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Is It Really Fructose Malabsorption, Or Just Slow Absorption?

In a recent post, I talked about Irritable Bowel Syndrome because my hormones had gone so whacko that I was experiencing a particular bad period of I.B.S. which sent me in a whirlwind of research on the topic because I just wanted to stop hurting. (I’m doing much better now, thank you.)

Just prior to that, I’d learned about fructose malabsorption when I went to research why eating mangos made me bloated and why eating apples made me nauseous. Turns out, fructose malabsorption ties in with I.B.S., though researchers haven’t been able to figure out which causes which.

But I’m a raw food vegan!

A lot of people, however reluctantly, could easily drop fruit out of their diet if they had to. They could just get all their carbs from grains and tubers.

The thing is, whole grains cause me bloating and gas (and the effect occurs sooner and goes on longer than what I experience after eating fruit), and eating white rice or tubers make my stomach feel, for lack of a better word, goopy. Not horrible or painful, but…goopy.

Up until a couple of years ago (or maybe it’s just been in the past year), I could eat two servings of fruit in the space of fifteen minutes, no problem. It didn’t give me the digestive distress that cooked foods do. The exception was during P.M.S. times when I might feel bloated or nauseated after eating that much fruit.

This, more than anything, is why my diet is mostly raw – because fruit has been the most comfortable form of carbohydrate for me to digest.

Along came Eat Anything RX

In my post about I.B.S., I wrote about my discovery of the Eat Anything RX supplement, which provides an enzyme, xylose isomerase, which helps break down fructose into glucose, which absorbs much more easily into the gut than fructose does.

Long story short, the supplement works for me.  Probably the best thing has been the end of having to run to the bathroom more than three times a day! (The fructose malabsorption had been causing me daily mild diarrhea along with gas and bloating.)

The thing is, this is not an inexpensive supplement. Given the amount of fruit in my diet, I was approaching $100 per month just to take that supplement (I was needing five pills every day)! On top of that, I quickly got tired of having to remember to take it, and was quite frustrated that I’d become dependent on a little white pill in order to eat my favorite food, a food that up until recently had also been the favorite of my digestive system – not to mention that it’s healthy!

I was grateful, BUT…

I rebelled against the idea of having to depend on the supplement every single day for the rest of my life. And something inside me told me that there was another way.

A couple of weeks after starting to use the supplement, I forgot to take it before my morning smoothie. I realized it about forty-five minutes after finishing my smoothie, and decided to wait and see what was going to happen.

An hour after finishing the smoothie, the painful gas began.

An hour later. Many days, the gas and bloating would begin before I even finished my smoothie.

I muscle-tested whether the Eat Anything RX would work if I took it at that time, because you’re supposed to take it a few minutes before eating. My body told me that yes, it would work.

So I took one of them. Just one. Ten minutes later, the gas had subsided and I didn’t have any diarrhea later that day, or the next.

Malabsorption, or simply slower absorption?

That got me thinking. That day, the fruit didn’t start to bother me until it had been in my system for an hour. And then, I only took one to get rid of the gas, whereas I’d been needing to take two before consuming a two-cup smoothie, equating close to two servings of fruit downed in a fifteen-minute period.

So, some days, it would seem, my body was able to absorb more fructose at a time. Hmmm.

Then I remembered something I’d read about fructose malabsorption, that it wasn’t that the body can’t absorb it at all, but that – depending on the individual – it can only absorb one to twenty-four grams of fructose at a sitting, as opposed to the twenty-five to fifty grams of fructose most people’s bodies can absorb in one sitting.

Okay, so what if I spread out my consumption of two pieces of fruit over a half hour period? I asked my body the question, and the answer was that I’d only need one of the supplements, instead of two.


I muscled-tested whether I’d need a supplement if I spread the fruit consumption over the space of an hour.

Can you guess what the answer is? I’ll give you a hint: it had me jumping up and down with joy and in excitement. It instantly put an extra $100 a month into our bank account.

That’s right: my body answered, “No.”

What that means is that my gut is not completely unable to absorb fructose without the help of a special enzyme. It means that my gut, probably thanks to my estrogen levels continuing to plummet as I approach menopause, has slowed down its ability to absorb fructose. So if I eat at a pace in line with the capacity of my hormone-ravaged small intestine, it will absorb all the fructose I give it, no problem.

My experience thus far

Three days ago, I put the Eat Anything RX supplement into the cooler with the other supplement, and haven’t touched it since. I’ve had to change my morning routine some, but I haven’t had any excess bloating or gas, or diarrhea, during the past couple of days.

If you suspect or know that you’re suffering from fructose malabsorption, and you don’t want to give up fruit, you might want to try replicating my experiment. No, you won’t be able to be a fruitarian or a practitioner of the 80-10-10 diet. But it could be, that if you have the time and willingness to spread out your fruit consumption, you can continue to eat five or more servings of fruit per day.

What worked for me may not work for you. But in my raw vegan opinion, it’s worth a shot.

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