Why Fructose Malabsorption Causes Gas, Cramping, and Diarrhea and How to Beat It

fructose malabsorption diet

Fructose Malabsorption can cause gas, cramping and diarrhea. If you have any of these symptoms, then this is probably the most important article you will ever read. When I first learned about Fructose Malabsorption (FM) and realized that the horrible gas, cramping, and diarrhea was from the sugar in the fruit I was eating… I had no idea what to do about it. In this article I am going to explain what I learned about FM and how it caused my symptoms. I’m also going to share how I stopped my symptoms and ended the cycle of FM. If you follow along and learn what I share with you about FM, you can follow the same steps that I used to stop your diarrhea, gas, and cramping.

What is Fructose Malabsorption?

Fructose Malabsorption really just means… not being able to absorb fructose. Fructose is a form of sugar and readily available in almost everything we eat, including fruit and vegetables. Both fructose and glucose are different forms of sugar and they are in the most simple form… but that’s the tricky part. Both forms of sugar require no digesting at all; they are already broken down into the most simple form for the body to soak right up. Therein lies the problem behind fructose malabsorption; the fructose is not being soaked right up into the body.

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When fructose doesn’t get soaked right up into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall like it’s supposed to, it is shipped further down the bowels and gobbled up by hungry bad bacteria. When the bad bacteria eat, they make by-products such as methane and hydrogen gas that cause bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, and wicked bad breath. In fact, there is a test for Fructose Malabsorption that measures the level of hydrogen in the breath. This is because the bad bacteria release hydrogen after digesting fructose which gets absorbed into the bloodstream and removed by the lungs, finally expelled from the body through the breath.

So, Why Can’t the Body Soak Up Fructose?

There are several scenarios that would prevent the body from soaking up fructose. The first is a genetic disease that is hereditary and does not allow the body to deal with fructose, which is very rare. If there isn’t a genetic defect behind all of this, there are really only three things that could be going on. The bowels could just be moving way too slow in which case the fructose sits around not getting absorbed, allowing bad bacteria to feast on it. But this is also pretty rare for the small intestine (constipation takes place further along in the intestinal tract). The second thing that could be going on is the GLUT5 and GLUT2 transporters could be deficient. GLUT5 and GLUT2 transporters are little escorts that guide the fructose across the intestinal wall and into the blood. If they are not around to escort the fructose, it cannot be absorbed. This too has been found to be somewhat rare. The third and more likely scenario is that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is in full swing and the bad bacteria are gobbling up the fructose in the small intestine before it has a chance to be escorted to the bloodstream in the first place.

This is what was going on in my case. All the sugar I was consuming was being feasted on by severe small intestinal

End the gas and bad breath!

bacterial overgrowth which was causing horrible gas, cramping, diarrhea, and unbelievable bad breath. The only way to stop this out of whack cycle that is causing the bacterial overgrowth and digestive unrest is (i) to stop eating sugars temporarily to starve out the bacteria and (ii) only eat things that the body can easily absorb to replace the nutrients you need to heal.

That’s where the SCD Diet comes in and accomplishes both of those things by eliminating complex carbohydrates (sugars, starches, and grains) and providing simple foods so the body can replenish the nutrients and begin to heal. I had already been on the SCD Diet when I was experiencing really strong symptoms of FM and decided to go even lower with my fruit/honey intake (I was binge eating on SCD Legal fruits all day long). Once I stopped the fruit I was able to break the cycle and kill off the bacteria… within a few days of a lower fruit version of the SCD diet my fructose malabsorption issues were gone and I could slowly bring the fruit back in (this time keep it in moderation).

Without the SCD diet, I would have never been able to pinpoint that my bacterial overgrowth symptoms were related to fructose. Being on the diet assured me that none of  my symptoms were related to any other food allergies or intolerances. That is most likely why I had such dramatic results the first day I stopped eating fruit. If I was eating complex grains, sugars or starches I would have had to eliminate each one slowly until I figured out the answer… which would have taken months to connect the problem (FM) to the amount of fruit I was eating. The SCD Diet once again showed me new levels of health I didn’t realize were possible, so I really hope that if you have any digestive problems at all that you give it a shot! Ready to get started?

So, How Do I Properly Start the SCD Diet Anyway?

Here’s a 3 step process to properly start the SCD Diet and stop the gas, cramping, and diarrhea from fructose malabsorption in 30 days:

Step 1: Start making some SCD legal foods and experimenting to see how it goes over a few weeks… ease into the lifestyle.

Step 2: Pick a day that you are officially going to be on the diet and follow the intro diet to start it off right.

Step 3: Strictly follow the SCD diet for 30 days, and keep the fruit intake in moderation to keep the fructose/glucose down until you start to heal a little.

If you follow these 3 steps carefully to properly start the SCD Diet and give it a shot for 30 days, you can stop the gas, cramping, and diarrhea from fructose malabsorption like I did. Here’s what to do right now to make sure that you properly start the SCD diet:

Download our free guide here: “How to Properly Start the SCD Intro Diet”

Once you have it downloaded, make sure to try SCD legal foods and recipes for a few weeks to get used to cooking those meals before you decide to jump in 100%. Then, print it out and do what it says to get started on the intro diet and begin taking control of your fructose malabsorption. If you download the free guide today and get started on the SCD Diet in the next few weeks, you could have the gas, cramping, and diarrhea from fructose malabsorption taken care of in a little over a month.


