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: https://happyandfructosefree.com/2013/05/10/what-ive-learned-in-my-first-year/

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

–> When You Can’t Control The Menu: https://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!!!)

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) I love pure maple syrup & brown sugar.

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*  

Test Your Individual Tolerance: 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*

Test Your Individual Tolerance: 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.

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) 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.

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) 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).

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) 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.

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) 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.

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) 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.

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) 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

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Watching the Ingredients is KEY) 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.

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) 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

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) 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)

Test Your Individual Tolerance: (Moderation is KEY!) Beer & Sweet wine.  I have had good luck with gluten free beer 👍


95 responses to “Formal Food List

  1. Sumi Allen says:

    I knew I had some kind of intolerance. In contrast to what the “experts” had been saying, I always knew that resistant starches and “healthier” things out there made me feel worse. I don’t know that my situation is entirely hereditary. My dad’s side of the family has had issues with type 2 diabetes, i struggle with PCOS…on the contrast my mom’s Korean side of the family happily enjoys hot peppers, fermented cabbage and loads of plant based foods – the preference unfortunately is fructose. I was born on a base in Japan where they eat clean food but invented high fructose corn syrup.

    I LOVE veggies. It’s going to be harder to avoid them than anything else, but I never could do kimchi.
    As a matter of fact, anytime I deal with “fermented’ or “resistant starches”- my belly bloats and my intestines get that watery sensation which is so uncomfortable.

    On the other hand, I am trying to cover my bases with vitamins – esp. iron and vitamin C. I supplement. Avoiding fructose and the other GIMMICKS has helped me feel better. I HATE going into health food stores. Everyone is like, “probiotics! Omega 3!” I got into a “debate” aka. FIGHT with a very arrogant hipster because I called Omega 3 a gimmick.

    Sugar alcohols taste so good but they make me sick to my stomach as well.

    Also, I just learned that fructose blocks calcium absorbtion. I actually supplement with calcium, it’s been really good to my skin. http://www.livescience.com/23039-fructose-effects-calcium-absorption-nsf-bts.html

    But anyways, learning what you CAN eat vs. what not to eat is a very big help and sorry about the novel. Thank you so much for sharing what you have.

  2. Kerry Butterworth says:

    Thank you for sharing I have a two year old who has been diagnosed as Lactose intolerant and they now suspect Fructose as well and he is also anaemic. The Doctor just told me to Google Fructose intolerance and cut those foods that are high out which is so hard being there is such a wide range of answers on what you can and can’t have

  3. Nancy L. says:

    Thank you for the list! My 14 y.o. son was just diagnosed with FM and LaI. It has been a nightmare of pain, vomiting, and nausea. He has missed so much school.

    My question is that we were told to avoid wheat because the fructans in wheat are molecules made of fructose. Do you not have a problem with wheat? Also, my son has been on a low FODMAP diet for about 2 weeks but is still in pain. Does anyone remember how long they had to eat FODMAP before seeing relief?

    • Hi Nancy! Low-FODMAP Diet is the best long term diet for us FM-ers but it works best after the body heals itself a bit. It took me a few years of gradual improvement before I found my food freedom, but after 5 years of knowing what my body can (and cannot) handle I’m happy to say I can now eat anything in small quantities.

      Quantity is the key. Most food will be fine in small doses and remeber everything is cumulative. To answer your question, I eat wheat all the time with no problem. Your son will get there too, but it’s a slow process with lots of trial and error. Don’t give up and it’s absolutely “up from here!”

      Best of luck on your food journey!

    • Kim says:

      My son was just diagnosed after 7 very sick months
      With fructose malabsorption
      They said limit if not eliminate gluten
      And also
      Eliminate all
      It’s positively
      Awful and so very difficult

      And he’s not better yet

  4. Kay says:

    How where do I go to find just fructose free ingredients

  5. Celine says:

    Got any ideas on what to bring to the beach as a snack or lunch?

  6. Lacroix says:

    Regarding the formal diet, you need to be on the exclusion diet for 8 weeks before attempting to reintroduce foods. This takes about one year to do properly. You will still experience unexplained flare ups. I would not suggest attempting the fodmap diet in the UK without speaking to a nutritionist first. You will need a go referral. There is so much contradictory information online.

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