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Yes, a question because I don't know much about it. But on this blog I have talked before about being depressed after eating too many carbohydrates for too many days in a row and how much better I felt after going on the Leptin Reset. Now after reading the article I'm about to share with you, I'm wondering if it's actually fructose, not carbohydrates.
Before I get started though, let's see what Dr. Natasha says about fructose malabsorption.
37. Does the GAPS diet heal fructose malabsorption, or would the GAPS diet need to be modified?
This condition is part of GAP Syndrome as well as lactose intolerance and most-sugars-intolerance. Why? Because in people with abnormal gut flora enterocytes (the cells which line the gut) are damaged and unable to fulfil their main function: digestion of sugars. The fructose malabsorption became prominent since high-fructose corn syrup came on the market: this is a processed sweetener which is extremely harmful to health. But as it is cheap to produce and very profitable for the manufacturers many processed foods and drinks are sweetened with it nowadays. GAPS diet removes double sugars and there is no need to modify it. If you have been specifically diagnosed with fructose malabsorption, you may want to avoid fruit and honey initially. As you go through the GAPS Introduction Diet, your enterocytes will start recovering and you will be able to re-introduce honey and fruit.
So this is encouraging. Maybe I will try another round of introduction at some point in time and avoid fruit and honey for a few months, and re-introduce.
A few years before I started GAPS I avoided eating fruit because it affected me negatively. I could feel my blood sugar drop and I would feel nervous, shaky and short tempered. Noise of any kind bothered me and living in a household with three loud males – that was a problem. I found it was best to avoid fruit. Besides it's expensive and more calories that I don't need, I thought.
After being on GAPS for awhile, I don't remember how long, my blood sugar regulated nicely and I found that I could eat fruit without any side effects. Whoohoo! How awesome to be able to eat a handful of grapes, a large piece of watermelon, a banana, apple, pineapple even on an empty stomach and no side effects.
So I thought. Because then time and again I noticed if I had fruit for several days in a row, there was a cumulative effect. I wouldn't really notice what was happening until I was sliding into a pit of depression. I would think “Why is GAPS not working for me, I'm depressed again?!” I wrote about it several times, and I always think I will learn my lesson THIS TIME.
But then I conveniently forget, because fruit is legal on GAPS, after all. I guess I forget. I just slide back into having fruit again.
I have adapted pretty well to sticking to the full GAPS list of foods. So when I have to give up one more thing, I find myself rebelling. I have already given up a lot to stay on full GAPS. Most of the time it's no big deal. I totally love not having to eat every 2-3 hours. I love that so much, it is definitely worth it. I spent several years having to be concerned about food almost every waking moment, it seemed, and then during the night as well. I never have liked eating fast food and I succumbed at times, but for the most part I brought a food bag with me so that I would never be without food. Now I can eat my big protein breakfast and I can easily go without lunch and not eat for 12 or 16 hours and I'm perfectly okay. I might have some hunger pangs about midway through that stretch of time, but they quickly fade away. Trying to do that five years ago I would have been a total mess.
About a week ago one of my Facebook friends messaged me with a comment and link to this post by Paleo blogger Peggy from Primal Parent: IBS, Depression, and Skin Problems in Fructose Malabsorption. My friend said, “I understand what you mean about Fructose issues now” and she went on to tie in with the genetic mutation MTHFR, “[The] Article says fructose either causes IBS or contributes after damage to gut. I always figured fruit was healthy and never understood WHY is was bad. Since fructose has to be converted to glucose in the body (by the LIVER) this makes it tough on people with liver challenges like MTHFR who are already deficient in glutathionine. I read the human body can only handle / convert so much and some people can't convert very much.”
With my two copies of C677T, the most challenging version of the mutation, this fructose malabsorption could well be another piece of my health puzzle.
Here are the symptoms for fructose malabsorption:
- Itching and rashes
- Depression and low serum tryptophan concentrations
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Colic in babies
As I read one part of the Peggy's post, I thought to myself I could have written it – just insert GAPS for the word Paleo: “I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog that, while going Paleo initially helped with many of my symptoms, it wasn’t the cure all that I had hoped for.” Peggy goes on to mention her issues which were bloating, skin issues and depression.
I have no IBS issues, and while I don't really feel like I'm bloated, although my stomach does appear to protrude when I look down at my body (my reflection straight on in the mirror does not seem to reflect the same degree of protrusion), and I do not have skin problems, I do battle with occasional depression and it sucks.
This journey is so confusing at times. I have so many areas that I need to address, but money is an issue. I cannot afford all organic everything, and grass fed only meats. I can't afford soy-free feed for my chickens but at least I have “free range” eggs. We live in the desert and haul our own water so I can't put them out on pasture. I need to have 11 amalgams removed. Maybe I need hormone replacement therapy. I have the reverse T3 problem (thyroid). I won't go back to the naturopathic doctor which I saw in January but have found one I would like to try, but it costs over $300 for the first visit. I should order the tests myself but there again, the funds are not available. I could go further into debt but before too long I will not be able to afford to make the minimums so that is not an attractive option for me at this point.
Giving up so many more foods seems too difficult. And yet, if I have fructose malabsorption I could be damaging my gut. Here are the foods containing fructose which Peggy lists:
- Fruit juice
- Dried fruit
- Fruit concentrates
- Whole corn
- Tomato paste
- Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup
- Wine – dry wines might be ok in moderation
Peggy also says to avoid fructans:
- Coconut milk and meat
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Green beans
- Carrots – tolerance varies
- Chicory root
This past week I have had the following of the foods listed above:
- Dates (apparently these are considered “Dried Fruit” according to Wikipedia)
- Fruit Concentrates (Homemade Blackberry Jam)
- Mango (freeze dried)
- Coconut milk
Remember the good news about GAPS though. We can heal and seal our gut lining and maybe I will only have to avoid these foods for a few months.
Peggy also referenced this article at Psychology Today by Dr. Emily Deans: Could Soda and Sugar Be Causing Your Depression? and this article discusses low levels of zinc. A friend of mine has urged me to test for zinc and even sent me the name of the test that I should have done (but I cannot find it in my inbox).
So many things to try to figure out when my m.o. is stick my head in the sand. But eliminating fruits that contain fructose is not too difficult.
So that's where I'm at today.