabsorption Action Steps and Cliff Notes® on Sugar Digestion.

     Limited Diet, But Ready To Test New Foods (LD):  You have completed the elimination phase of your new diet and are ready to test new foods.  Consider you, your gut and your body as a giant science experiment. With your dietitian’s help you will slowly start trying new foods in small amounts.  Typically, you will try one new food every 3 days. When you have Fructose Malabsorption fructose can have a cumulative effect over a 3 day period. For example; what you eat on Monday may affect you on Wednesday.  Your goal each day is to limit your fructose load to 15 grams per day.  If you eat 20 grams on a Monday you need to eat less on Tuesday and Wednesday. Your body is like a scientific scale. Everyday you have to think about how much fructose and glucose you consume.  


     Hold Steady, Good Balance (HS):  You and your gut are in a happy place.  You are eating a variety of foods and 90% of the time you feel healthy.

     Back to Basics (BB):  Sometimes when I travel or go out to eat too much my gut starts talking back to me.  I do my best to eat clean and healthy, but traveling and going out to eat poses problems.  We can lose control regarding ingredients and fructose amounts.  Our family does travel and we have found success by doing a lot of research in advance.  I wrote a blog about traveling with Fructose Malabsorption after our family visited Boston and Maine.  My Fructose Malabsorption friends have also taught me how to explain Fructose Malabsorption to waiters, chefs and friends.  When I do have a setback I somewhat revert back to the first phase, the recently diagnosed phase, and give my body a reset. My family has a few reset dinners that help us get back on track.


Read 884 times Last modified on Saturday, 02 February 2019 13:48
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