Jordan Reasoner

About Jordan Reasoner

Jordan Reasoner is a health engineer and author. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and almost gave up hope when a gluten-free diet didn’t work. Since then, he transformed his health using the SCD Diet and started HealthyGut.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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115 thoughts on “Why Fructose Malabsorption Causes Gas, Cramping, and Diarrhea and How to Beat It

  1. Avatar

    I just got off a 6mth strict diet to cure SIBO. My food sensitivity test had a laundry list of stuff I had issues with, but not much in the way of fruit was on it. This diet took away all dairy, some meats, all items that showed positive on the test and some other items. It was also, at certain points, Gluten free, and for 30 days totally grain free, including rice. I’m now back on a normal diet and the food sensitivity test came back completely clean except for Avocado. I started eating a very small amount of fruit and still have the cramps and diarrhea. As long as I don’t eat fruit I’m fine. I did not eat any fruit for that entire 6mth diet. I’m pretty frustrated since it was very costly to go through that, as well as rough on me. I love eating fruit, but just can’t tolerate it. I’m 56 years old and have eaten fruit all my life without issues until the last few years. Any ideas?

    • Avatar

      HI Jerry – if you’re still reacting strongly to fruit, the SIBO may still be present to some degree. You can try natural antimicrobials to see if that helps at all. As always, we do recommend working with a practitioner, especially when it comes to SIBO. It can be hard to treat. Here is more information on a natural SIBO protocol: http://gutinfections.scdlifestyle.com/ and here are the practitioners we recommend: scdlifestyle.com/practitioners

  2. Avatar

    Interesting article.

    I don’t really have any IBS symptoms but have had at times severe issues with reflux. I was on nexium for 2-3 years before finally weaning myself off of it. I was off it for around 8 months.

    I was doing well initially the first few months but the reflux came back with a vengeance eventually and I was forced on intermittently taking nexium again.

    The ironic thing is I had become so much more healthy stopping my 4 bar a day chocolate addiction and replacing it with much more vegetables and fruit. I was now addicted to all manner of fruits(especially passion fruit, mango, pomegranate and watermelon) and would eat copious amount every day. All the while my reflux was getting worse. I also went through a few weeks of unexplained bad breath(my wife kept telling me my breath smelled really bad even after i had just brushed/flossed my teeth and had nothing to eat).

    I had heard about fructose mal-absorption but never paid any heed to it. After a particular week of absolutely feeling like crap I came across the Fast Tract Diet and it seemed to make sense so I gave it a go. This diet identifies certain foods which are much more likely to be fermented in the gut and you try and limit these foods. Many fruits were high on this list so consequently I stopped eating all fruits except watermelon and within a couple of days noticed I was burping a lot less(Reflux and burping go hand in hand for me and at my peak I seemed to be burping constantly. From the moment I got out of bed in the morning even on an empty stomach).

    It was like magic really where previously I felt at a loss.

  3. Avatar
    chaim jacobson says:

    I am finishing up week two of SCD, with a history of crohns. I started the intro diet for 5 days, then cut out grape/apple juice. Waited three days added Zucchini still with watery diarrhea without eggs or yogurt, instead SCD -S. Boularddi.. I waited 2 days and re- added homemade applesauce- causing bloating, with diarrhea.Added GIprohealth Enzymes. I am now off fructose now, and adding eggs with beef for breakfast , getting tired of chicken broth and broiled beef, and hand made ground turkey rolls/sausage with slivers of onion and garlic, salt pepper.. Still having diarrhea. Going to try the FODMAP and remove onion, garlic in 2 days. Any thoughts on when I should start ripe bannanas??

  4. Avatar

    I am new here and just started Scd two weeks ago. I got my symptoms improved on intro but when introduced back normal food especially cooked fruits ( less amount ). My symptoms return especially noises in the abdomen, gases and some kind of pain in the ribs around breast stone. Can someone help please if I am doing anything differently.

  5. Avatar

    This was an enlightening article and was the key to helping us figure out why our daughter who is diagnosed with celiac wasn’t getting better on the GF diet nor the SCD diet. It led us to Norman Robillard’s book “Fast Tract Digestion for IBS” which we read that night and implemented the next day. Results were immediate. Day 1 showed a drastic improvement in symptoms for the first time since the celiac diagnosis. All symptoms were gone by day 2! The book is about SIBO and how it affects much much more than we think. But beware- his diet is NOT SCD. In fact my daughter can eat whole bowls of Jasmine rice with no problem at all (since it’s all glucose not fructose it’s absorbed without problem. Not so for other types of rice.) I highly recommend researching “Fast Tract digestion” – the author said his book starts where “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” left off.

  6. Avatar
    Julie Whitledge says:

    Hi. My 10 year old just left the doctor with this DX. We were told to eliminate milk and high sugar fruits. Milk isn’t a problem, we only drink almond (and Italian only for cereal). The fruit however is her number 1 food group. All she eats is fruit, veggies, eggs and peanut butter. She doesnt like the texture of meat. What do I do??
    I never thought fruit could be bad for you!

  7. Avatar

    I was tested for SIBO and it was positive, then tested for fructose malabsorption and it too was positive… Do you know any cookbook or recipe site that is for fructose malabsorption ??? I will be testing Monday for lactose intolerance, also. By choice, I have been gluten free 95 % of the time, for several years now. Any help would be appreciated !!!


    • Avatar

      Hi Denise, thanks for reaching out 🙂 In our experience, the more you heal your gut, the less likely you are to have symptoms of fructose intolerance. While your gut heals, you can avoid fruits that are high in fructose to help manage symptoms. Jordan saw big improvements within 30 days.

