Happy & Fructose Free

Spreading Hope for Anyone Affected by Fructose Malabsorption

Food List from a Real Person (My List)

Hello to everyone who is curious about living while watching your fructose!

For anyone just starting this journey, please consult a Registered Dietitian and the Formal Food List for the most official list of “Fructose Malabsorber Approved Foods.”  However, in my two years of living with this digestive disorder I have learned that my Happy Food List is a lot bigger than the formal food list, and it is about time I shared my newly revised food rules.

Before I share all my secrets to greater flexibility with this digestive disorder, I must reiterate my standard mantra…

My tummy is different from yours, so it is up to you to find your own limitations for a happy and balanced life with Fructose Malabsorption.

~ There Are No Shortcuts ~ But I am happy to share in your journey!  Email me anytime at HappyAndFructoseFree@gmail.com

Lots and LOTS of trial and error await you.  I test my limits often; almost every day.  Yes… I get sick more than I should, but I can eat a lot more freely now then I ever imagined I could with this disorder.  So snag some dextrose-based candies & plan your schedule accordingly (don’t try something crazy when you have something important to do the next day), there are tummy aches and bloated nights ahead.  But it is totally worth it.

The Reward?  FLEXIBILITY & FOOD FREEDOM!!!  True Happiness 🙂

My “Bowl” of Fructose:

I look at my food choices with a “bowl” image in mind.  Each person has a set number of fructose enzymes in their “bowl” per meal, per day, and per week.  If you splurge on something higher in fructose, that food choice takes more out of your bowl & it will affect how your body reacts to food choices for that meal, that day, and even part of the week.

Your fructose “bowl” is constantly refilling itself, but it is important not to eat over what your body can handle (what is in your “bowl”) or you will get sick.  End of story.

So how can you apply this?  What does this look like in real life?  Here we go!

~ The Fructose Tallies for my “Bowl” are COMPLETELY MADE UP to Illustrate my Concept ~

Please use this page as a source for ideas from a real person living with this disorder.  I want you to gain the confidence to live, eat, and try new things, but moderation is key.  ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  You know best!

Let’s Talk Examples First…

Stuff I Eat that Maxes Out My Fructose Allotment “Bowl” for that Meal and/or Day:

1.)   Half a Banana, 1/2 Cup Oatmeal, 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds & 1/4 Cup Sweetened Vanilla Almond Milk  ~> Fructose Tally: Banana (High), Insoluble Fiber (Medium) & Sweet Almond Milk (Low) 

2.)   Toasted Slices of Udi’s Gluten Free White Bread, 2 Tbsp Skippy Natural Peanut Butter Super Chunky ~> Fructose Tally: Bread (Low), Peanut Butter (High)

3.)   Subway Sandwich 6″ Turkey on White/Italian Bread with Avocado, Spinach, Cucumber, Green Pepper, Vinegar, Oregano, Salt & Pepper with Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips ~> Fructose Tally: Wheat Bread (High), Cucumber & Green Pepper (High), Avocado & Spinach (Low), & Chips From Fat Content (Medium)  Note:  Many restaurants have full ingredients lists online (chains) or on location (local).  Always check for your “absolutely avoid ingredients” and if you can’t be sure it is best to steer clear or plan accordingly.

4.)   Vegetarian Curry with Cauliflower, Bell Peppers, Potatoes, Chick Peas/Garbanzo Beans, Sour Cream, Reduced Sodium Cream of Mushroom Soup, Homemade Curry Powder Mix with Steamed White Rice ~> Fructose Tally: Cauliflower & Peppers (High), Chick Peas (High), Homemade Curry Powder Mix (High *Don’t even attempt it if you didn’t make it.  SUPER DANGEROUS)  Note:  This Meal Maxes out my Full “Bowl” for that day, but if I am careful with my other food choices I CAN EAT IT without getting sick.  

