A simple sugar found naturally in fruit, vegetables and honey, fructose may present a problem for those with irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal conditions. The body’s difficulty absorbing these fruit sugars may lead to gas, bloating, abdominal cramping and diarrhea, the University of Virginia Health System reports. If you have difficulty absorbing foods with fructose, your doctor may recommend a low-fructose diet.
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Although fruits would seem to best avoided on a low-fructose diet, some fruits are more “intestine-friendly” than others, reports the University of Virginia Health System. Among the lower-fructose fruits are pineapples, strawberries, blackberries, lemons, limes, rhubarb, avocado and bananas. Since bananas may lead to uncomfortable gas, however, you may need to eat them in moderation.
Although many vegetables do contain some naturally-occurring fructose, some are permitted on a low-fructose diet. According to the University of Virginia Health System, cooked vegetables are preferable, since cooking eliminates many of the free sugars in vegetables. Vegetables favored in a low-fructose diet include asparagus, leafy greens, celery, mushrooms, white potatoes, spinach and pea pods. According to the National Digestive Disorders Information Clearinghouse, fructose is naturally contained in onions and artichokes, so you should avoid these on your low-fructose diet.
When choosing breads, pastas or cereals for a low-fructose diet, you should be sure these foods don’t contain fructose as an ingredient, HealthHype.com cautions. Other advisable foods include gluten-free, wheat-free rye bread, degermed cornmeal, corn flakes without artificial flavoring, grits, oatmeal, white rice, buckwheat noodles and rye flour. Avoid all cereals that list fructose or sorbitol as ingredients, and avoid sweetening breads or cereals with honey.
Although proteins usually don’t contain high levels of fructose, it’s best to seek out meats and fish that aren't prepared with breading, sweetened sauces or other processed ingredients, reports the Marshfield Clinic. Other protein foods considered acceptable on a low-fructose diet include eggs, nuts and seeds. You can also eat beans, provided that they don’t cause excessive gas, the University of Virginia Health System reports. You should also restrict your intake of sweetened dairy products or yogurts with added fruits, the Marshfield Clinic reports.