Fructose Malabsorption Series, Part 1: More Work to Do

A few weeks ago, I was frustrated.

Although I had been fanatically following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for months, I was not getting better. I only felt okay. Sometimes after I ate, I’d experience gastrointestinal problems (read: an unsettled stomach, diarrhea and bloating). These symptoms reminded me of the same issues I had before I started the SCD. I ate according to the SCD way – no complex carbs, no refined sugar and no gluten –  (as outlined in Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall). What was I going to do now?

My health seemed to be improving for awhile, but now I couldn’t progress beyond phase 3 as described in the Stages of the Diet by the Pecanbread website. Surely I thought, I should be beyond phase 3. I was disappointed.  I wanted to quit.

Even though I wanted to give up, I didn’t. Instead, I gathered up my courage.

I decided to take action, because I obviously had more work to do.

This is how it went down:

Last month,  I noticed how my digestion seemed to suffer after I ate almond flour pancakes. Actually, I had known this fact for a while, I just didn’t want to acknowledge it. My digestion wasn’t terrible, but it definitely wasn’t good – you know what I mean. Reluctantly, I decided to take a step towards a healthier gut. I stopped eating food that contained almond flour. This was difficult because I loved the bread-like quality of almond flour, even if it made me feel bad.

My sporadic symptoms continued to bother me. The timing of my GI troubles told me that my yogurt, fruit and honey shake was bothering me. The odd thing was, my symptoms didn’t occur after every shake. Well, I shrugged my shoulders and assumed my problems were related to the yogurt. Hestitantly, I cut dairy out of my diet.

Then I noticed that my symptoms were not only still present, but were happening more frequently. I was totally flabbergasted.

I searched for answers. I stared at my Food Log. I went through it page by page. The answer had to be here.

And it was. The answer was in front of me in black and white:

It was the fruit!

I almost always had negative GI symptoms after I ate fruit lately. Of course! I had thoughtlessly tried to fill the voids in my diet left by the numerous food options now deemed illegal by SCD, the almond flour,  and yogurt with fruit. Some days, I consumed 5 servings of it.

This was really, really hard to accept because sticking to the SCD has been one of the toughest things that I have ever done. I am not exaggerating. When I first began SCD, like most other people on the American diet, it was difficult to give up sweets, chocolate and starch-filled vegetables like potatoes. However, I was comforted by the fact that most fruit was legal; I could still partake of what I considered to be the luscious jewels of summer.  Lately, my Food Log told me, I was gobbling it down.

My system obviously couldn’t absorb the fructose present in the quantity of fruit that I consumed and as a result, I had fructose malabsorption. I thought it couldn’t happen to me because I ingested mostly meat and vegetables (or so I thought).

Well, I had more work to do. I got about the business of healing myself. I madly researched fructose malabsorption and investigated levels of fructose in fruits and vegetables. I learned a lot about the subject. I intend on sharing it with you, especially since it is July and seasonal fruit is plentiful.

I’ll tell you what I learned and how I handled things. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series.


Theresa – SCD Griddle

photo credit:



Filed under Beginning, Blog

7 responses to “Fructose Malabsorption Series, Part 1: More Work to Do

  1. I didn’t eat raw fruit, aside from ripe bananas, for months after going on the SCD. If I did eat fruit, I’d peel (if need be) and cook it. It’s recommended not to eat any raw fruits or veggies (except banana and avocado) in the beginning stages of SCD and it varies for each person when you are ready for raw (takes some experimentation). I also didn’t eat nuts or almond flour for a few months after starting the SCD. My best advice is to go slow and don’t push it. Enjoy the process. I have a much more accurate phases chart from if you’d like me to email it to you. It’s from their book and it’s much better than the one on pecan bread, which is more aimed at children anyway.

  2. Thank you so much for this post!!! I also suffer from this. But never heard of the term. I agree with the previous comment. Fruit and nuts are good to avoid in the beginning, especially with any active symptoms. Arg, it’s all so confusing. But it’s nice we can all connect here in cyberspace and help each other find answers. 🙂

  3. Kim

    I was having trouble with fruit a few months ago. My dr. suggested viewing the FODMAP diet. Printed out a great sheet online, but it doesn’t have the site listed. Anyway, switching to low fodmap fruits really helped. Now I can have a wider variety of fruit.

    Good luck! Maybe this will let you eat a bit more.

    • Kim,
      I wish I would’ve known about FODMAP a few months ago, I wouldn’t have had such problems! The recommendations in Part 2 of this series incorporated a lot of the FODMAP diet information.
      And thank you, I am doing much better!

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