Intolerance Lab

Fruit intolerance

Do you react to eating citrus? Or does your tummy feel ‘off’ after eating fruit? If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these, then you’ll find today’s blog really interesting. Today we’re looking at everything to do with fruit intolerance. We will look at what a fruit intolerance is, how it differs from a fruit allergy, the symptoms of a fruit intolerance, how to test for a fruit intolerance, and what you can do if your test results show that you have a fruit intolerance.

What is fruit intolerance?

A fruit intolerance is a reaction to an ingredient in fruit – like the fruit sugar or a chemical like citric acid (in citrus). When you have an intolerance to fruit, it is because your body is not properly digesting the fruit. This causes digestive symptoms (outlined below). 

An intolerance does not involve your immune system. It isn’t an immune reaction like an allergy is. If you have a fruit allergy, like a citrus allergy, it is because your immune system is reacting to the citrus. This is often a much more immediate reaction than you would have with an intolerance. A fruit allergy can also be a significant reaction, causing severe and even life-threatening anaphylaxis. A fruit intolerance involves your digestive system and is an issue with your digestion.

What are the symptoms of fruit intolerance?

The symptoms of fruit intolerance include: 

  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • abdominal bloating
  • gas
  • tummy aches and cramps
  • diarrhoea
  • chronic fatigue
  • nutrient deficiencies (like low iron)

 

Fruit intolerance is connected with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). It is also linked to changes in mood such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression.

What causes fruit intolerance?

When you have a fruit intolerance you experience symptoms because your body isn’t effectively breaking down the fruit during digestion. Fruit contains the sugar fructose. If you don’t absorb the fructose properly, it can accumulate in the large intestine and cause the digestive symptoms mentioned above. 

Poor absorption of fructose is called fructose malabsorption. It affects 1 in 3 people, so it is a reasonably common issue that leads to fruit intolerance. Fructose is usually absorbed through your intestines by special carriers. If you do not have enough of these carriers in the cells of your intestines, then the fructose builds up and causes problems.

Fructose malabsorption and the resulting fruit intolerance can be caused by many things, including:

  • gut issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, colitis, or coeliac disease
  • stress
  • an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria in your gut (an example of this is small intestine bacterial overgrowth, a condition in which there are excessive and unwanted bacteria in your small intestine)
  • a diet with lots of processed and refined foods
  • inflammation and irritation to the gut (which can be caused by any of the above)

 

Fructose is one of the FODMAP sugars that have been identified by Monash University to cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Avoiding foods with this sugar for a short period of time can help to reduce the abdominal discomfort and bloating experienced by those with IBS. However, before you eliminate any foods from your diet, it is essential to first test if you are intolerant to fructose, and then work with a nutritionist or naturopath to help you recover and be able to bring fruit back into your diet.

How do I know if I have a fruit intolerance?

You can’t know if you have a fruit intolerance by going off symptoms alone. To determine if you have an intolerance to fruit, you need to test for it. You can do this with our easy and non-invasive hair test. Simply order your test HERE, and send us a sample of your hair. Within three days of receiving your sample, you will be sent your test results. The test will tell you whether you are intolerant to fruit, and if so, which fruits you are intolerant to. The test will also tell you if you have any other intolerances, as it looks at over 500 food and non-food items.

What do I do if I have a fruit intolerance?

If your test results show that you have a fruit intolerance, then the best thing to do is to avoid the fruit for a period of three months. During this time, you can work with a nutritionist or naturopath who will take you through a process of eliminating the intolerances, repairing your gut and correcting any other causes of your intolerance, and then reintroducing the fruit into your diet again. It’s important during this time to slowly introduce the fruits and work with a practitioner to assess your symptoms and reactions. This will help to build your tolerance to the food and resolve fructose malabsorption.

Summary

 

Today we have had an in-depth look at fruit intolerances. We learnt that fruit intolerance happens when you don’t digest the fruit properly. This leads to digestive symptoms like bloating, tummy aches, and fatigue. We looked at how the fruit sugar, fructose, can be a trigger of fruit intolerance. The fructose can build up in your large intestine and cause problems if you’re not absorbing it well. This is called fructose malabsorption. In order to find out if this is the cause of your symptoms, you must test for fruit intolerance. You can test for an intolerance to fruit by ordering a test HERE. The hair test is a non-invasive and quick way to find out what you’re intolerant to so you can improve your health and resolve your symptoms as soon as possible.  

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