(NaturalNews) Here's a common scenario: a young child or even a teenager complains of a tummy ache. But he or she has no fever or few other symptoms. So the doctor says there's nothing wrong with the youngster, other than maybe a little gas. So the little kid or adolescent is suspected of faking a stomach problem to stay out of school. However, a new study just unveiled at the American College of Gastroenterology's (ACG) 75th Annual Scientific meeting held recently in San Antonio, Texas, may have a simple explanation for all those mysterious tummy aches many children swear they have. The culprit? Intolerance to fructose.
Unfortunately, the typical American diet contains processed foods and soft drinks that are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, so countless kids are exposed daily to the stuff. And it turns out fructose intolerance, also called fructose malabsorption, is common in children of all ages with recurrent or functional abdominal pain.
Researchers Daniel Lustig, M.D. and Bisher Abdullah, M.D., pediatric gastroenterologists with the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center in Tacoma, Washington, investigated a total of 245 children between the ages of 2 and 18 with unexplained chronic abdominal pain alone or associated with constipation, gas or bloating and/or diarrhea. A breath hydrogen test (BHT), which is a marker for fructose intolerance, was performed in all patients in the study. If a patient's breath hydrogen exceeds 20 points above baseline, then the patient is likely fructose intolerant. And the BHT was found to be positive in 132 of 245 patients – a whopping 54 percent.
All of the 132 patients with a positive BHT for fructose were placed on a low fructose diet and close to 70 percent had a resolution of their stomach pain when they stayed away from fructose.
"With the widespread use of high fructose corn syrup, it is difficult to avoid, so the challenge is finding those foods with low fructose and still maintain a healthy nutritional balance that patients will adhere to, especially teenagers," Dr. Lustig said in a press statement. "But the good news is that over half of patients who are fructose intolerant and are able to maintain a low fructose diet will notice an immediate improvement in their symptoms."