      We have a comprehensive program for healing your gut – you can learn more here: http://solvingleakygut.com

      I hope this helps and you’re feeling better soon! You’re definitely on the right path

  8. Avatar

    Great information! Just curious of this could be my problem since not all fruit affect me. I can eat apples, tomatoes and oranges no problem. I’ve also been able to make smoothies with prepackaged frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, and maybe raspberries or blackberries).
    But a few foods I absolutely cannot eat are bananas, avacodos, kiwi, and raspberries which are all legal on an SCD diet.
    In addition to diarrhea, gas, and cramps, I also sometimes experience vomiting.

  9. Avatar

    I do think that I have fructose malabsorption and would like to buy the book on the subject, HOWEVER, if the sample recipe is a good example of what you are offering, that is no help at all. I am a vegetarian and your dish consists of meat, gelatin (also a meat product) and grape juice – nothing makes me bloat like grapes. Is there no other guidance than these types of recipes? That is not helpful.

  10. Avatar

    Hi…I am celiac, lactose and fructose intolerant.
    In your chicken soup recipe I can not eat carrots, onion or celery am I able to replace them with potato, pumpkin and spinach as they are the only veggies I can eat. Thanks

    • Avatar

      Hi Robyn – if you’re going to use the chicken soup to follow SCD-intro diet, we recommend you just use spinach (or no veggies at all) – then you can add in more veggies later according to the phase charts.

      Hope you enjoy your soup!

    • Avatar

      Hi Leanne! Thanks for commenting 🙂

      If you find you have fructose intolerance while you’re following SCD, you’ll want to avoid the higher-fructose foods, like bananas. There are still tons of foods you can enjoy, however.

      Hope this helps!

  11. Avatar

    I was wondering what Steve meant in moderate fruit intake to reduce FM. Is it one serving per day, 2-3 of various fruits. Also, what are the worse offenders? bananas, etc.

    Thanks, Adrienne

  12. Avatar

    Hi Jordan. I am currently someone who suffered pretty badly from the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis starting this summer. I started SCD broadly then started to eliminate foods as I found them to be causing problems. I had diarrhea for seven days straight near the end of summer, and that is when I cut out fermented yogurt and honey/fruit. Fortunately, after taking bentonite clay and probiotics and digestive enzymes, my stools went back to normal, however there still seem to be complications. First thing is that I find that my stools just fall apart in the water ( wouldnt be able to tell if they were formed or diarrhea by the time i flush). I thought this was low stomach acid but supplementing with Betaine HCL didn’t seem to help. Then I tried honey/fruit (banana only) for the first time since I stopped them in the summer, and I started feeling sick again, with increased bowel movements and diarrhea. I went back to my restricted diet and stools went back to being formed, but still falling apart in the water with somewhat undigested foods in them. I also find that I am bloated/have annoying gas in my stomach from time to time, so I was wondering if you had a solution to this? My assumption was that maybe I have an overgrowth of some strand of pathogen/bacteria that I need to kill with medicine rather than “starving” them through SCD. I will be seeing a functional doctor in just a few weeks to get the 401h stool test done to see this. I havent had honey/fruits for months so this is why I dont believe starving these bacteria will work. Please, if you could give me your input I would be forever grateful!!

    • Avatar

      Hi Kasra, thank you for reaching out! We suggest a multi faceted approach in diet, lifestyle, and supplementation. Our Solving Leaky gut program includes each of these and would be a great start to begin healing these symptoms. If you would like to learn more and take the customized quiz, please go here:solvingleakygut.com

  13. Avatar

    I have UC and started the SCD about a month ago, kept a food log and just recently found out a few days ago that drinking welch’s grape juice and having a banana didn’t go over so well since i started. i’m not sure why you guys even have this in the intro diet phase guide. It really throws a wrench in for some people including myself. So, with those two items removed, my bm’s made a turn for the better. It seems that fruit isn’t so good for me even though i really used to chow down on it. So, i’ll have to quit it for a while to get back on track. I like the diet in all though. The beginning is tricky but once you pass that die off stage, things get better. Since it’s thanksgiving, i had to have some yummy pie…pumpkin rolls…ice cream cookie… just cause you gotta live sometime! and it was good! Back to the grind tomorrow and hope my bm’s don’t catch up with me!

  14. Avatar
    jacqueline mullally says:

    Hi, Just reading about FM. I have decided to take honey out of the diet as I was getting bad gas/wind from it. I’m now down to just a banana with my breakfast and a table spoon of coconut oil for fat. I will let you know how I get on. Lastly, I was diagnosed firstly with mild crohns and then another consultant said mild ulcerative colitis. I have no pain, cramping, diarrhoea, etc. just slightly loose stool in morning and blood. Does anyone else have just these symptoms. I hate the blood, it freaks me out!!

    • Avatar

      I have UC and had a problem with honey a while back. I even have issues with bananas right now. I flared about 2 months ago and still trying to get back on track so i quit all fruit. right now i stick with meats (watch the fats), veggies (stick with squashes, lettuce, green beans), no dairy except if i want a piece of cheddar block cheese, and no nuts. I’m good with eggs. they don’t bother me. Seems things are moving in the right direction. I’m also on apriso right now for inflammation but once things are under control, i’m going to drop off of those.

