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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/21/2008 2:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I was wondering if anyone here knew what it is in onions that makes some people react so violently to them—are there any "cousins" of the onion (shallots, leeks, etc.) that you can tolerate? Do you know if onion powder is free of whatever it is, or if something sauteed with onions (to give it flavor) would produce the same effect, even if a person didn't eat the onions themselves?

And, those of you with onion sensitivities, do you have the same sort of problems with garlic?

Edit: In case this seems off-topic, it's because my husband has Crohn's and onions and garlic are just one more thing that he can't seem to tolerate. I want to know why to see how far I can go with them to get the flavor without the horrible "side effects." Thanks.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 8/21/2008 2:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Well like most things on the menu of life, it seems to vary from one patient to the next. Some people with Crohns can tolerate something well while the next patient reacts almost violently. As has been so often noted here, it's really trial and error -- and even then you may have to try something several times as a test, since lots of us also have flares for reasons that are not related to what we ate last. Just a suggestion, but you might try onion juice for flavoring, since that would clearly eliminate any consideration that his reaction could be to the bulk, texture or physical digestability.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/21/2008 3:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Interesting. I had just assumed it was something like an enzyme in the onion, but if one of the things you mentioned is the problem, then perhaps we can experiment with juice or powder. Thanks.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 79
   Posted 10/16/2008 2:23 AM (GMT -7)   
has he been tested for fructose malabsorption? onions and foods part of the onion family aren't tolerated in people with this condition?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 10/16/2008 11:43 AM (GMT -7)   
The sugars and fiber in onions can cause problems for some people. Using the juice of the onion will avoid the fiber, but sugars will still be present. That may be present in small enough amounts that it will not be a problem. You can only try it to find out.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 456
   Posted 10/16/2008 2:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Garlic and onion both have a lot of sulphur in them, which can cause room-clearing gas.  Onion gives me problems, but onion powder seems to work OK.  I don't use it that often.  I don't notice a problem with garlic.

Elite Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 10/16/2008 3:49 PM (GMT -7)   
... And if it's the flavour of the onion that bothers him, he might find that smaller onions have a less overpowering flavour than large ones.

Me, I tend to stick with leeks and shallots and only use smaller "real" onions when my symptoms seem a bit more stable. Even then I only use half the amount called for in recipes.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

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