How Can Wheat Bread Be Low FODMAP? Your Burning Questions Answered!

Posted on December 07, 2017

Is the Low FODMAP Diet Gluten Free, and How Can Wheat Bread be Low FODMAP?

We’re glad you asked!

If you’re a FODMAPper living in Australia, you might be a tad confused as to how the FODMAP Friendly Certified Bakers Delight High Protein Lo-Fo Loaf can be low FODMAP when it contains wheat.

We all know that wheat is off the menu for us, isn’t it? Well, contrary to popular belief, the low FODMAP diet is not gluten free, nor is it even wheat free.

To clear the confusion, FODMAP expert dietitian Joanna Baker APD digests the different between gluten & wheat, and how wheat bread can in fact be low FODMAP

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a family of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. Coeliac disease is an auto-immune condition where the body acts abnormally in response to exposure to gluten, damaging the lining of the small bowel. This damage affects the ability to absorb nutrients and commonly results in abdominal symptoms (e.g. diarrhoea, cramping or nausea), iron deficiency, osteoporosis, fertility problems and even lymphoma. At this time the only treatment for coeliac disease is a strict gluten free diet for life, including care with cross contamination.


What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Di-saccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols) are a collection of short chain carbohydrate molecules found in certain foods, including wheat, barley, rye, milk, sweeteners, legumes and certain fruits and vegetables. FODMAPs include fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), fructose (when in excess of glucose), lactose and polyols (eg. sorbitol and mannitol).

A diet low in FODMAPs (“a Low FODMAP Diet”) is scientifically proven1, and is now recommended internationally, as the most effective dietary therapy to manage symtpoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms include excessive wind (flatus), bloating and distention, abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea or constipation or a combination or the two).

How do FODMAPs trigger symptoms of IBS?

When consumed in foods or drinks, FODMAPs can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and pass through to the large intestine, where two major events happen:

  1. Since FODMAPs are highly osmotic, as they move along the digestive tract they draw water into the bowel. This can alter how fast the bowel moves and cause diarrhoea.
  2. When FODMAPs reach the large bowel are readily fermented by the healthy bacteria that live there, contributing to the production of gas.

Its important to note that, although FODMAPs cause nasty symptoms, they do not lead to physical damage and the bowel remains healthy.  When following a low FODMAP diet to main goal is to keep symptoms well managed by eating small enough portions of FODMAP containing foods to stay under your “symptom threshold”. A lot of scientific research has gone into where this is and from here accepted cut offs have been established which are used internationally to rate foods as low, moderate or high FODMAP at certain portion sizes. This means that there are many foods that are low FODMAP at a small serve, but will become high FODMAP as the serve size increases.

 Is the low FODMAP diet gluten free?

Wheat contains both protein (gluten) and carbohydrates (fructans). Although these are different molecules, they commonly occur in the same products. At this point there the research is becoming stronger, that for us FODMAPPERs it is actually the carbohydrate or fructan portion of the wheat that we want to limit, not the gluten.

It is also important to note that, since gluten and FODMAPs are different molecules, not all gluten free foods are low FODMAP. If you choose a gluten free product you will still need to check the ingredients list for FODMAPs e.g. besan flour, soy flour, coconut flour, honey or inulin.

But the Bakers Delight bread still contains wheat!

The low FODMAP diet is purely about managing your IBS symptoms and improving your quality of life. This is done by limiting FODMAPs enough to stay under your symptom threshold. From FODMAP testing we know that 1 slice of wheat bread, ½ cup of wheat pasta or 2 tablespoons of soy sauce are all low enough in fructans to be considered low FODMAP. We also know that processing can drastically alter the FODMAP content. This can be seen in sourdough breads where the sourdough bacteria “consumes” the fodmaps during processing, leaving the final loaf of bread low enough in FODMAPs to be considered low FODMAP.

The Bakers Delight bread has been made with a special type of wheat flour that has been processed in such a way that it retains all the goodness of the wheat, while lowering the overall FODMAP concentration. Through independent laboratory testing it was found that when a loaf of freshly baked bread was made using this flour the final product is soft fresh bread that is low FODMAP. This enabled the Bakers Delight bread to meet the requirements of the ACCC approved rules to carry the FODMAP Friendly logo. You can read more about the testing process here.

Final thoughts

If you think that wheat is causing you problems, it is strongly encouraged to see your doctor and be tested for coeliac disease before changing your diet. You can read more about how to diagnose coeliac disease on the Coeliac Australia website here. If you have been tested for coeliac disease or diagnosed with IBS and follow a low FODMAP diet, the Bakers Delight high protein Lo Fo loaf is a delicious way to enjoy freshly baked bread and still keep your IBS symptoms at bay.

There are many other FODMAP Friendly certified products that can be enjoyed as part of a low FODMAP diet, to find out more visit our website, download the FODMAP Friendly smartphone app, look for the green logo in the supermarket and eat with confidence.

Look for the green logo on FODMAP Friendly Certified products..

Eat with Confidence!

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