Monday, December 27, 2010

Fructose Malabsorption?

Glancing back through previous posts, I'm always amazed how quickly time passes - though it seems like the last three months have been the longest I've experienced in a while.

My 12-year-old got sick the last week in September, stomach/intestinal problems mostly, but unusual and ongoing enough that we sought medical care right away, followed by some significant testing. It took nine weeks, but finally a diagnosis was reached of "fructose malabsorption."

It appears that for the past two years, while we've been treating her as if she's had acid reflux, truly she was working up to what will go down in history (for me at least) as an exercise in over-parenting. :-)  Of course, I'm really kidding, but it does kind of feel like that. At the onset of sickness we (myself and the doctor) were concerned with dehydration (she was losing fluids at a fast rate) and so we treated her with the obvious regimen: gatorade, popsicles, fruit juices. This, along with a BRAT diet. Nothing seemed to work and she just got worse. After many blood tests, x-rays, a gallbladder refraction, endoscopy and colonoscopy, we finally did the FM test - thankfully a diagnosis! But not before I had spent nine weeks filling her with every sugar I could! I feel so badly now, though I know it couldn't be helped. I had never heard of FM and was actually operating on the doctor's advice. I am, though, very excited that this diagnosis only means a dietary change.

Unfortunately, the dietary changes means just 1-2 servings of sugar (or any derivation thereof) a day. While that doesn't sound dramatic, it actually is. There is sugar in everything, in some form or other. Specifically, if you don't see sugar in the list of ingredients, look for sorbitol, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), xinnitol, etc. It's going to take a while for us to work out the specifics of this diet, but right now we're on a basic meat and potato regimen, with some extras. Luckily my other daughter works at an organic food store and she has great information for us! We've had a couple of slip-ups (including the sugar-free gum someone gave her that's main ingredient was sorbitol - that made her sick for 2-1/2 days), but her attitude and health are so much better, I'm feeling very optimistic.

So for my Christmas post, while it seems an unlikely one, I want to encourage you all to start reading the list of ingredients on everything you eat. If you don't recognize an ingredient, look it up! There's a reason the great country of America is becoming more and more obese at an alarming rate, and it's right there in black and white on your box of cereal or your loaf of bread or your potato chip bag: SUGAR, people, it's in there. Check it out and take a stand; it's time for us all to get healthy and get back to basics. Just say NO to HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)! :-)