Dried fruits have the same nutritional value as fresh fruits, but in a concentrated form. The water content of the fruit is extracted during the dehydration process. As a quick source of carbohydrates, dried fruits make a convenient snack option. However, the natural fruit sugar in dried fruits can cause gas and flatulence a few hours after you eat them.
Fructose is a type of sugar that some people's digestive systems cannot absorb well. This problem, fructose malabsorption, can affect just about anyone at any age, and especially people with gastrointestinal conditions. The bacteria living in your intestines feed on the fructose your body is not able to digest, producing a lot of gas, which can cause bloating, cramps and flatulence. Diarrhea and constipation, or both, are also common symptoms of fructose malabsorption.
High-Fructose Dried Fruits
All fruits contain fructose, but some have a very high proportion of fructose compared to the amounts of glucose or sucrose, other types of sugar also found in fruits. Dried high-fructose fruits can be especially problematic if you suffer from fructose malabsorption. Dried apples, pears, mangoes and cherries all contain high levels of fructose. Avoid these fruits, whether dried, fresh, frozen, canned or in juice form to prevent gas and other gastrointestinal discomforts.
Dried Fruit Serving Size
Fruits with a lower fructose content, such as blueberries, strawberries, citrus fruits and bananas, are safer if you have fructose malabsorption issues and are prone to gas and flatulence. Although dried bananas, blueberries, citrus fruits and strawberries are probably better than high-fructose fruits, it is still easy to overload on fructose with any dried fruits. Avoid eating large servings of dried fruit, even the safer fruit options, to prevent gas.
Assess Your Tolerance
If you enjoy dried fruits, you can determine how much fructose you can tolerate without experiencing gas and other gastrointestinal problems. Some people with fructose malabsorption can handle a very small serving size, such as 1 to 2 teaspoons, but tolerance can vary between individuals. Try small amounts of dried fruits with a lower fructose content to assess your own tolerance. Keep servings small and slowly build up to see what amount you can tolerate without experiencing gas.
- "The Low FODMAP Diet -- Reducing Poorly Absorbed Sugars to Control Gastrointestinal Symptoms"; Eastern Health Clinical School -- Monash University; 2011