You or someone you know may have noticed an improvement in digestive symptoms when eating a gluten-free diet. While avoiding gluten is crucial for people who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, there could be another reason why forgoing bread and pasta alleviates the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) including gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation: FODMAPs.
According to Monash University, founder of the low-FODMAP diet, for those with IBS, the problem is not gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s actually the hard to digest short-chain carbohydrates known as FODMAPs that causes digestive issues. FODMAPs can be found in grains including wheat, barley, rye, and spelt.
When you are at the market, it’s easy to identify wheat-free products as gluten-free but keep in mind that they may also have high-FODMAP ingredients, so it’s important to read labels. For example, many gluten-free breads may be made with bean flours, honey or molasses. Also many gluten-free pastas contain high-FODMAP ingredients such as soy flour and garbanzo bean flour. Here is a short list of common low/high FODMAP grains. For a complete list, please download the Monash FODMAP app for your smartphone:
Keep in mind that many gluten-free products at the supermarket are highly processed and are lacking in taste and texture. The frozen gluten-free bread I tried was a revolting facsimile of the real deal. With that being said, the low-FODMAP diet has provided me with an opportunity to explore more whole grains noted above. I eat less processed foods such as breads, cereals, energy bars, pastas and crackers. They have been replaced with corn tortillas, granola, rice bowls, popcorn and nuts. Check out my Maple Pecan Granola recipe that does double duty for breakfast and as a pre-workout snack. Also, my Quinoa Chickpea Salad recipe has replaced my go-to pasta salad. By exploring more low-FODMAP whole grain alternatives you are nourishing your body with nutritious foods while keeping your belly (and taste buds) happy!