Happy & Fructose Free

Spreading Hope for Anyone Affected by Fructose Malabsorption

Formal Food List

Hello Fructose Free Folks!

This food list is from my Dietitian, and is significantly less scary than some of the other lists you can find online.  But, before diving in…

Please know that this will be a major transition in your life.  And even though my ultimate OK food list will not be the same as yours, rest completely assured that you have an ally who sincerely understands how huge of a challenge this is.  You are not alone on this journey :)

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about what is and is not okay for us Fructose Malabsorbers  to eat.  Ultimately you need to find your own Happy Foods List and that means a lot of trial and error.  Even though I am not a certified food expert, I do love talking about food and I have a darn good shoulder to cry on.

Check out the formal food list below, but now that I’ve done this awhile here are some of my best posts that I bet will help you too.

–> What I’ve Learned in my First Year: http://happyandfructosefree.com/2013/05/10/what-ive-learned-in-my-first-year/

–>  The Meat Carb & Dairy Trap: http://happyandfructosefree.com/2013/07/13/the-meat-carb-dairy-trap-a-world-without-fruits-veggies/

–> When You Can’t Control The Menu: http://happyandfructosefree.com/2013/11/25/holiday-food-adventures-merriment-with-minimal-bloating/

Email me anytime: happyfructosefree@gmail.com

Here we go…


Happy List:  Barley malt syrup, Brown rice syrup, Corn syrup (Not High Fructose!), Dextrin, Dextrose/Glucose, Glycogen, Isomaltose, Lactose, Maltodextrin, Maltose, Moducal, Polycose, & Sucrose (which is CANE SUGAR!!!)

Best to Avoid List: Agave syrup or nectar, Brown sugar, Caramel, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Honey, Invert sugar, Karo corn syrups, Levulose, Maple syrup, Molasses, & Palm sugar.

For more information on sugars, please check out the note at the bottom of the page :)


Happy List:  Aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet), Saccharin (Sweet-n-Low), Sugar Twin & Sweet One, & (**from my personal testing**) Stevia in the Raw  *For my take on this controversial section, please check out the comments at the bottom*  

Best to Avoid List: Artificial Sweeteners like Sucralose (Splenda) or Sugar Alcohols like Erythroytol, Hydrogenated starch hydrosalate, Isomalt, Lactatol, Lactitol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, & Xylitol.


Happy List:  Salt, Pepper, and any other spices NOT on the Avoid List.  My personal “must-haves” are Basil, Oregano, Cinnamon, Cumin & White Pepper :) *Choose name brand products to avoid sugar fillers*

Best to Avoid List: Chervil, Coriander, Dill weed, Garlic (All Forms), Ginger, Hot chili pepper, Onion (All Forms), Parsley, & Pumpkin pie seasoning (because of the ginger).


Happy List:  *1-2 servings/week @ 1/4 to 1/2 cup*  Avocado, Cranberries, Lemons, Limes, & Rhubarb.

Happy List:  *After 4-6 weeks being Fructose Free, test tolerance with*  Strawberries, Raspberries, & Oranges.

Best to Avoid List: All other fruits, including Tomatoes, Apples, Pears, & Grapes.  This includes fruit juices.


Happy List:  *2-4 servings/day @ 1/4 to 1/2 cup*  Celery, Chives, Endive, Escarole, Fava beans, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Peas in pods, Potatoes (white, yellow & red) Spinach, Swiss chard & Turnip greens.

Happy List:   *2 servings/week @ 1/4 to 1/2 cup* Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage (raw & white), Cauliflower, Cucumber (raw), Green beans, Green peppers (raw), Leeks (cooked), Iceberg lettuce, Radishes (raw), Summer squash, Watercress & Zucchini.

Best to Avoid List: Beets, Carrots, Corn, Eggplant, Onions, Peas canned, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips & Winter squash.


Happy List:  *Lactose is similar to Fructose, and may need to be limited or avoided for individuals who find they are sensitive.* Plain milk/Lactaid, Dry milk, Cheeses (other than veined), Buttermilk, Whey & Yogurt (plain, and lemon or vanilla sweetened with aspartame or dextrose).

Best to Avoid List: Chocolate milk, Sweetened milk beverages, Sweetened condensed milk, & Yogurt sweetened with fruit, Splenda or HFCS.


