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Fructose May Cause Irritable Bpwel Syndrome (IBS)

Young K. Choi, M.D., a gastroenterologist, at University of Iowa, reported at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology that fructose may be the cause of most cases of irritable bowel syndrome. When a person complains of pain in the belly, intestinal gas, cramps, and usually alternating constipation and diarrhea, doctors are expected to do a major workup looking for cancer and infections. When the workup fails to reveal a cause, the patient is told that he has irritable bowel syndrome. This study shows that many cases of irritable bowel syndrome are caused by eating fructose.

Carbohydrates are single sugars, or two sugars bound together, or thousands of sugars bound together called starch, or millions of sugars bound together called fiber. No carbohydrate can pass from your intestines into your bloodstream until it is broken down into a single sugar. For example, milk contains a double sugar called lactose that must be broken down into two single sugars before it can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Fifty percent of people on this earth get gas, cramping and diarrhea when they drink milk. To break the double sugar called lactose into the single sugars, your intestines must produce an enzyme called lactase. If your intestines do not produce lactase, you cannot split the double sugar into single sugars, and the double sugar cannot be absorbed in your upper intestines, so it passes to your colon, where bacteria ferment it to form gas, cramping and diarrhea.

Fructose is a single sugar that is absorbed much more slowly than another sugar called glucose. Most of the fructose in you intestines is converted to glucose and then absorbed into the bloodstream. The fructose that is absorbed goes directly to your liver where it is converted to glucose. Some people have intestines that do not convert fructose to glucose rapidly. Therefore , the fructose is not absorbed in the upper intestinal tract and it passes to the colon where bacteria ferment it to form gas, cramping and diarrhea. These people should avoid foods that are high in fructose, particularly those made with high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is used in almost all soft drinks and fruit beverages , in cookies, gum, jams, jellies and baked goods, and a wide variety of other processed foods. This study suggests that 30 to 60 percent of patients with irritable bowel syndrome have fructose intolerance and can be cured by avoiding foods made with fructose.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
High Fructose Corn Syrup.
More on Irritable Bowel Syndrome

How Useful Is A Fructose-Restricted Diet in Patients with IBS and Fructose Intolerance? Abstract 547 Young K. Choi, MD, gastroenterologist, University of Iowa, Iowa City. October 14, 2003 at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

Checked 1/29/14

May 30th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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