What are FODMAPs?

What are FODMAPs?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is believed to affect 10-20% of the general population.

Research has shown that some people with IBS may find following a gluten-free diet improves their symptoms. There are also a number of other foods that may contribute to symptoms in IBS including foods containing lactose and other short-chain fermentable carbohydrates, known collectively as ‘FODMAPs’. These are sugars which are poorly absorbed or indigestible and easily fermented by bacteria in the gut to produce gas.

The term ‘FODMAPs’ stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Dissacharides Monosaccharides And Polyols and are found in a range of different foods. Common sources of FODMAPs include wheat, rye, pulses, various fruit and vegetables, milk, yoghurts, honey and sugar-free mints. Wheat grain and wheat-containing foods contain fructans, a known FODMAP.

People with IBS may benefit from following a low FODMAP diet. The diet, which should only be followed under the supervision of a registered dietitian, is the process of eliminating and reintroducing high FODMAP foods to identify symptom triggers.

Why do FODMAPs contribute to symptoms?

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FODMAPs are sugars which are poorly absorbed or indigestible in the gut and current research strongly suggests that this group of sugars triggers IBS symptoms. FODMAPs have a wide range of effects in the gut. To understand the role of these sugars as triggers for IBS symptoms, it is necessary to know how food is digested and absorbed in the body. The small intestine is responsible for the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from foods. The role of the large intestine is to absorb water and prepare undigested food for removal from the body

Food is made up of many components, such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates (including naturally occurring sugars). Since FODMAP sugars are either poorly absorbed or indigestible, they remain in the gut and attract water in to the small intestine (a process known as ‘osmosis’). This results in the increased passage of water through the bowel and can contribute to diarrhoea in some individuals.

As FODMAPs reach the large intestine, the FODMAPs are fermented by gut bacteria which can result in the production of gas and symptoms such as wind, bloating and abdominal discomfort/pain.

Some FODMAPs (oligosaccharides, fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides) are indigestible in all people. However, symptoms may only occur in individuals with IBS as research has shown that the gut of some people with IBS may be more sensitive to stimuli, such as extra pressure caused by additional fluid or gas compared to that of a person without IBS.

What is a low FODMAP diet?

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There is only a need to reduce FODMAP intake if there is a diagnosis of IBS and they are worsening IBS-type symptoms.

FODMAPs are found in a range of different foods including some that are considered to be healthy. A low FODMAP diet should be followed as strictly as possible for 4-8 weeks to identify if symptoms respond. Clinical experience shows that people who follow the diet more strictly experience better symptom improvement.

After this period, reintroduction of high-FODMAP foods to tolerance can take place. Working out what you are most sensitive to helps increase variety and food choices in your diet. For the majority of people the diet does not need to be restrictive for the long-term.

A low FODMAP diet should be undertaken with guidance from a registered dietitian to ensure the diet is followed correctly and is healthy, well-balanced and varied.

Which Schär products are suitable for a low FODMAP diet?

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Schär is a producer of gluten- and wheat-free foods. Short-chain fermentable carbohydrates collectively known as ‘FODMAPs’ include ‘fructans’ found in wheat grain and wheat-containing foods.  Whilst some wheat-containing foods are low in FODMAPs and therefore tolerable for people with IBS, there are many that aren’t and use of wheat-free foods may be encouraged (such as Schär products). It is still possible for wheat-free foods to contain other types of high FODMAP ingredients which may make them unsuitable for a low FODMAP diet.

Therefore, in 2017, Schär took the decision to become the first UK gluten-free manufacturer to independently test our core product range in order to fully determine the suitability of our products for those following a low FODMAP diet. This testing and certification was undertaken by Monash University in Australia, the founder of the low FODMAP diet and the place where much of the scientific research in this field has been conducted.

A number of Schär products have been tested and certified as low in FODMAPs by Monash University in Australia*:

For up-to-date stockist information on the Schär range, click here.

*Monash University Low FODMAP Certified trade marks used under licence in the United Kingdom by Dr Schär. One serve of these products can assist with following the Monash University Low FODMAP diet™. A strict low FODMAP diet should not be commenced without supervision from a healthcare professional.

Need more help?

Here at Schär, we have a number of delicious low-FODMAP recipes to help you find inspiration whilst following a low-FODMAP diet*.

Further information from Monash University, the founder of the low FODMAP diet, can be found here.

* Schär do not recommend making any changes to your diet without consulting a healthcare professional. A low FODMAP diet should be followed under the guidance of a registered dietitian.