Happy List:  Eggs, Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb, Fish & Shellfish (*beware of any and all seasonings that frequently come with protein*)Soy in the form of tofu (1/4 block) or soy protein isolates should be OK, but I think its a good idea to keep an eye on your soy consumption since it can also cause gastrointestinal distress.

Best to Avoid List: Ham, Bacon, Lunch meats and any other meat where sugar or honey is used in the processing & any commercially breaded meats.  (I’ve had luck with bacon recently, so I thought I’d share. Turkey bacon and even the pre-cooked kinds are readily available without any unhappy spices or sweeteners.  Just be vigilant.)


Happy List:  Beans (1/4 cup of Garbanzo, Lima & Mung beans), Lentils (1/4 cup), Pistachios (2-3 Tbsp.) Flaxseeds (2-3 Tbsp.), Pumpkin seeds (1 Tbsp.) Sesame seeds (2 Tbsp.) Tahini (1 Tbsp.) & Poppyseeds.

Best to Avoid List: All nuts other than pistachios, and all beans & not previously listed.


Happy List:  *5 servings/day @ 1 oz servings*  White bread made without fructose, Corn meal (degermed) Rice crackers, English muffins, Flour tortillas, Cooked cereals (Barley, Cream of Wheat, Grits, Grouts & Plain Oatmeal), Ready-to-Eat Cereals (Puffed rice & Puffed wheat), White pasta, white rice, Amaranth (1/4 cup cooked or 2 Tbsp raw), Millet (1/4 cup cooked or 2 Tbsp raw) & White flour.

Happy List:  *2 servings/day @ 1 oz servings*  Whole grain bread made without fructose, Shredded wheat, Ready-to-Eat Oat Cereals, Whole wheat pasta, Brown rice, Chow mein noodles, Rye or wheat crackers.

Best to Avoid List:  Grains containing fruit, fructose, fruit juice, coconut & any nut other than pistachios, Saltine crackers, Sugar-coated cereals, Flavored oatmeal, Cereals containing germ or untolerated sugars.


Happy List:  Butter, Margarine, Oil, Homemade mayo or French dressing made without sugar

Best to Avoid List: Mayonnaise, Salad dressings made with sugar (and keep an eye out for onion and garlic).


Happy List:   Mustard (certain varieties like Heinz do not contain any garlic powder), and Vinegars such as Distilled white, Rice & some Balsamics. Worcestershire sauce (be certain of the ingredients before purchasing) &.  Ranch & Cesar salad dressings if dairy is tolerated.

Best to Avoid List: Ketchup/Catsup, Chili sauce, & Soy sauce


Happy List:  Water, Carbonated mineral water, Milk, Coffee, Tea, Diet carbonated beverages – dark colored, Cranberry juice (pure, sweetened with allowed sweeteners), & Sugar-free powdered drinks

Best to Avoid List: All commercially prepared fruit juices, Fruit drinks, Cider, Vegetable juice with untolerated veggies, Sweetened beverages, Diet citrus-based carbonated beverages, & Chocolate milk sweetened with HFCS.


Happy List:  *Limit to 1 oz. servings*  Gin, Rum, Vodka (from grain or potato), Whiskey, & Wine (dry & white)

Best to Avoid List: Beer & Sweet wine

18 responses to “Formal Food List

  1. chuck says:

    You put in happy list, “Sucrose (which is CANE SUGAR!!!)”. and put brown sugar in to void list. BOTH are from cane sugar and both contain fructose. Sucrose is half fructose and glucose. How did you get your info? I wonder if the rest info would still be correct.

    • Chuck, thank you for bringing this very confusing issue to light! You are absolutely correct that sucrose is half fructose and half glucose. This sweet 1:1 ratio of Fructose:Glucose makes our troublesome fructose easier to digest, which makes cane sugar OK for we Fructose Malabsorbers to enjoy (in moderation, of course). Please see the second paragraph in this link, and note that glucose = dextrose: ~ http://web.archive.org/web/20050205093436/http://www.uihc.uiowa.edu/FRUCTOSE/LivingwithDFI.htm ~ Hopefully sometime in the future we will be able to use dextrose as a digestive aid in the same way that those with lactose intolerance can take a simple lactase pill.

      You are also correct that sucrose is involved in both cane sugar and brown sugar. However, sucrose is not why brown sugar is on the “Avoid List.” It is actually the molasses that is added to the sucrose, which gives brown sugar its color and added moisture. Molasses, which is also on the Avoid List, adds extra fructose to the normally happy 1:1 F/G Ratio of sucrose. Those un-bonded fructose molecules go undigested in our bodies and proceed to cause the symptoms that we all know and dread.