  15. Avatar

    Hi, I have been doing the SCD for a few weeks and cannot tolerate even very ripe bananas or the tiniest amount of honey or I get severe gas. How do I ensure that I am getting enough carbs? I am concerned about losing too much weight.

  16. Avatar

    Thank you for this article. My personal story is exactly the same except that my SIBO was so bad I could only eat about 5 foods and I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia due to the severe inflammation that accompanied my symptoms. The SCD Diet saved my life and put me back on track. I occaissionally have to stop sugars and always watch my fructose/fructans intake. Most articles do rapt mention the accompanying fatigue and body aches that can be symptoms.

  17. Avatar

    Hi there

    I’ve had IBS for the past 20 years. When my weight is down IBS is minimal, when it is up I get cramps, bloating(I look 9 months pregnant) excessive smelly gas and level 6 stools.

    High fibre diet is incredibly bad for me, i.e. diahrrea. I keep hot chocolate to minimum, not too much white bread. Dried fruits are soooo bad for me. Also apples, grapes, oranges are no good either. Beans are no good. High fibre pasta and rice no good. All the white versions of these constipate me so it’s difficult to find a happy medium. I tried the SCD. The intro diet was great, had a few spoons of honey when needed a sugar fix. However, when started phasing in rest of diet I got problems. I love the home-made yogurt but I always add honey. I made the carrot cake, brownies and muffins – is the almond flour giving me gas. I had yogurt with pineapple, is it the fruit giving me gas? is the honey giving me gas? The interesting thing is that I used to have porridge for breakfast (organic ground oats which I soaked overnight to remove phytates or phytic acid, whichever was the problem) with yogurt and blueberries and I had no problem digesting it. I’m just so confused. I would stick to the intro diet but it makes me so tired and I crave sweet things, which is when I go for the honey fix.

  18. Avatar

    Does honey still retain its benefits when heated – or does it become just plain 50:50 frutose and glucose without its additional benefits? If so, does that mean its on the same level as white sugar?

    What sweeteners can be used?

    What about glucose and maltose – which is what rice syrup is made of?


  19. Avatar

    Did FM cause you extreme exhaustion and if so did your alterations to your diet worsen the amount of your fatigue or cause any malabsorption issues? I like the photo that you chose for the article.

  20. Avatar

    I already knew I had a weird reaction to sugar…..mostly if I ate too much that day….which is rare…but my body acts up when I do this. I didn’t know there was an actual disease linked to it. Thank you for this article. It’s always nice to understand things.

  21. Avatar

    Hi Steve and Jordan

    I think the work that you do is great but your eating plan does not suit every digestive disorder and you should not try and make it fit for every case. SCD is not the diet to follow if you have fructose malabsorption. I followed your diet for 6 weeks earlier this year and while I lost weight, which I was happy about, it didn’t help with my symptoms. Later in the year I was diagnosed with fructose malabsorption and I now understand why SCD didn’t work. Firstly, honey should not be consumed if you have fructose malabsortion neither should pears. Both of these are in the diet plan from early on in the diet. At the same time, people with fructose malabsorption typically have no problem with digesting lactose so there is no need to cut out the dairy product. Fructose malabsorption diet has its own list of food that are safe to eat and its own set of guidelines and while it does overlap with the SCD diet, it is not the same.Also, small intestine bacteria overgrowth is not the same thing as fructose malabsorption. You can have fructose malabsorption without having bacteria overgrowth in your small intestines. I know because I have been tested for both separately and I don’t have small intestine bacteria overgrowth (for this they test with a lactulose not fructose).

  22. Avatar

    Hello. My son is on a very strict diet from fructose malabsorption. His is missing Glut5. I would love to have contact with other malabsorbers missing Glut5. I’ve been doing research on the possibility of adding glucose to the diet when consuming something in which free fructose is higher than glucose. This has helped some sufferers in Europe, allowing them to eat foods with higher ratios than they could normally (keeping in mind total fructose is also a concern). Also, I have been exploring the use of Fructosin (xylose isomerase) so my son could eat things like cantelope or pizza. (The red sauce is the culprit, he eats only special white sauces.) Please email and put Glut5 in the subject so your message gets to me right away. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Angela email: deralynn@comcast.net

  23. Avatar
    ruthie smith says:

    Thank you for this article….I really can’t believe that you are pinpointing exactly what a portion of my digestive troubles are caused by….the too much fruit and honey thing…yess…..I thought I was just the oddball…but anything is possible with this group of SCD people! I never had a name for it, but knew that sugar was never my friend and that sweet fruit was also not my friend…and now I have a real name to stick to my weird reactions….it feels so great to be among you all…I feel more “normal” ha ha!!! God bless us all to find our way through the SCD and taylor it to what our body needs and wants.

  24. Avatar

    Hi Steve and Jordan,
    So, if a person has fructose malabsorption, what do you suggest to use as a sweetener in the SCD diet? I know Elaine says in her book that stevia has a chemical structure similar to steroids, so it’s not allowed even though it is a monosaccharide. Her only other option given in the book is saccharin, which is FODMAP friendly, but I worry about the safety of that one also. Any feedback, suggestions? I have 2 children I need to implement the program on, thus, I need some options or we will never make it!!! Going to be tough enough the way it is!!

    • Avatar
      ruthie smith says:

      I lessen the amount of honey I add to muffins for example…it really makes a difference! I try not to eat too many bananas in one day…and make sure they are ripe…also really this makes a big difference!

  25. Avatar
    chelsea asher says:

    hello my name is chelsea ans i have to say i am fructose in tollance would tthis help me as i have tried the hosptail all my life and they dont know what to do has i am under great ormand street.

