For several years, University of Iowa researchers have been investigating how fructose, the simple sugar found in honey and many fruits, may play an important role in some of the symptoms of IBS, a leading cause of referral to a gastroenterologist. IBS is characterized by abdominal discomfort, bloating, and change in bowel habits (constipation and/or diarrhea).
Although lactose intolerance is well-known, fructose intolerance is just beginning to be recognized. Young K. Choi, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Iowa City, IA) found previously that one-third to one-half of patients with IBS symptoms are fructose intolerant.
"A fructose-restricted diet significantly improved symptoms in patients with IBS and fructose intolerance," said Dr. Choi. "Fructose intolerance is yet another piece of the IBS puzzle, whose treatment -- when adhered to -- confers significant benefits."
For this study, the University of Iowa researchers tested 80 patients with suspected IBS and found that 30 were fructose intolerant. Patients were taught about eliminating fructose from their diet, and after one year, 26 were interviewed to assess their symptoms. Only one-half of the patients complied with the fructose-restricted diet.
For those who were compliant, symptoms (such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea) declined significantly (P<0.05) from their reported symptoms before the diet modification. Also, the prevalence of IBS in this gro
Contact: Malaika Hilliard
American College of Gastroenterology