Fructose malabsorption is a condition where the sufferer is unable to properly digest foods which are high in fructose or have an unbalanced fructose:glucose load.
Fructose is a fruit sugar, found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. People suffering from fructose malabsorption may also have difficulty digesting fructans, which are long-chain fructose molecules. Wheat contains particularly high levels of fructans.
Symptoms of a fructose malabsorption allergy include bloating, excessive flatulence, diarrhoea or constipation, nausea, hypoglycaemia, fatty liver and depression. Fructose malabsorption is often misdiagnosed under the catch-all heading of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Fructose malabsorption is diagnosed using the hydrogen breath test, similar to the test used to diagnose lactose intolerance. In this test the patient fasts for a period of about eight hours. Levels of hydrogen in the breath are then measured before and after consuming fructose, with a rise in the levels of hydrogen in the breath indicating fructose malabsorption.
While estimates vary, it appears that up to 40% of the Australian population may suffer from some degree of fructose malabsorption. There is no cure for a fructose malabsorption allergy – the only solution is for the sufferer to adopt a diet which is low in fructose and fructans.
People with fructose malabsorption allergies often experience symptoms after eating wheat, therefore many people with this condition choose to live on a low-wheat or wheat-free diet. This makes them an important consumer group for Silly Yak Foods, as our range of products is 100% wheat-free. Note that people with fructose malabsorption are only allergic to wheat, not gluten – it is the fact that Silly Yaks products are 100% wheat-free as well as being gluten-free that makes them appropriate for people with this condition.
In order to maximise the proportion of our product range which is suitable for people with fructose malabsorption allergies we make use of a number of cooking tricks, including the following:
- Many of our stocks are made with onions, a vegetable which is normally off-limits to people with fructose malabsorption allergies, as onions contain high levels of fructans. The fructans in onions, however, remain within the flesh of the onion. By placing quartered onions in a muslin bag before adding them to the stock we are able to ensure that no onion flesh remains in the stock – thus providing the flavour of the onions without the fructans. This renders the stocks used to flavour our pies safe for people with fructose malabsorption allergies.
- Fruits with a high fructose content can be rendered safe for people with fructose malabsorption allergies by cooking the fruit with dextrose. During the cooking process the excess fructose in the fruit bonds with the dextrose monohydrate, creating a sugar molecule (sucrose) which still tastes sweet but which will not provoke an allergic reaction in a person who suffers from a fructose malabsorption allergy.
At Silly Yak Foods we recognise the growing importance of fructose malabsorption allergies in the dietary requirements of Australians. Where possible, and where doing so will not compromise the taste and quality of our food, we adjust our recipes to ensure that the finished products are safe for people with fructose malabsorption allergies.
Disclaimer: The information about fructose malabsorption allergies provided here is of a general nature and is intended as background information only. It is not intended as medical or dietary advice. If you think that you may have a fructose malabsorption allergy you should consult your doctor for medical advice and you should consult a qualified dietician for advice on maintaining an appropriate diet.