[Fructose and fructose intolerance]

Orv Hetil. 2016 Oct;157(43):1708-1716. doi: 10.1556/650.2016.30567.
[Article in Hungarian]


Although fructose was discovered in 1794, it was realised in recent decades only that its malabsorption can lead to intestinal symptoms while its excessive consumption induces metabolic disturbances. Fructose is a monosaccharide found naturally in most fruits and vegetables. Dietary intake of fructose has gradually increased in the past decades, especially because of the consumption of high fructose corn syrup. With its 16.4 kg/year consumption, Hungary ranks secondly after the United States. Fructose is absorbed in the small intestine by facilitated transport mediated by glucose transporter proteins-2 and -5, and arrives in the liver cells. Here it is transformed enzymatically into fructose-1-phosphate and then, fructose-1,5-diphosphate, which splits further into glyceraldehyde and dihydroxyacetone-phosphate, entering the process of glycolysis, triglyceride and uric acid production. The prevalence of fructose intolerance varies strongly, depending on the method used. The leading symptoms of fructose intolerance are similar, but less severe than those of lactose intolerance. Multiple secondary symptoms can also occur. A symptom-based diagnosis of fructose intolerance is possible, but the gold standard is the H2 breath test, though this is less accurate than in lactose testing. Measuring fructosaemia is costly, cumbersome and not widely used. Fructose intolerance increases intestinal motility and sensitivity, promotes biofilm formation and contributes to the development of gastrooesophageal reflux. Long-term use of fructose fosters the development of dental caries and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Its role in carcinogenesis is presently investigated. The cornerstone of dietary management for fructose intolerance is the individual reduction of fructose intake and the FODMAP diet, led by a trained dietetician. The newly introduced xylose-isomerase is efficient in reducing the symptoms of fructose intolerance. Orv. Hetil., 2016, 157(43), 1708-1716.

Keywords: bacterial biofilm; bakteriális biofilm; breath test; fructose; fructose intolerance; fruktóz; fruktózintolerancia; irritable bowel syndrome; kilégzési teszt; nem alkoholos zsírmáj; prebiotics; prebiotikum.

MeSH terms

  • Breath Tests / methods
  • Fructose / adverse effects*
  • Fructose Intolerance / diagnosis*
  • Fructose Intolerance / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology*
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / physiopathology*


  • Fructose