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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are artificial sweeteners OK for someone with fructose intolerance?

    I have fructose intolerance.. is it ok to have artificial sweeteners to replace sugar?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Joy Anderson

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Joy is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has a special interest in … View Profile

    Regular sugar (sucrose) should not be a problem for someone with fructose intolerance as long as it is consumed in only moderate amounts. Sucrose is made up of two smaller sugars, glucose and fructose, and when  these are consumed together in equal proportions as sucrose, the glucose actually helps the fructose get absorbed. It is excess fructose that causes the main problem.

    Artificial sweeteners made with sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, etc are poorly absorbed by the digestive tract, which is why they are useful as sugar substitutes. So these can cause the same (or worse) problems as fructose in someone who has fructose intolerance. Other artificial sweeteners that are not sugar alcohols may be tolerated.

  • At figureate, accredited practising dietitians Zoe Nicholson and Marlene Gojanovic will help you get off the dieting merry-go-round and show you how to change your … View Profile

    As Joy has explained, regular table sugar (sucrose) is fine if used in moderation. If you have IBS (the nerve endings lining your gut are more easily irritated) then you may find any artificial sweeteners problematic especially in larger quantities.
    Also, the foods/drinks that contain the artificial sweeteners may contain other things that can irritate the gut as they are more likely to be highly processed foods like soft-drinks, commercially baked goods and sweets.
    Therefore, plain table sugar is probably the safest option. One teaspoon in a cup of tea, 1-2 teaspoons on a bowl of porridge or in a serve of stewed fruit is unlikely to cause problems. A small slice of cake (50-80g) on special occasions or 1 sweet biscuit with a cup of tea after dinner should not be a problem either.

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