Medically reviewed on Sept 20, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Most people would say fruits are an important part of a balanced diet, but this isn’t always true. In particular, people with fructose intolerance are unable to consume fruits and other fructose-containing foods because doing so leads to acute and chronic digestive upset.
If you’re looking to find the cause of persistent digestive discomfort, you may want to discuss fructose intolerance with a healthcare provider.
Here, we’ll define what fructose intolerance is, take a look at common fructose intolerance symptoms, and explore approaches to management and treatment.
Fructose intolerance is a condition that impairs a person’s ability to comfortably digest :
You can find each of these constituents in many naturally derived fruits and vegetables.  You may also encounter them in processed foods like high fructose corn syrup which is used liberally in commercial food products.
Because it’s seldom discussed, researchers believe fructose intolerance often gets mistaken for other common digestive conditions. In fact, one study predicted that as many as ⅓ of people diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have misdiagnosed fructose intolerance. 
If you experience digestive discomfort after eating fruit, it may be worth learning about the two different types of fructose intolerance: dietary and hereditary.
Dietary fructose intolerance, also called fructose malabsorption, is the most common instance of fructose intolerance. It results when an individual’s intestines are unable to absorb fruit sugars normally. 
Dietary fructose intolerance typically presents with symptoms like:
Because these are also symptoms associated with better-known illnesses, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), many cases of fructose intolerance go under-reported. 
Fortunately, dietary fructose intolerance rarely leads to severe health consequences.  By modifying diet in cooperation with a healthcare provider, people with this type of fructose intolerance can usually lead full, healthy lives. 
Hereditary fructose intolerance is more serious, resulting from a gene mutation.3 People with this type of fructose intolerance are born without the ability to produce the enzyme needed to break down sugars in fruit (aldolase B enzyme).3 Or, the enzymes they do possess don’t function properly.
Hereditary fructose intolerance is rare. It affects only 1 in every 20,000 or 30,000 people.3 Usually, hereditary fructose intolerance makes itself known in infancy or childhood when a baby has a negative response to eating fruit. 
Considered a severe condition, untreated hereditary fructose intolerance can result in :
In severe cases, untreated hereditary fructose intolerance can result in fatal consequences. If an infant has an adverse reaction to eating fruit or fructose-containing products, it’s crucial that a healthcare provider examine them immediately.
There are several methods healthcare providers use to diagnose intestinal fructose intolerance :
The most effective starting place for managing fructose intolerance is familiarizing yourself with foods that contain fructose so that you can easily avoid them. Some foods with the highest amounts of fructose include :
Sometimes, a healthcare provider may also recommend a Low FODMAP diet.  This diet helps reduce your exposure to short-chain carbohydrates (high FODMAP foods) responsible for much of fruits’ sugars. 
If you’ve been diagnosed with fructose intolerance, eliminating fruits and fructose-containing foods may help reduce symptoms. However, in some cases, a healthcare provider may give you the green light to consume certain low-fructose fruits in moderation.
If that’s the case for you, you may be able to enjoy the following fruits occasionally, in limited amounts :
Finally, it’s important to find alternative ways of obtaining the nutrients you’d normally obtain through fruit and vegetables. A multivitamin that offers essential vitamins and minerals can be an excellent tool for finding nutritional balance.
Many people struggle with digestive discomfort, but discerning the root cause isn’t always clear. With Everlywell, you can screen for everything from a food sensitivity to celiac disease affordably, conveniently, and with complete privacy protection. Find out more of what you can discover about your health by checking in with Everlywell today.