Food tables: fructose

Food tables - fructoseFoods high in fructose and fructans include many fruits, berries, honey, some vegetables and cereal products. In some countries fructose is commonly used as a sweetener in snacks and soft drinks, e.g. in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Many healthy foods contain fructose or fructans and it is important to maintain a healthy diet despite the reduction in fructose necessitated by a fructose intolerance. To achieve this expert assistance from a dietician is advised. Vitamin supplements are often useful, if the fructose intolerance is severe or in case of a hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI), where very strict exclusion of fructose and sucrose is required. Individuals with HFI also need to avoid the newer sweeteners, such as tagatose and isomaltose (read labels). Tagatose is metabolized similarly to fructose and isomaltose is made up of fructose and glucose. These two sweeteners may be found in: beverages (soft drinks, instant drink preparations, teas, fruit or vegetable juices / drinks), breakfast cereals and cereal bars, confectionery and chewing gum, fondants and fillings, jams and marmalades, and diet foods. Levulose and invert sugar on food labels signifies fructose content.

Recent literature shows a diet with generally reduced FODMAP content (see Fructose and associated literature) may be the most effective and practicable diet to aim for. The following information will give you details on how to specifically reduce fructose in your diet.

  • Fructose is better tolerated in the presence of glucose. This means food containing at least as much glucose at fructose is often well tolerated (in the tables this is the F/G value, which should be smaller than 1).
  • Irrespective of glucose content, some foods naturally contain a high load of fructose, i.e. over 3g per serving, or of fructans, i.e. over 0.5g/serving.

These are the two criteria considered most useful in the selection of food to avoid. See below for the food table and links to more extensive food tables.

Based on these criteria, the following foods are likely to be poorly tolerated and should be avoided.

  • Fruit and fruit juices: apple, cherry, grape, guava, litchi, mango, melon (honeydew and watermelon), orange, papaya, pear, persimmon, pineapple, quince, star fruit. Cooked fruit generally has lower fructose content than uncooked fruit.
  • Most dried fruit, including currant, dates, dried fruit or health bars, fig, raisin.
  • Processed fruit: barbecue / braai sauce, chutney, fruit from cans / tins (often in pear juice), plum sauce, sweet and sour sauce, tomato paste.
  • Berries in larger quantitites: blueberry, raspberry.
  • Sweets, food and drinks with very high sucrose (table sugar) content and with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
  • Honey, maple syrup.
  • Vegetables in larger quantities (fructan content): artichoke, asparagus, beans, broccoli, cabbage, chicory, leek, onion, peanuts, tomato, zuccini.
  • Sweet wines: e.g. dessert wines, muscatel, port, sherry.
  • Wheat- based products: flour, pasta, bread, whole-grain breakfast cereals.
  • Whole-meal products in large amounts.
  • Sorbitol (E420 is sorbitol) and xylitol (E967 is xylitol) containing foods: diet / ‘light’ and diabetic drinks, sugar-free chewing gum and sweets / candies, stone fruit, dried fruits (e.g. apple, apricot, date, fig, nectarine, peach, plum, raisin). Beer may be a problem in large amounts.
  • Inulin, a fructan (see Fructose and fructan intolerance), content is high in the following foods generally known to cause bloating and gas: Asparagus, dandelion leaves, garlic, leeks, onion and wheat bran.

Examples of generally well-tolerated fruit and vegetables are:

  • Aubergine, banana, Brussels sprouts, carrots, clementine / mandarine, corn, cucumber, fennel, grapefruit, lemon, potato, pumpkin, radishes, red currents, rhubarb, sauerkraut, spinach and sweet potato / yam.

The table below shows the fructose and glucose content, as well as the fructose / glucose ratio of common foods. The figures are rounded, hence the discrepancies between F, G and F/G. General guidelines are:

First step: observe F/G value, which should be smaller than 1.

Second step: absolute fructose content of food product should not be over 3g per serving. Small portions of borderline foods can be tried, especially when your stomach is not empty.

Foods outside of these suggested ranges are shown in bold in the table. See links below for more extensive food lists.