  26. Avatar

    Since going gluten free due to celiac disease, I still wasn’t feeling well. Then I realized dairy was bothering me. I experience shooting pains in my legs and shoulder pain when I eat dairy, (weird, but true). I’ve now been completely dairy free for a couple weeks. I never tried the SCD diet because I don’t have cramping or diarrhea, but I did notice that when I eat sugar or fruit that I have a lot of gas, (burping) and I feel like the insides of me are literally fermenting. I can feel bubbles coming back up when I burp- very strange. I’m thinking it might be fructose malabsorption . Thanks so much for this article. I am going to try to cut my sugars for a few weeks and see if that helps!! Thank you!

  27. Avatar

    Great article- weird- I just emailed you guys this morning about a question re: my recent SIBO diagnosis. In it I said I am reluctant to give up winter squash, as it is my last source of carbs and I feel my C worsen when I eliminate all carbs. Will my SIBO be resistant to heal if I still eat it? I am on rifaximin right now, and lactulose as prescribed by my doctor (which has been tremendously helpful for C) but now I am worried that that is just another sugar feeding the overgrowth. Any thoughts?

  28. Avatar

    Hey Jordan (and all)!

    To add to your article I would like to note that there is an ingredient that mfg’s of all sorts have, in the last number of years, begun to add to their foods that can severely affects folks who suffer from this condition-well at least it does me and other family members with the same issues. The ingredient is inulin, it is a fructan, and is often listed as inulin or FOS. It is found naturally in some root vegetables, but in small amounts. I have made a conscious effort to avoid foods that have this ingredient added to them and have found that this helps. Hope this helps some folks!

  29. Avatar

    I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease about a year and a half ago, but I’m still having some issues. I’ve been having food induced headaches for the last year or so. I’ve bounced between a few doctors and one of them suggested fructose malabsorption. I haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly which foods trigger my headaches, but it tends to be after lots of grains (cereal, tortilla chips), or watermelon, or sauces (bbq, marinara). I was wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences. The headaches aren’t always accompanied by GI symptoms, so I’m not sure if that rules out fructose malabsorption or not. Thoughts? Help?

    • Steven Wright

      @Katie – What your describing may or may not be FM but it surely is the result of an inflamed leaky gut. Headaches are not normal and can be caused by lots of things, diet is a major contributor to them. Because of the gut-brain axis lot’s of people on this site and Paleo sites around the web have reported a complete cessation of migraines and headaches after switching to a grain-free diet low toxin diet. Of course you may need other lifestyle changes as we all are different but I’d try that for 60 days first.

      • Avatar

        @steve, I had a similar experience of realization with migraines. I changed to gluten free during this summer. My migraines and tinnitus went nearly away. However, when I had a gluten free muffin mix that has inulin, I began becoming nauseous over the three days that I had the muiffins until I had a full blown migraine. So, I am not thinking that my gluten intollerance is really caused by fructose intollerance.

  30. Avatar

    All i am living on right now is greens,fruit and the odd bit of fresh fish here and there but not everyday,this is how i’ve lived for the past 2 months because i’m serious about getting my health back on track.My weight as dropped from 10 stone to 8 and half which isn’t a bad thing i suppose but i don’t want to keep dropping as it’s not healthy. If i remove fruit what’s there left for me to eat? living this life really is depressing 🙁

    • Steven Wright

      @Pam – Glad to hear your motivated to get your health under control. But what you posted scares me a bit. I doubt it is low FODMAPS and it is definitely not a specific carbohydrate diet. I hope your working with a professional and if you are based on what you said your eating you may want to seek out a 2nd opinion.

  31. Avatar

    Just an update from here.
    I am now 3 months pregnant and is doing alot better. I havn’t been very strict with the SCD, but eat also potatoes, ryebread and rice. Otherwise I do find it hard to get enough to eat to put on weight.
    I have now juggled my diet since march where I was diagnosed with FM and is making mistakes but also learning all the way.
    I have reduced sugar intake, wheat and diary to a minimum. I can’t eat barbecues or grilled things either.
    I have also seem a hypnotherapist, a biopath, a heil practitioner and a molecyler medicine advicer and they have helped me with which vitamins and minerals I am lacking.
    I am now taking folic acid, calcium, iron, fishoil, aloe vera (I konw not allowed), chrome and zink, probiotics every day and I am sure that is what has encreased my energy levels.
    I have also almost gotten rid of my dissiness, stomach pain, burning feeling in the stomach and look alot better.
    Now my challenges are to get back my appetite and rid of my nausea, which should make it easier for me to eat more and put on weight for the baby, but that I am not really having progress with at the moment, so if anyone have any helpfull suggestions I would be so happy.
    My nauses and lack of appetite could be causes by that I have alot of gallstones, which I can’t be operated for while pregnant and don’t wan’t to be operated for. I hope to get them dissolved naturaly, but at the moment I just try to avoid heavy meats and sugar which seem to irritate them.
    But I am desperately looking for a way to put on weight for the baby:)

  32. Avatar

    I am so glad I found your website! I have a question about fructose malabsorption with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). Do I also need to avoid foods with yeast (ie breads, wines, vinegars, etc)?
    I have been doing an herbal cleanse (Renew Life-CandiGone) for candidias yeast overgrowth. I am restricting sugar, wheat/gluten, limiting fruit and all carbs (except whole grain brown rice). I eat a lot of fresh/frozen vegetables. I have had great relief, but I really miss bread. I would love to be able to bake my gluten free bread, but I am afraid that the yeast in the bread will cause bloating, gas and constipation. I currently take specific probiotic for gut health, digestive enzymes, B-vitamins. I was hoping that someone out there might have a similar concern and could address this. Thanks!

