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Does Glucose Help Fructose Absorption?

For those of you who thought consuming glucose with fructose or fructan containing foods would help with absorption, this has now been shown to make symptoms worse, not better!

Monash University has just shared the results to the participants of their latest trial – to determine if the consumption of glucose can assist fructose absorption to eliminate symptoms of IBS.

Here are the study conclusions:


The addition of glucose to fructose did improve the absorption of fructose. However, symptoms still occurred.

This may be because fructose is able to exert effects on the small intestine prior to its absorption. This is because it is still has the ability to have an ‘osmotic’ action, meaning that it will drag water into the small intestine. This extra water can be a cause of symptoms such as abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating and nausea.

Therefore even if the glucose is able to improve the absorption the ‘damage is already done’ in that the fructose is still able to cause symptoms before being absorbed.

The results from this study indicate that the addition of glucose may in fact make symptoms even worse. This study therefore does not support or encourage the use of additional glucose to improve fructose absorption.


The addition of glucose to fructans did not reduce breath hydrogen, nor did it reduce symptoms. Again, symptom appeared to be even worse with the addition of glucose. Therefore the study does not support the addition of glucose to fructans either.

In summary, these study results do not support the addition of glucose to foods high in fructose or high in fructans as it does not appear to reduce symptoms associated with consumption of these sugars.

Study Information

It’s very easy to think that these results are definitive and apply to everyone. But that’s not how studies work. This study provides some great insights into this ‘method’ promoted by health professionals (and others) as a way to help manage symptoms, but we need to note a couple of things first:

1. There was 26 participants in the study (small scale)

2. No participants had Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) as far as the researchers knew

So, this means that while the results were very clear that it didn’t help these 26 people, it may work for some. If it helps you reduce your symptoms, that’s great. But if it doesn’t – then don’t use this trick. It may just explain why it’s not working for you!

Larina x

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