| Fructose May Cause Gas
and Stomach Discomfort
(HealthScoutNews) -- Fructose, the
simple sugar found in honey, fruits and some soft drinks, may
be to blame for unexplained stomach ailments such as cramps, gas
This sugar is the main sweetener used
in Western diets, say a group of researchers at the University
of Kansas Medical Center, but some people lack the ability to
absorb fructose properly. They believe the dietetic ingredient
is responsible for a host of common gastrointestinal complaints,
so they are urging doctors to use fructose breath tests as a diagnostic
tool for unexplained abdominal maladies.
Their study, presented at the American
College of Gastroenterology's annual scientific meeting in Seattle,
suggests that fructose malabsorption affects a significant number
of healthy adults.
Gastric woes arise when the fructose
travels down the digestive tract into the colon, where some bacteria
use the sugar as a food source and consequently flourish. In the
process, hydrogen gas is released and may cause pain, bloating
During their research, the investigators
fed their subjects 25 grams of fructose -- the equivalent of a
12-ounce can of soda sweetened with high fructose corn syrup --
and then gathered breath samples. Testing revealed an abnormal
level of hydrogen gas in almost half of the participants. On another
occasion, after the subjects had dined on 50 grams of fructose,
about three-quarters of them exhaled high levels of hydrogen.
If the sugar was digested normally, the gas would be absent from
"When given levels of fructose
commonly consumed in the Western diet, a significant number of
our subjects had both objective and subjective evidence of fructose
malabsorption, meaning that the breath analysis showed hydrogen
in excess of 20 parts per million, and they had symptoms like
gas and diarrhea," says Peter Beyer, of the University of
Kansas Medical Centers' Dietetics and Nutrition Department.
He believes physicians should add
breath analysis for fructose intolerance to their diagnostic test
"If a patient is found to be
fructose intolerant and symptomatic, the doctor may recommend
a low-fructose diet," says Beyer. "But in severe cases,
antibiotic therapy may be required to provide relief."
The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
has more on sugar and tummy troubles.
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