  33. Avatar

    Thanks for the great info!

    I’ve been on a paleo/scd type diet for just over 3 months (No grains, legumes, starchy veggies, or processed sugar). When I get my diet just right, my life is perfect. Small cheating, whether it’s half a baked potato with a meal (starches) or a handful of raisins as a snack (fructose/sugars) sets off the same symptoms: cravings, bloating, extreme & sudden fatigue, and back/neck pain. I can take the raisins either right before or right after exercise, just not while sedentary. I can handle moderate carbs best when combined with a good deal of protein and fat, even something as sweet as dates is OK in the right combination of foods. If there’s not enough protein/fat in a meal even regular veggies can bring on symptoms. Does this sound like a fructose malaborption problem to you, or an intolerance to carbs in general, a blood sugar/insulin problem, or something else all together? I’m not overweight, I could actually stand to gain a few pounds, but that is hard to do on limited carbs.

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    I have been diagnosed FM and have started the SCD 3 weeks ago. i am still in the intro and have experienced this: The first few weeks I struggled to find my way around in it, reading and reading the book. Before starting this diet I had seen a dietist to get help with my FM and she had included alot of fibre through ryebread and the diet was making my diarrea less, but instead I got severe stomach pain and felt sick and lost my appetite. I had followed this diet for 4 weeks and fortunately a friend of mine told me about the SCD or GAPS diet. So I decided to give it a try because the other diet was giving me so much pain. So I already knew alot about which fruit, vegetables and wheats to avoid. The first few days on SCD all my pain disappeared. Then I have had a few set backs with adding too many vegetables, which I have now removed. I have been sick for now 7 years and almost can’t bear this anymore. I have 3 little children and am looking after them at home it is very hard finding the energy for daily life. I really believe I can shape this diet to my personal needs, but my question is that when I am on level 1-2 of the introduction diet I have started getting these incredibly strong depressive moods where I just cry and cry when I have a set back (diarrea or pain). I have never felt such horrible moods before and feel besides myself. I wonder if somebody else have experienced something like that? Today I ate a banana and quite quickly my mood went back to normal, now I have also taken a B-vitamin supplement as I read that depression could be caused by lack of that. I am also getting a bit down by the fact that I have lost my appetite since starting this diet. I really have to force myself to eat something. Anybody can help me with these problems?

    • Steven Wright
      Steven Wright says:

      @ Vibeke – Hang in there your doing so well! The fact that the diet took care of your digestive problems in weeks is amazing don’t forget that fact just because the pain is gone. The hormonal issue could be many things from detox, healing to not enough nutrients. I think using a high quality B-complex is a great idea. Also hormones are made of fat, some people make the mistake of not eating enough on SCD. Please try eating a lot more fat for the next 2 weeks and see how you feel. Try using coconut oils and avocados.

  35. Avatar

    Just a quick comment. I have been on SCD (SCDLifestyle’s version) for the month of Dec, Jan and most of Feb (roughly 3 months). During that time I had a good days and bad days (As to be expected), but I could barely get out of the intro diet at all. No matter what, urgency continued to run my life (for 7-8 years now)

    I then researched FM and realized that many of the foods on the intro, phase 1,2,3, etc are loaded with fructose. Once I cut out carrots, which were my SCD staple, I felt better instantly. I have IBS and not IBD. I’m about to order a hydrogen breath test to confirm FM but I just want to say, if you don’t see somewhat constant improvement on SCD and the intro diet, please note fructose and frutans are in many of the foods which are SCD legal including carrots, onions, garlic, pears, apples, many of the fruits. A good resource is http://www.thefartingpear.com

    I feel so much better and can eat so many more foods (and not be sick like I was for the last 7 years) following a *proper* FM diet (not just cut out fruit) than all the IBS diets I have ever tried. I think Steve and Jordan are doing a great job, but if SCD isn’t giving contestant results, just read a bit about FM and you may be surprised. Again, I don’t have IBD but rather severe IBS – this may not apply to you. I’ll try to remember to provide an update in a few weeks.

    • Jordan Reasoner
      Jordan Reasoner says:

      Great addition to this post Dave, thank you 🙂

      I had the same experience that you did, and I had to eliminate high fructose fruits/veggies for about 6 months on SCD to reach another level of health.

      About a year in I could start slowly adding more foods back in like onion, carrots, berries, etc. Now I’m fine with them and loving every minute of it!

      Keep us posted,


  36. Avatar

    Just wondering about Luo Han Guo as a sweetener. From what I understand it is NEITHER Monosaccharide or Polysaccharide. It is 80% a whole new creature composed mostly of glycosides. Are Glycosides legal in an SCD Diet? I would be interested in understanding if this could be a low carb sweetener that could be used later on in SCD. It’s supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties from what I have read. Thank you for your help with understanding Sweeteners and what they do to the body.

    • Jordan Reasoner
      Jordan Reasoner says:

      @Willy – I have heard of it but I haven’t ever received feedback that it worked.

      Me personally, I’m adverse to taking something like that and would rather lower my fructose intake.


