An inability to digest fructose might explain common digestive symptoms like gas, pain and bloating.Researchers at the University of Iowa have been investigating the link between fructose intolerance and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common disorder characterised by abdominal discomfort, bloating and changes in bowel habit. Fructose is the sugar found in various fruits and in honey. Some people can't digest it, but the condition isn't nearly as well known as lactose intolerance, which is linked with consumption of dairy produce.
The researchers carried out a fructose breath test on 190 patients with unexplained gas, bloating and pain, 80 per cent of whom met criteria for IBS. In 70 per cent, methane and hydrogen were found in the breath analysis - both markers for fructose intolerance. More research is needed to confirm the link between fructose and gastrointestinal problem - but, in the meantime, a low fructose diet may provide relief for patients with IBS-type symptoms.