Content in gram / 100g product

Fructose (g/100 g ganzes Produkt)

Dried fruit:
Apple
Date
Fig
Plum
Raisin

Apple, fresh

Apple, juice

Apple, sauce

Apple, jam / jelly

Peach, fresh
Peach, can

Grapes, fresh

Grape, juice

Berries
Blackberries, fresh
Blackberries, jam
Blueberries, can
Blueberries, fresh
Blueberry, jam
Cranberries, can
Cranberries, fresh
Cranberry, jam
Currants, black fresh
Currants, red fresh
Gooseberry, fresh
Raspberries, can
Raspberry, jam
Raspberries, fresh
Strawberry, jam
Strawberry, fresh

Honey

Cherry, jam

Orange
Orange, juice fresh
Orange, marmalade

Star fruit

Rose hip

Cherries, sweet
Cherries, sour

Pineapple, can
Pineapple, juice
Pineapple, fresh

Kiwi

Grapefruit, juice fresh
Grapefruit, fresh

Melon, honey
Melon, water

Banana

Litchi

Mandarins, juice
Mandarins, fresh

Mango, fresh

Plum, fresh

Artichoke

Tomato, juice
Tomato, fresh

Turnip

Lemon
Lemon, juice

Pumpkin

Beans, green

Carrots

Cabbage

Leeks

Bread, rye whole meal

Fennel

Broccoli

Eggplant / aubergine

Zucchini

Cucumber

Asparagus

Okra

Potato
Potato, sweet

Papaya

Salad

Spinach

Mushrooms

Salad

Fructose (F)


29
25
24
9
32

6

6

8

27

1
4

7

8


3
20
2
3
20
21
3
20
3
2
3
7
14
2
19
2

39

22

3
3
15

8

7

6
4

5
3
2

5

2
2

1
4

3

3

3
1

3

2

2

2
1

2

1
1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

0.2
0.7

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.1-0.3

0.2

Glucose (G)


10
25
26
16
31

2

2

4

26

1
4

7

8


3
22
2
2
22
21
3
22
3
2
3
6
17
2
22
2

34

28

2
3
17

7

7

7
5

5
3
2

4

2
2

1
2

4

5

2
2

1

3

1

1
1

2

1
1

2

1

1

2-0.6

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

0.8

1

0.2
0.8

1

0.4

0.1

0.1-0.3

0.4

Ratio F / G


2.9
1.0
0.9
0.6
1.0

2.8

2.7

1.8

1.0

1
1

1

1


1.1
0.9
1.4
1.4
0.9
1
1
0.9
1
1.2
1.1
1
0.8
1.2
0.9
1.1

1.1

0.8

1.1
1.2
0.9

1.1

1

0.9
0.8

1
1
1.2

1.1

1
0.9

2.1
2

1

0.6

2
0.8

3.1

0.6

2.3

1.3
1.3

0.8

1
1

0.9

1.4

0.9

0.8-1.5

1.3

1.5

0.8

1.1

1

1.1

1

1.2

1.1

0.7
0.8

0.3

0.6

0.9

0.7-0.9

0.6

 

Information nuggets

  • Non-carbohydrate sweeteners: aspartame, acesulfame K, saccharin, cyclamate, thaumatin are no problem for HFI or fructose intolerant individuals.
  • Sorbitol decreases and glucose increase fructose tolerance. Glucose (e.g. glucose / dextrose containing tablets, drinks, syrup) can be eaten together with fructose-containing foods to increase tolerability.
  • Fructose-containing foods are better tolerated in several smaller servings throughout the day and not on en empty stomach.
  • Fructose intolerant individuals may also be lactose intolerant. They are likely to benefit most from a general reduction of FODMAPs.

See Food tables: sorbitol and fructans and galactans and Food intolerances: fructose and Fructooligosaccharides: Fructans, inulins, levans and Food intolerances: sorbitol.

Links to extensive food content list

http://archive.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/nuttab2010/nuttab2010onlinesearchabledatabase/onlineversion.cfm?&action=nutrientFoods&category=Proximates&nutrientID=FRU

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ (enter food you are interested in checking sugar content of, e.g. apple)


Further reading:

Wilder-Smith CH et al. Fructose and lactose intolerance and malabsorption testing: the relationship with symptoms in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2013
 
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