Could one of these be why trialing a low FODMAPs diet didn’t help your symptoms? It’s possible, even likely. Dedication to label reading is a must during the first stage of a low FODMAPs elimination diet.
Before we start, a quick refresher:
These are carbohydrates found in a variety of foods, from grains to garlic to milk to plums. Today, let’s look at surprising sources of oligosaccharides.
Hidden Ingredients with Oligosaccharides
Packaged foods are often in the “gotcha!” category when they appear just fine… until a few hours after you ate them. The tiny font of the ingredients list is important.
Step 1: Read that list. Here are a few ingredients you might be skipping over that could be providing FODMAPs:
1. Chicory: Chicory is an excellent source of inulin, which is added to foods for its fiber content, and, occasionally, to adjust texture. High fiber cereal bars? Look for inulin or chicory. Inulin is a very rich source of FODMAPs– plenty of fructans.
2. Agave: A popular sweetener, agave syrup may be hidden in salad dressings, cookies, bars, and even energy drinks. Agave syrup (or nectar) is very rich in fructans and fructose– the specific ratio of fructose to fructans varies with the species and processing.
3. Garlic powder: It’s just a tiny little ingredient, right? Wrong. The powdered or dehydrated form of any high FODMAPs food is very potent. The jerky that is fine except for a little garlic powder may well be enough to initiate symptoms. Both fresh and dried garlic are sources of fructans.
4. Garbanzo bean flour: It’s in the gluten-free baked goods– creating a good texture often leads to blends of flours, including chickpea flour and fava bean flour. There are several different oligosaccharides found in different types of legumes.
5. Soy protein concentrate: This can be* high in oligosaccharides. Look for these in many processed foods, including processed meats, baked good, soups, cereals, processed cheeses, and more. I saw this listed as an ingredient in a breakfast sausage on a buffet recently.
Step 2: Find an alternate.
A local restaurant serves a cashew lime salad dressing. The small amount of cashew butter in the dressing is unlikely to be an issue. However, after a client has issues after eating an otherwise basic low FODMAPs meal, the client examines the ingredients of the salad dressing.
The salad dressing also has garlic and agave syrup.
Mystery solved. Three high FODMAPs ingredients together, with some being the same category of FODMAP, contribute to a meal that leads to discomfort. The client then orders lime juice and oil on the salad and has no issues.
Think Creatively: Alternates to High FODMAP Foods
In the short-term, making a homemade item may be easiest. Over time, you will come to know which brands tend to use more hidden ingredients that are a problem for you.
What can you make instead…
- Trade in steel cut oats or old-fashioned oats for high fiber cereal bars
- Try a simple vinaigrette with red wine vinegar and olive oil at home instead of a sweetened salad dressing
- Use fresh herbs instead of garlic– chives and the green part of scallions are nice options
- Use 7/8 cup corn flour (not corn meal) with 2 T ground golden flaxseeds for a basic gluten-free flour mix
- Substitute 100% meat items for meat analogues or processed meats with soy protein concentrate.
You’ve got this ;-). Read the labels and perhaps take along a list the first few times you shop for foods. I recommend the Monash University’s app or Kate Scarlata’s lists.
If you need more support figuring out how to implement or liberalize a low FODMAPs diet (and most people can start eating more high FODMAPs foods again!), contact Stephanie to set up a consultation.
*The caveat is that processing varies– so “can be” but may not always be. Soy protein isolates are unlikely to cause issues as nearly all the carbohydrate and fiber has been removed. Someone quite sensitive to the carbohydrate found in soy will also be more likely to have a lower tolerance level of concentrates with some fiber and carbohydrate left.