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    I don’t think any gum is SCD legal but you can try the Indian tip of chewing a teaspoon or more of fenel seeds or some fresh parsley to freshen the breath.
    I’m on SCD now, no eggs, onions, garlic and still introducing foods. Goat’s yogurt, home made gave me a horrible taste in my mouth. Not sure whether cow’s yogurt is good for me either but I want the good bacteria and it’s much cheaper than buying probiotics. Feeling better though, slowly.

  38. Avatar

    Hi, thank you all for the great info! (In the future, less use of acronyms
    would be helpful…less homework) Nowhere is SCD spelled out anywhere.
    But I will google and try.


  39. Avatar

    Thanks for all the great info!
    My question: I have gone cold turkey on sugar. I mean I have eliminated any and everything that could even remotely contain fructose, xylitol etc. My question is, how long before I get a relief from the incredible bad taste on my tongue and horrific bad breath? I use to chew sugar free gum like it’s going out of style because of the bad taste in my mouth and bad breath. I have nothad foods that contain these products, but haven’t noticed a difference. My tummy feels so much better though, and no more bloat. There hasn’t been any improvement either in my smelly stools (sorry, I feel the need to be as graphic and as honest as I can to get some answers) and it is still more of a diarrhea like consistency.
    Thank you for any answers you can provide. My life has been turned upside down and I am so lost.

  40. Avatar

    Just found this website and I am so grateful for all the information on here it has been so helpful! After 20 + years of suffering with what I thought was IBS and bad breath, was/is FM.

    I have a question regarding gum. Does anyone have a suggestion for a sugar free gum without sorbitol? I had no idea that the gum I was using to get rid of the bad breath and bad taste in my mouth was actually exacerbating the problem!

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


  41. Avatar

    What about the legal SCD cheese? Can you continue to eat this if you are dealing with the FM? My son has been on SCD for 4 months and has had relief from acid reflux but stomach pain continues. We just started eliminating honey and he has had some improvement; next will be all fruit and fructans (onions, etc). But what about SCD legal cheese. Can we continue to eat that. We have not done the yogurt yet.

    Thanks for any feedback.

  42. Avatar
    Maureen McCormack says:

    I have suffered with IBS and acid reflux for years and was recently diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption. I have eliminiated most sugar, fruits, wheat and various vegetables from my diet. I have also stopped eating diary products because I seem to have a reaction to those as well. I have greatly improved but I am still suffering at times from stomach pains, gas and diarreah.
    My mom suggested that I try SCD. My first reaction was “no way!” since I have already eliminated so much out of my diet and rice has become a staple of my diet. On second thought, I decided to look online to see if other FM sufferers have benefited from this diet so I was plesantly surprised to stumble upon your website.
    I have the “everyday grain-free gourmet” book and I am getting a lot of great information from your website. I am hoping to start SCD soon.
    It is my hope that I might be able to add some of the food back into my diet like cheese, certain lower-frutose fruits, and nuts after I have been on SCD for a while.

    Is the yogurt a must have in this diet? If it is I might have to use that probiotic mentioned.

    Thanks for all the information.

  43. Avatar

    I think fructose malabsorption may be a big issue in why my 18 yr old daughter diagnosed with Crohn’s 6 months ago and on SCD for 5 months has not had real success and consistent symptom relief. The question is: WHAT do you eat??? She tends to eat at least a couple of pcs of fruit a day, 1-2 almond flour based muffins, maybe a Larabar in school lunch. She knows that she does better when she eats what she calls “plain”, but that usually means dealing with hunger. She is already too thin and can’t live on basic intro foods of meat and simple veggies. What is the answer???

    • Jordan Reasoner
      Jordan Reasoner says:

      Hi Rebecca – great question!

      To be the bacterial overgrowth causing fructose malabsorption I stuck with healthy fats, meats, veggies, and 1 cup of fruit/day. Lost of healthy fats will help her gain weight and curb hunger cravings. Think coconut oil and olive oil or avocado if she’s ready for it. Try it for four day and you’ll likely see massive improvements.

      Stay in touch,


  44. Avatar

    My daughter was just diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption. I am pretty sure her problem was mostly the amount of fruit juice that she consumed daily on the SCD diet for the past two years. You mentioned that you went off all fruit for a few weeks and gradually added certain fruits back in a few at a time. Did you also go off of all lettuce, tomatoes, onions and other vegetables or anything else during that time period? Can she just start omitting the fruit and juice?

    • Jordan Reasoner
      Jordan Reasoner says:

      Hi Kathy, I did go off all fructose for a few weeks and slowly brought fruit back in with moderation. I would say, test omitting everything with high sugar content for 4-days, then try slowly re-introducing the onions, beets, etc.

      I think in those four days she will see an amazing improvement in how she’s feeling.

      Stay in touch and let us know how she’s doing.


  45. Avatar

    Hmmm, I have made an effort to avoid Fructose, since I suspect it is what is making America fat, but started to realize that even sugar is half fructose, I fortunately stumbled on an article that inspired me to look for the enzyme to digest fructose (silly me!) and found the phrase “fructose malabsorption” in Wikipedia, searched on that and picked your link first, Thanks, I think this is going to solve some mysteries, I will get back to you after I work on the initial steps.

    • Steven Wright
      Steven Wright says:

      Hi Gail – Thanks for the great link!
      The best part about SCD is that it can incorporate FODMAPS. In my opinion SCD is superior treatment for FM. FODMAPS seems to be a great way to get rid of the symptoms caused by FM but doesn’t appear to encourage recovery as well.

