Saturday, August 17, 2013

What is hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI)?

What is hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI)?

We get asked this question a lot – so I though I would write a special post for you all…

HFI is an inherited (genetic) condition where a person is born unable to digest the sugar fructose.  Unlike fructose malabsorption, where symptoms occur because the cells of the bowel cannot absorb fructose; HFI is a deficiency and inability to produce the liver enzyme (fructose 1-aldolase, to be technical!) needed to breakdown fructose. Symptoms of HFI are only seen when the child eats fructose for the first time and if left untreated can cause severe health problems for the child.
How common is HFI?
About 1 in every 25,000 people are reported to have HFI
How common is Fructose malabsorption?
About 1 in 3 people have fructose malabsorption.
Treatment of HFI
Elimination of fructose, sucrose and sorbitol under the guidance of Paediatrician and dietitian.
This differs from fructose malabsorption, where small to moderate amounts of fructose can still be consumed without symptoms when balanced out with a higher proportion of glucose.
There are often lots of terms thrown around these days and some incorrectly used interchangeably. In this case, I hope this clarifies the difference between HFI and fructose malabsorption for you.
G xx

By Georgie Rist. Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), Accredited Nutritionist, and Sports Dietitian

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