Sorbitol intolerance treatment

Sorbitol intolerance is not curable, and the route to symptom alleviation lies in avoiding sorbitol-containing foods.

Elimination phase

After diagnosis, the patient should avoid sorbitol-containing foods as much as possible for about two weeks. Under such a strict diet the symptoms usually improve very quickly.

Test phase

Once the symptoms have completely subsided, the patient can gradually incorporate sorbitol-containing foods into their diet. At first, only small doses should be consumed and then slowly increased to test the personal tolerance threshold.

Some argue that avoiding dietary sorbitol for longer periods of time could lead to the body no longer forming the necessary transport enzyme, and thus the symptoms would continue to increase. However, these warnings lack a scientific basis. With that being said, it is important to eat a well-rounded diet in spite of the absence of sorbitol and to not completely remove fruit from the diet. There is no reason to avoid other fruit varieties just because stone fruits are sorbitol-rich.

For patients who also suffer from hereditary fructose intolerance, sorbitol must also be avoided.

Sorbitol-containing foods include:

  • Stone fruits, such as cherries, plums, apricots and peaches
  • Other fruits, such as pears and apples
  • Dried fruits (in dried fruits, the sorbitol content per 100 grams of fruit is much higher than in fresh fruit)
  • Many diet and low-calorie products
  • Most chewing gums (including those that use other sweeteners such as xylitol; pure xylitol chewing gums are available in our shop).
  • Many lozenges and sweets advertised as "sugar-free." Frusano offers alternative products such as sorbitol-free peppermint sweets and sorbitol-free blackberry sweets.
  • Many bread varieties, particularly ready-made bread from the supermarket, for which sorbitol is often called "E-420" in the ingredient list.
  • Sorbitol does not have to be declared for items purchased from bakeries, so be sure to confirm with your local baker whether they use the sweetener in their products. 

The use of sorbitol-containing toothpaste is usually harmless since the toothpaste is not swallowed. The amount of sorbitol absorbed by the oral mucosa is, in addition, very small, and does not enter the colon.

The good news: all Frusano products are sorbitol-free!

Further reading:

What is sorbitol intolerance?

Symptoms of sorbitol intolerance

Diagnosing sorbitol intolerance