      Jordan and others I’ve talked with have done great by eliminating/limiting high FODMAPS foods from SCD and then over time re-introducing them after being on SCD for awhile.

  46. Avatar


    I have been on SCD strictly for 1 week. My fruit intake is minimal (rarely have a couple of spoons of cooked pears/apples and some very dilute grape juice). I have noticed that I have a very bitter taste in my mouth- not necessarily bad breath but this taste is very odd- I have never experienced this before. I don’t know if it’s fructose (unlikely bc my intake is so low) or my drastic increase in animal protein consumption in the last week- I was almost vegan before starting this diet!)

    Has anyone else experienced this???


  47. Avatar

    Thank you very much. Really it is very useful. My experience is that I used to take a spoonful of honey in the morning everyday. During that time, I had cramps in the stomach. May be due to presence of rich fructose. Immediately I stopped taking honey, I got relief from the same. Recently, when I started consuming green grapes of about 250 gms everyday for a week, then cramps started in my stomach. Noticing the difference, I stopped taking green grapes and now I am alright. So, in my case, green grapes and honey are not suitable. Of course, It is my opinion that they can be taken in a little quantity. I shall try taking little after some time.

  48. Avatar

    Thanks so much for this article. It helps me understand what’s going on with me. I have upper GI gas issues, acid reflux and bad breath, rather than lower GI, and I’m seeing that sugar is a HUGE part of that. When I started SCD 2 years ago all of the symptoms went away. I started cheating 8 months ago, retreating to my old ways. Wasn’t worth it. So I am now back on 2 months now and very happy.

    Tiffany – I too can’t eat tomatoes but mine is because of the reflux, not arthritis.

    Thanks for the info and the site. Glad I found it.

  49. Avatar

    Wow! Thanks Cat! I’ve been researching that all morning! I am def going to cut them out of SCD-hard as it may be! It’s worth it for maximum healing. Crazy about the blueberries too..I eat those every day! Can’t find out if strawberries are included in that category or not..back to research..lol!

    • Avatar
      Shari (naturopathic RD) says:

      I know the question about nightshades was asked about 6 years ago but maybe this can help someone else. Nightshades can trigger an autoimmune reaction in many individuals with some form of autoimmune condition such as arthritis, vitiligo, SLE, Hashimoto’s. Try an autoimmune paleo diet – it has helped me and lots of my patients.

  50. Avatar

    Has anybody ever had tomatoes bother them? I just have to cut them out of my diet at this point. I swear, everytime I eat them it causes some sort of inflammation to happen. All the arthritis symptoms that I experienced before the diet come back after I eat a meal containing them. I did briefly read something that talked about tomatoes being a part of the “night-shade” veggie group. Apparently, these along with peppers and some other thing I can’t remember can give people issues. I need to find that article again. Does anyone here have the same type of response to them?

    • Avatar

      My 10yo daughter has issues with nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.) It causes bumpy itchy skin that progresses to a red weeping rash that she can’t help but scratch until she’s bleeding. The process used to take 4-6 weeks from start to clear skin again. We’ve discovered that Shea Butter speeds up the process to about 7-10 days.

      I get achy joints from eating nightshades so I don’t eat them often.

    • Avatar

      yes tomatoes being a fruit and part of the nightshade family can definatly cause allergy and digestive type issues with those sensitive to this food family….tomatoe skins are very difficult to digest so if you cannot live without them i suggest cooking them for better digestion and pulling the skins straight off which is far easier to do when grilled ect…plus go get a nightshade allergy test done through a naturepathic office…

  51. Jordan Reasoner
    Jordan Reasoner says:

    Anne-Marie ~ Good work taking control of the overgrowth! Oh and don’t worry too much if you experience another die off, that is completely normal if you are cutting back on the fructose/glucose that has been feeding the bad guys.

    It’s hard to say about the yogurt. Milk is full of lactose (milk sugar) which is a disaccharide made up of the monosaccharides glucose and galactose. When the yogurt is fermenting the starter cultures feed on the lactose and break it down into those two sugars and continue to feed and multiply by consuming them. That is why Elaine recommended to ferment the yogurt for 24 hours, to completely break down the lactose. There are many things that can impact that process (like temperature, time, # of cultures, etc.). Long story short, it’s really hard to guess how much sugars are left in the form of lactose, galactose, or glucose after the 24 hours without lab testing. Again, keep it in moderation if you can and test it out, if you feel like you are doing better without it, than maybe take a break for a little while and then introduce again. Once you get a handle on the bacteria overgrowth you should be able to absorb sugars again (in moderation).

    Hope that helps! Stay in touch.


  52. Avatar
    Anne-Marie Barbour says:

    Really appreciate your article on Fructose Malabsorption and SCD. I have been on SCD for 3 months and today have not eaten apples (previously 3 a day) as well as no FODMAPS foods. My symptoms of IBS are markedly improved 🙂

    Jordan or Steve – would you know if SCD 24 hr fermented yoghurt (goats or almond) with GIPro non dairy yoghurt starter would be compatible with both FM and SC diets.

    Thanks for your work

    • Avatar

      I have done all of them and done them wrong and right. Live and learn. Ugh.
      There is a 30 day dairy free and then you try the homemade active live yogurt. I am doing that again. Be sure you do the 3 day Intro Diet (free) and then get the 6 week phased diet (buy from them). It is wonderful and so easy. Trying to figure it all out by yourself is hard. I know that some people can’t do the apples, pears and grape juice at first. Eventually you will probably be able to do some.

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