      As for the source of my food list… it was given to me by a Registered Dietitian on “Day 2″ of my new adventure. I have done a lot of research on this digestive disorder since then, and during my numerous hours/days/weeks of digging I actually stumbled across the exact same list. Here is the link to the web archives of the University of Iowa: Health Care. ~ http://web.archive.org/web/20050204162723/www.uihc.uiowa.edu/FRUCTOSE/DietBasics.htm ~

      This archived site uses older terms like “Dietary Fructose Intolerance,” but, being an educational institution, they are certainly reputable. One cannot deny the thoroughness of their information looking around their website, and since Fructose Malabsorption is one gigantic “gray area” we as a society may continue to learn more about our disorder but there will still be truth in this information, current or not.

      I hope these answers clarify some of your questions and please feel free to email me at happyfructosefree@gmail.com if there is anything else that I can do to help you achieve a state of happiness while living with Fructose Intolerance.

  2. Emily says:

    This is a very helpful list! Actually, it is the most helpful list of all the ones I have come across since my son was diagnosed with fructose intolerance. I really appreciate your posting this! Thanks!

  3. Michelle says:

    I love checking out websites like this, it’s great to know I’m not alone!

    However I’m a little confused about the list…under the nuts heading you have listed pistachios as a happy food and all other types of nuts as best to avoid. My dietitian, and a number of FODMAP books/articles that I have read, told me quite the opposite and this is really worrying. There are a few others I don’t agree with, but as you said our happy lists will never be identical to anyone else’s.

    The lesson here is to make sure you see a dietitian before you completely change your diet, but this does act as a nice guide :)

  4. Aspartame is one of the worst synthetic chemicals ever devised by human kind. It delivers small amounts of methonal when digested which build up cumulatively in the body. Essentially, a person who consumes this on a regular basis over a period of time is slowly poisoning their body. Approved by the FDA who were doing their mate and Aspartame investor, Donald Rumsfield, a favour as an economic weapon to smash america’s reliance on imported HFCS and sugar, replacing it with an american lab produced compound. No official FDA trials or assessment was ever made. Avoid at all costs (not so happy after all)

    • Very interesting information, and thank you for posting it! It may surprise you that I agree 100% and there is a ton of info out there about Splenda and Agave being terrible in their own ways also.

      ** The moral of the story… we all need to reduce our sweetener consumption. Across the board, 100%.**

      Now, that being said, since Fructose Malabsorbers, like myself, only have a couple choices for sweeteners, I am not going to throw away the Equal in my pantry. Why? Because I am a recovering sugar addict and I’m trying to lose a few pounds. Aspartime serves a purpose in my life, and like any other addiction, it hurts your body but you still enjoy it.

      If I’m going to die of something, I want it to be sweet :-) Everything in moderation, but enjoy it wholeheartedly so you feel satisfied, and always be aware addiction.

      Happiness (i.e. sweetener) in moderation for all!

    • Barb says:

      Right on the money, Michael Alberts! I cannot believe the advice given out here by a dietitian.

      • Barb, I do understand that Aspartame is not the most healthy choice and I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my blog. But along with smoking, tanning, and eating highly processed foods, there are many dangerous choices to be made in our universe. I stand by my response to Michael Alberts and since I don’t smoke or tan, always wear a seat-belt, and live a pretty healthy lifestyle, I believe I can pick my poison and I want it to be sweet.

        I’m not sure what your food situation is, but I can tell you when my food universe got turned upside-down with my diagnosis I was very “happy” to have the familiar sweetness of diet soda and sugar free Jello in my life. It took me a long time to figured out what else I could eat to find peace with my tummy, and it was very frustrating. My choice is not super healthy, but it makes me happy and it could certainly be worse.

        THE GREAT NEWS! I have tested my tolerance with Stevia in the Raw, and I have had no issues at all. I am adding it to my Happy List, right now :)

        I sincerely wish you the best of luck! Whatever the “poisons” in your life that bring you joy, always remember to enjoy in moderation!

  5. C Gust says:

    My daughter just got diagnosed with this. What about a Stevia sweetener?