5.)   Chicken Noodle Soup with Veggies & Saltine Crackers ~> Fructose Tally:  Veggies (Medium-Low), Soup Base Seasonings (Medium-Low), & Wheat Crackers (High)

6.)   Homemade Chili with Chicken Broth Base, Tomato Paste, Potatoes, Ground Chicken, Turkey Lil’ Smokies, Black Beans, Chili Powder, Cumin, Celery, Scallions ~> Fructose Tally: Tomato Paste (High, but very grateful to have it), Lil’ Smokies Seasonings (Low), Beans (High), Chili Powder (High), Cumin (High), Scallions (Medium-Low)  Note:  This ones maxes out my “Bowl” of fructose enzymes for the day also.  But it is soooo worth it!  YUM!

7.)   Pizza Hut Thin Crust Pizza, No Sauce, Mushrooms & Black Olives or Green Peppers  ~> Fructose Tally:  Wheat Crust (High), Cheese (High for Lactose), Mushrooms & Black Olives (Low), Green Peppers (High)  Note:  If I have enough in my “bowl” for the day, I will have pizza.  I pick my toppings based on HOW good I was (or will be) the rest of the day.  

So… I make mental notes of the foods I eat that have High Fructose Tallies or Low Fructose Tallies and adjust my other food choices around my previous choices.  If I push my limits too far too close together then I get bloated.

I am grateful every day that my digestive disorder is not life threatening and I know it can get tremendously worse.  I am truly grateful.


Since fructose is absolutely everywhere, I cannot say there are many completely “Safe” meals, but as long as you keep testing your tolerance and track your personal fructose tally “Bowl” then you are on track to eating without fear.  It takes time to gather this info for yourself, but it is worth it when you can confidently walk into a restaurant and know your “Absolutely Avoid” foods and consider everything else fair game to test your tolerance.  Bring on the amazing food!


Now I will attempt to list MY PERSONAL FOOD LIST.  Best of luck in creating your own 🙂



~ Sweet Stuff ~

Happy List (Items I have personally eaten with success frequently):  Corn syrup (Not High Fructose!), Dextrin, Dextrose/Glucose, Lactose, Maltodextrin, 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

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


16 responses to “Food List from a Real Person (My List)

  1. Karen says:

    Hello, I like your site. Thanks for sharing your experiences with foods. I have discovered that it’s through others that I learn the most, as so many of the published “lists” of foods are so contradictory. One says tomatoes is on the naughty list, and another says they are fine. Well, they aren’t fine for me. Something that I read was that L-Glutamine helps to heal the lining of our small intestine, allowing for the production of glut 5, the amino acid/protein needed for us to digest fructose. I’ve been taking it daily for the past week, and must admit, that I’ve noticed a bit of an improvement. Don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but it’s certainly worth a try if you haven’t tried it already. Anyway, keep up the good work, and keep sharing. It’s great to have a human resource for info, so thanks!

  2. Wanda says:

    At last, some “real life” happy and not so happy foods! Yes, I agree, lists are constantly contradictory. The L-Glutamine is worth a try. Would you possibly posts updates so we know how it’s going? I was told by my doctor to eat dark chocolate, (at least 70% cocoa) as the glucose in it balances the high fructose food. I find this works really, really well, but it’s all relative to what has been eaten. I carry small squares of the Lindt 70% with me as commercial and restaurant food almost always is cooked with or near onion. The chocolate immediately changes my symptoms and I rarely now have severe abdominal pain with my “episodes”.

    • Carolyn says:

      You might also try proper jelly beans from the pharmacy. They are full of glucose which assists with fructose absorption. They work for me. Also consider that foods with equal parts of glucose and fructose may be ok. for you. A great website for viewing food analysis is Nutritiondata.com. You can access a complete breakdown quickly. look under carbohydrates for the sugar breakdown. Hope this helps readers.

  3. Nancy says:

    Thank you ladies! my daughter who is 15 just got diagnosed with this intolerance and we are now starting the process of figuring out what she can and can´t eat…your posts have been very helpful! Can you let me know what you do if you do get severe abdominal pain? I look forward to any advice you can share. Thank you!

    • sandy says:

      Nancy, how is your daughter doing? We have been on this path for just about 3 weeks with my 15 year old son.

      • Joelene says:

        my 15 year old daughter was just diagnosed yesterday! We are so glad we found Lindsey’s blog. We went to the store last night with some of her recommendations and although overwhelmed, feel like we can maybe figure how to actually live without feeling so helpless.

