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Why the banana is not optimal for sports: fructose intolerance

A banana in your jersey pocket, an extra portion of fruit in your breakfast bowl or a gel during your running session - anything but a rarity. This is despite the fact that fructose intolerance is a problem that occurs particularly frequently among athletes.
We have summarized for you here what you should pay attention to in order to get through your everyday training routine without any symptoms.

The big difference between fructose intolerance and fructose malabsorption

In contrast to fructose malabsorption, fructose intolerance is a serious metabolic disease that can be diagnosed after birth.
Fructose malabsorption, on the other hand, is a dose-dependent overload of the intestinal transport route. Unlike the metabolic pathway of lactose, fructose does not require an enzyme to break it down, but rather the fructose transporter Glut 5. This transport protein serves as a taxi for fructose to get into the bloodstream.
Due to a lack of absorption, the fructose passes from the small intestine into the large intestine without having done anything. Bacterial fermentation occurs there, which creates gases and can lead to symptoms such as flatulence or diarrhea.

Fructose intolerance among athletes

Many athletes are plagued by fructose intolerance, or more precisely fructose malabsorption, especially during high levels of stress, during training or competition.
Due to the increasing strain, the muscles require more blood than usual, which in turn leads to poorer blood circulation in the gastrointestinal tract and can further cause the symptoms already mentioned.
However, if you reduce the physical exertion again, the fructose is usually tolerated by the body again.


Fructose in sports nutrition?

Although fructose is a problem for many athletes, you will hardly find a product on the sports supplement market that does not contain fructose. Fructose is often used as a sweetener, especially in gels and bars. But how do these two factors fit together?
On the one hand, fructose is an excellent source of energy. But there are also many other properties that make this sweetener so interesting for producers. It is attractively priced, has a good consistency, is tasteless and odorless, is very water-soluble and has a 20% higher sweetening power than normal table sugar.

Banana or chocolate bar?

The choice between a banana and a chocolate bar should be a little easier in the future, because there really isn't a big difference. Although the banana is a natural product and contains trace elements and vitamins, it has also traveled an extremely long distance.
In addition, fructose has a completely different metabolic pathway than the glucose contained in the chocolate bar. Although this is insulin-independent and therefore does not cause peaks in insulin levels, it does reach the liver directly, where a complex remodeling mechanism takes place.
The metabolism of fructose in the liver has a negative impact on the entire metabolism. The complex remodeling mechanism puts a lot of strain on the liver. If you consider that fructose can be found in almost every processed food, you can quickly see the problem.

Our proposed solution

What can you do if you can no longer tolerate your usual sports diet and the problem can be traced back to fructose?
  • Carry out a self-test and avoid foods containing fructose in your diet. Is there an improvement?
  • The breathing gas test: See a doctor or therapist for this meaningful test variation
  • Have your fructose plasma levels checked
  • Low zinc, folic acid and tryptophan levels combined with high pancreatic elastase levels can also indicate fructose intolerance
  • Another option is to have your blood sugar level evaluated after consuming fructose
Basically, the treatment of fructose malabsorption is highly individual. In most cases, other problems such as lactose intolerance, dysbiosis and other inflammatory reactions can occur. We advise you to work with a therapist or doctor to find a form of therapy that is tailored to you.

Can you also find fructose in the OMNi-POWER® CARBOTONIC sports drink?

After all the negative information about fructose, you're probably reading a no at this point.
Yes, you can also find the popular sweetener in our CARBOTONIC. OMNi-POWER® didn't want to do without the excellent energy supply of fructose. However, the composition makes the big difference here. The OMNi-POWER® CARBOTONIC sports drink contains isomaltolose, which is a combination of glucose and fructose. The fructose was packaged in such a way that the body can absorb it without any problems even under high stress levels. Our athletes, who have already put CARBOTONIC through its paces, can certainly agree with us.

Convince yourself of our OMNi-POWER® CARBOTONIC sports drink!

Our experts

about the author

Julia Skala in Magenta OMNi-BiOTiC Power Team Anzug läuft Triathlon

Julia skala

Professional triathlete
Content Creator OMNi-POWER®