If you suffer from sorbitol intolerance, you will have to eliminate some foods such as certain fruits, processed products, and chewing gum from your diet. We tell you more about it to answer your questions.
Have you felt gastrointestinal discomfort, gas, or diarrhea after eating some fruits, light products, or chewing gum? You may have an intolerance to sorbitol. Read on to learn how to follow a low sorbitol diet.
What is sorbitol?
Sorbitol is an alcohol sugar that is found naturally in red algae and in the leaves and fruits of plants in the Rosaceae family such as:
- Peaches or apricots
The extensive use of it is the food industry as a sweetener, thickener, and humectant, being able to sweeten while providing few calories.
What is sorbitol intolerance?
Sorbitol intolerance is caused by a lack of a specific intestinal transporter. However, even in people without this deficit, a healthy person can only absorb a limited amount of this sugar, approximately 20-25 grams, so if it exceeds this range, it can also produce symptoms.
There are two types of sorbitol intolerance:
Primary intolerance: The cause of it is by a deficit of the sorbitol transporter enzyme, GLUT5. And also, it is believed that there is a genetic factor, and therefore it is developing throughout life.
Secondary intolerance: There is no genetic influence but occurs as a consequence of intestinal disease (gastroenteritis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, etc.) that damages the brush border of the intestinal mucosa temporarily or permanently.
Patients affected by this condition can present different symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The most frequent include:
- Abdominal pain or colic
- Bloating or bulging
- Diarrhea with abundant gas.
What foods have sorbitol?
If you are intolerant to sorbitol, you will have to follow a diet low in foods that contain sorbitol. The foods with the highest sorbitol content are:
- Naturally (from highest to lowest quantity)
- Fresh fruits: pear, plum, peach, apricot, apple, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries.
- Canned fruits: apple juice, canned strawberries, redcurrant nectar, elderberry juice, blackcurrant nectar, and canned raspberries.
- Dried fruits: prunes, peach apricots, apricot apricots, dried apple, dried dates, and raisins.
We can find it both in food products and in cosmetic or pharmaceutical products as an additive. In addition, sorbitol as an additive may appear as “Sorbitol” (E420i) or “Sorbitol Syrup” (E420ii).
In food products, it is present in jellies, jams, pastries, and pastries, frozen products, chewing gum, light products, or “sugar-free” products. Also, be careful with light products since abuse could trigger this type of intolerance.
In cosmetic products, it is present in toothpaste since it gives greater plasticity, sweet taste, and better solubility. And also, for a pharmaceutical application, we can find them in topical creams and syrups.
How Can Sorbitol Intolerance be Diagnosed?
Currently, the Exhaled Hydrogen Test can be considered as the best test for diagnosis. The organism’s inability to absorb sorbitol causes it to be fermented by bacteria in the colon, producing a large amount of free hydrogen. In addition, this hydrogen is what is measured through the expired air.
The patient should be starving for at least 8 hours. In the last 24 hours, you should follow a diet without residues (not fruit, vegetables or legumes), since they slow down intestinal transit. And also it is essential to avoid taking laxatives or antibiotics in the previous days.
If the test result is positive, the degree that exists and the symptoms that appear evaluate to determine the diet.
Nutritional recommendations for Sorbitol Intolerance
If you assume that you have an intolerance, the first thing is to get tested and not modify the diet on your own. And also, always check the nutritional labeling of food to make sure it does not contain sorbitol.
If you suffer from severe intolerance to sorbitol, before using cosmetic products or taking any medicine, ask the specialist about its composition.
- Limit those fruits that contain higher sorbitol content.
- Be careful if you regularly consume light products and chewing gums that contain sorbitol.
Worrying about having this intolerance? If you’ve experienced its symptoms, see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. If so, make sure you have these diet recommendations.
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