Wheat, Barley, Rye, Onions and Garlic – Why They Trigger Symptoms of IBS

Wheat, Barley, Rye, Onions and Garlic – Why They Trigger Symptoms of IBS

Instead of resulting to pharma drugs, this elimination diet uses “food as medicine” to help people discover which foods may be triggering symptoms.  A group of sugars called FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and research suggests they contribute to IBS and FGID symptoms.  Learn more and read on!

Wheat FreeWheat, barley and rye as well as onions and garlic contain fructans which are part of the FODMAPs family.  Fructans are malabsorbed in the small intestine which means they aren’t digested properly and then ferment in the small intestine causing bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea.  Of all the FODMAPs, fructans are the greatest contributor to IBS as humans were not made to have the enzymes to break down fructans and GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides).

“What are FODMAPs?”

The low-FODMAP diet has been instrumental in helping relieve common symptoms of IBS and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.  FODMAPs stand for Fermentable, Oligo-saccarides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, lactose, excess fructose and polyols are found in natural and processed foods.

When FODMAPs are malabsorbed they can cause more water to be delivered through the bowel which can contribute to diarrhea in some people.  Sugars from FODMAPs make their way to the large intestine and are then fermented by bacteria, producing gases.  Gas can be produced in the small or large intestine, and which we all know so well, then comes symptoms of bloating, distention, abdominal pain and even back pain.  For some, this gas production can slow movement through the bowel and mean constipation.  Sometimes it can take days or weeks for these symptoms to ease up.  It wasn’t until I found the low-FODMAP diet that I began to notice a difference in how my body began to digest the right foods.  Keep in mind, everyone’s body chemistry, environment and stress level is different, so following the low-FODMAP diet is very individualized.

HONEY FODMAP LIFE“Which Foods Should I Avoid?”

Along with wheat, barley, rye, garlic and onions, honey, lactose, sugar alcohols, certain veggies, fruits and certain legumes are avoided.  The low-FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet, however you will see us mention gluten-free foods as most are wheat-free.  Not all gluten-free foods are free of FODMAPs so you’ll need to read all the labels of products (example: Udi’s White Sandwich Bread is low-FODMAP but Rudi’s Original sandwich bread has high FODMAPs like inulin and honey).

Take a look at this page to learn more about the foods to avoid and this page to see our grocery list of all the foods you can safely enjoy on the diet.  And finally visit this page to learn How to Start the Low-FODMAP Diet.

If you have already taken hydrogen breath tests and know you can either completely absorb fructose or lactose, you do not have to completely negate either from the diet, but can as an extra precaution during the first and second phase.

There’s a lot to learn, so you’ll want to follow us on social media as we share new content, tips, advice and recipes often.  Plus you’ll meet people who feel your pain and know what it’s like to have painful, uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing symptoms.  We are here for you!  Comment below with any questions.

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Welcome to FODMAP Life! ~ Colleen

 

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12 Facts and Tips for the Low Fodmap Diet

If you are new to the low-FODMAP diet or you just need a refresher, take a look at these 12 Facts and Tips for the Low Fodmap Diet to help you along in your journey!

1 Tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter on a rice cake makes a great snack!
1 Tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter on a rice cake makes a great snack!

1) The acronym FODMAPs stands for:

Fermentable, Oligosaccharides (Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), Disaccharides (Lactose), Monosaccharides (excess Fructose) and Polyols (Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

2) The low-FODMAP diet is not meant to be a forever thing – it’s meant to be an investigative tool:

  • 1st phase – follow this elimination period by strictly negating all FODMAPs for up to two months.
  • 2nd phase or re-introduction/challenge phase – detect personal triggers by reintroducing one FODMAP category at a time, one food at a time.

After the 2nd phase, FODMAPs that do not trigger symptoms can be a part of a regular diet, and some may still be limited but far better tolerated.  It is important for all to enjoy a varied diet in order to reap the benefits of various nutrients and minerals.

3) The low-FODMAP diet has been proven to help ease IBS symptoms by way of food as

Low-FODMAP fruits: kiwi, strawberries and ripe bananas
Low-FODMAP fruits: kiwi, strawberries and ripe bananas

medicine.  If a patient decides to take medications, they run the risk of side effects and might only cure some symptoms.  The low-FODMAP diet does not work for everyone, however, taking the natural route with food first may be the healthiest option for most IBS sufferers.

4) Fructans are seen as the most common FODMAP to cause symptoms of IBS and they are found in several different types of foods, both natural and processed.

5) The low-FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet but it does list gluten-free foods, as most are wheat-free.  And, just because something is free of gluten and wheat, does not mean it is free of FODMAPs!  Wheat is only a problem when consumed as a wheat-based carbohydrate food (like breads, cereals, pastas, crackers, cakes, cookies, pastries etc.).

6) Fructose malabsorption is defined as the incomplete absorption of fructose in the small intestine, followed by the delivery of fructose to the distal small bowel and colon, where it contributes to rapid fermentation and resultant abdominal bloating.  A hydrogen breath test can detect fructose malabsorption.

7) Firm, less-ripe fruit tends to contain more fructose.  In order to not overload the GI tract with

Rice noodles are a tasty alternative to wheat noodles
Rice noodles are a tasty alternative to wheat noodles

sugar, it is suggested to have one serving of fruit per meal.  Some fruits like avocados and cherries are OK on the low-FODMAP diet but also come with limitations.

8)  Properly reading food labels will help to ensure success with the low-FODMAP diet.  Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight with the highest amounts listed first.  FODMAPs can be an issue only when consumed regularly and in significant amounts.  If a high FODMAP food is listed on an ingredient list but present in small amounts (such as less than 5%) then there probably shouldn’t be an issue and would be “suitable” to consume.

9) If you love garlic or onions eating out can be hard but at home, you don’t have to suffer without the taste.  You can sauté onions or garlic for about two minutes -be sure to remove either or before you eat your dish.  Garlic-infused oil is a very easy way to add some garlic flavor and Asafoetida powder can be used as a replacement for onions or garlic.  Use it sparingly as it is very strong in smell and taste.

10) Adding too much fiber can aggravate IBS symptoms and sometimes a person may need to increase or decrease fiber intake for the best symptom management.  The low-FODMAP diet does exclude many high-fiber foods, however the following are low-FODMAP and can be a great daily natural boost of fiber: oat bran, rice bran, oatmeal, quinoa, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, 1/4 cup canned lentils or chickpeas (rinsed), baked potatoes, quinoa flakes or brown rice cereals (check labels).  Consider not having too much fiber at any one time and slowly increase as you aim to improve your digestive health.  A fiber intake of 25-30g per day is recommended for people with IBS.

Grilled Chicken Breasts
Choose lean meats when ever possible and stick to about 3 oz. servings (about the size of a deck of cards)

11) It is strongly advised to keep a food and drink journal while on the low-FODMAP diet.  This will help you to better understand your food triggers and work through the re-introduction phase with a Certified Nutritional Consultant or Registered Dietitian.

12) Fats and oils are generally low in FODMAPs, however, fatty foods can actually slow down and inhibit digestion and gut motility.  Choose leaner proteins like fish, chicken or turkey, stay away from heavy sauces, and limit oils or fats like butter and olive oil to one tablespoon.

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Sources:

Evidence-based Dietary Management of Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms: The FODMAP Approach Peter R Gibson, Susan J Shepherd/ J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010;25(2):252-258; The FODMAPs Approach — Minimize Consumption of Fermentable Carbs to Manage Functional Gut Disorder Symptoms  By Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN, Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 12 No. 8 P. 30