  4. Nadia says:

    This list and your site has helped me so much. I’m so grateful that you’ve documented your journey here. Thank you!

  5. Sandy says:

    15 year old son just diagnosed. My head is literally spinning with all of this since he has been very ill for more than a year. So since sucrose if cane sugar does than mean a small amount would be ok for most people. I would like to give it a try but do not want to harm him further. He has a powdered probiotic that he has trouble getting down. It would be great to be able to make something to mix it into to help with this.

    • Susan says:

      The fifteen year olds listed here should be told how lucky they are to solve many of their problems early in life. Hopefully they will be able to manage the diet in this world. Thank you for this site which provides support for a condition that goes largely undiagnosed.

      • sandy says:

        Susan, from what I have learned in the past few weeks, it seems that we are very fortunate since some people have suffered for many, many years. It was not without a fight that we came to the diagnosis. If I hadn’t jumped up & down & talked to drs well through our alloted time in their office it would likely never had happened since I originally asked for this test back in October & only just had it in May. To all of those out there suffering, do not give up. Answers are out there, you just have to keep asking questions & telling the whole story over & over again.

      • Kristen says:

        My 8 year old daughter was diagnosed in August. We are very fortunate. We are still trying to figure things out. Currently she is having a terrible time. It is hard being young with this plus other GI issues. When you have over eaten fructose or something you didn’t realize would cause problems what do you do to help relieve the pain/bloating/discomfort? We are going back to the elimination diet for a few weeks to get things calmed down and start over again. When she was younger she was always complaining that she had elephants on the belly.

      • Elephants on her belly! A great explanation, and I’m very glad she got diagnosed so now everyone in your family can move forward.

        When I overindulge (and I test my limits often) I reach for a roll or two of smarties candy, I take a good probiotic (the refrigerated kind) and try and eat low fructose foods the next day or until I feel less bloated.

        If you have questions about specific foods or ingredients certainly send me an email at happyandfructosefree@gmail.com

        Best of luck to your family on your food journey!

  6. Nancy says:

    Thanks for asking! We went to see a Nutritionist and this has really helped as she told my daughter that she could start expanding the limited list of what she could eat. She is now eating tomatoes, and other things that were initially in the “NO” List. She is also limiting her intake of wheat and this has also helped. It has been quite a journey but with time we are all use to it now, and more importantly, Alessandra now knows what she can and can´t eat. If you can make an appointment with a Nutritionist, I would highly recommend this as a next step for you.

    • Molly says:

      Interesting that a lot of kids are being diagnosed at 15. I was diagnosed at age 17 but my symptoms started around 15. In all that time (I am now 20) I have gotten better but am not sure what I can and can’t eat. tomatoes seem okay, onions are killer. half a banana, a couple berries here and there (except when I eat 6 oz in one sitting.. oops.) some brown sugar in extreme moderation, and some days when I eat what I’ve thought to be perfectly okay I’m still doubled over in the bathroom for an hour. I have no other allergies (except kiwi) and lactose doesn’t bother me, so I have completely fallen in the meat-dairy-carb trap. As a college student with a job it’s so hard to cook my own more natural meals and it honestly drives me insane all the time. I have anxiety-caused intestinal issues too so sometimes it is hard to tell what caused what… and I don’t limit my wheat intake at all, but most times it doesn’t seem to cause that much of a problem. *shrug* This intolerance ruined my high school cross country career, caused more embarrassing moments than I care to admit, and has taken my relatively healthy and fruit heavy diet and turned it into eggs, dairy, meat and nuts. I wish it was further studied and better known!!!

  7. chloeht says:

    Wow! This is amazing! I have exactly the same as you and im starting my antibiotics for sibo after New Years (as I won’t be able to drink!). What antibiotics did you go on for SIBO? I’m staring my fructose elimation diet in 2 weeks too, I’ll be using this blog to help me!
    Chloe X

  8. sandy ikerd says:

    My son started having issues st 14 and was diagnosed at 15. Prior to the onset of his symptoms he was on medication for cystic acne. He took antibiotics & Accutane. We are pretty sure one or both contributed to his gi issues.

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