    • Thank you for checking into my blog, and I am happy to help you and your daughter in any way that I can. In regards to your question, I must say that I have just started testing my tolerance with Stevia (as the result of your question), so I do not now how it fits into my puzzle yet. I haven’t had any major tummy aches so far, so as I classify things, Stevia In The Raw would be under “not the worst idea I’ve ever had.” :)

      What I do know… as I was searching through the off brands and Stevia based sweeteners in my grocery store I laughed out loud! EVERY SINGLE ONE had a different combo of ingredients… Stevia In The Raw, I decided was the safest with the ingredients being Maltodextrin & Stevia Leaf Extract.

      Walmart’s Off-Brand “Equate” and name brand “Truvia,” which has very pretty packaging and nice commercials, both have a very bad ingredient for FMers… Erythritol (the first ingredient for both) is a sugar alcohol. You can tell because it ends in “-tol” and they are VERY hard to digest.

      I always stick with sucrose/table sugar whenever I can because I know it is safe. I also use aspartame occasionally and now have Stevia In The Raw to play with also.

      Best of luck to you and your daughter, and if you have any other questions or need to find a way to make a recipe FM-Friendly please email me at happyfructosefree@gmail.com :)

    • Marius Aglen says:

      I regarded terrible to stevia, but I think people are different, but I’d not try it in big doses, + it tastes awful, at least for me.

      Much better success with Dextrose sugar. (but that’s probably not as “healthy”).

      • I also handle dextrose better, and the only things that make it “unhealthy” are that it breaks down in the gut very quickly (why it’s easier for us to digest) and it is higher in calories. Dextrose certainly serves a purpose, but all sweeteners are unhealthy. Honey isn’t a health food and neither is Stevia, but the less processed a sweetener is the fewer ingredients it will have and that is always the better choice… in moderation of course. My newest preferred sweetener is pure maple syrup. Higher in fructose than glucose? Yes, but I only need a little bit whenever I use it so it doesn’t affect my tummy at all. Thank you for you comment & best of luck to you!

  6. Barb says:

    Hi there, my comments were nothing to do with you personally. I am a nutritionist and it is very sad when I read that you paid for advice from a dietician that is happy to add carcinogenic chemicals to your so called “happy list”. If this isn’t plain ignorance on your dieticians part, I would say it is grossly irresponsible.
    Do the research for yourself, there is plenty of information out there. I am very pleased you have found Stevia to your liking. A much wiser choice :D

  7. Ann says:

    I’ve been diagnosed with IBS for 30 yrs. I now believed I’m fructose intolerant . I no I’m lactose what a relief to think this could make a difference to my life. I just about live on bread and butter.

  8. Pat Erskine says:

    I am newly diagnosed with Lactose and Fructose intolerance and my head is spinning. I have not had my consultation with the dietician yet so will reserve making any decisions about your suggestions until I have done that. That being said, it is nice to know I can bounce things off you and others who have more experience with this disorder than I do. I know the next few months are going to be very challenging.


  9. Kirsty says:

    I am going to say this but this site is totally wrong u got a lot of fake sweetener in happy list and aspartame is bad for u actually. I, on nutrition plan that checks everything ingredient and agave sweetener is safe not avoid either wise if it was not safe then would be using

  10. Leslie says:

    Hi! Thank you so much for this list! My daughter has just been diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption and Lactose Intolerance. She already has Crohn’s disease so just as I figured out how to eat for that, this new diet was thrown at us. My head is spinning and quite frankly I feel like sitting down to cry! Your list at least gives me things to start with. I am concerned about how to cook for her and how to send snacks to school for her. Any suggestions would be awesome! Also, my Gastro. doctor told us that Aspartame was fine in small doses so I appreciate that you put it on the list. :)

  11. Alice says:

    I’ve always had stomach issues and recently it’s been getting worse. My boss told me to go get checked out for IBS as it’s started to affect my job (as a teacher I can’t really leave the classroom) …I thought I would check online and fructose malabsorbtion came up and it fits perfectly … I’ve never been able to eat grapes without awful bloating and recently to try and stop my Cocacola dependency I started drinking a lot more fruit juice and that’s when my issues started getting really bad!! so when I found out about fructose malabsorbtion lots of light bulbs started going off!! then reading this I noticd pork products were in your avoid list… I’ve never been able to eat pork products and thought it was just some weird family thing (my Dad can’t eat poultry) but maybe it all fits together!!
    Thank you so much for this very helpful list !!

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