Pork Loin Pot Roast with a Red Wine Reduction – Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

Pork Loin Pot Roast - Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

I love pot roasts – they’re the perfect convenience meal, great when you’re in need of a quick and simple dinner that is nutritious and will also impress.

Do you want to cook a healthy meal that will last a few days with minimal cleaning up? Pot roast. Do you have friends coming over but you haven’t cleaned the house in a week and need to get that sorted first? Pot roast. Side note – does anyone else hate leaving their house a mess in case you get burgled and the bastards judge your untidy kitchen? Maybe I’m just weird… Or, as is more likely the case, I would prefer to spend the whole day baking and have the dinner take care of itself. Pot roast.

You can use whichever roasting veggies you have on hand and can tolerate. You don’t just have to use potatoes and carrots, you can throw in sweet potato, different forms of squash or pumpkin in safe serving sizes (check the Monash app or use your own experience). Just be careful with adding in too many extra veggies to the one pot, though, as it will slow down cooking time. If you want to make more, just use a different dish and cover it with a lid or foil to keep everything moist. I will often roast some broccoli in garlic oil separately to get my greens in. The more colour in there, the more nutrients you’re getting – eat the rainbow, am I right?

This roast has come out moist and delicious every time and the leftovers will last for 2-3 days. To re-heat it, either use the microwave or wrap slices in foil and bake in the oven at 180 C/350 F for 30 minutes.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Potatoes are low FODMAP and so are carrots, which are listed as safe in 1 carrot servings but, if you eat too much, mannitol may become a problem. Sweet potato is safe in 1/2 cup quantity.
  2. Broccoli is safe in 1/2 cup servings – just FYI, if you choose to roast some in garlic oil while your roast is baking.
  3. Use a dry red wine, which will contain a more favourable glucose:fructose ratio.
  4. Oregano, rosemary and thyme are low FODMAP herbs.
  5. Potato and corn starch are safe, as starch is glucose-based.

Pork Loin Pot Roast with Red Wine Reduction

Serves 10.

  • 2.0 kg/4.5 lb pork loin
  • 60 ml/1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 red potatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 750 ml red wine
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/3 cup mixture of fresh minced oregano, thyme and rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 60 ml water
  • 2 tbsp. corn or potato starch

Preheat your oven to 165 C/325 F.

Rinse your pork loin thoroughly, then pat it dry. Season generously with salt and pepper and 1/3  cup herb mixture. Heat the olive oil in your dutch oven to seal the bottom and then sear each side of the pork loin for 4 minutes each, until they’re nice and golden brown. Once both sides have been browned, pour in half of the red wine and deglaze quickly, before putting the lid on and baking for 30 minutes in the oven.

Meanwhile, prep your veggies – peel the sweet potato and scrub the carrots and red potatoes, then chop into quarters – and coat in olive oil, salt and pepper and the second 1/3 cup herb mixture. Toss well to mix. After the 30 minutes is up, add the veggies to the pot, spreading them evenly around the roast, then pour in the second half of the wine. Replace the lid and send it back into the over for a further 60 minutes.

Once the roast is done (if your meat is a different weight, cook it at 165 C for 20 minutes for every 500 g/pound), the meat should be tender and white and any juices should run clear. Remove the roast onto a chopping board and let it sit for 10 minutes, while you get the vegetables onto a plate and make the red wine reduction.

To do so, skim off any fat you see and mix the corn starch into the water. Heat the pot with the drippings/red wine mix on the stove, add in the corn starch slurry and bring it to the boil. It should thicken to coat the back of a spoon but not become too thick, as you want it to pour easily and not look like a too-thick gravy. Pour it into a gravy boat through a strainer, to keep out any chunks.

Cut the roast into 2 cm slices and serve with the veggies, red wine reduction, and any other dishes you have going to the table. Enjoy!

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Maple Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding – Low FODMAP & Lactose Free with a Gluten Free option

Maple Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding - Low FODMAP, Lactose Free and Gluten Free

A month ago I flew down to San Francisco to meet my parents and play tourist for a few days before coming back up to Seattle. In addition to meeting up with a friend at the market near Pier 1 (Mariposa gluten free bread and cheese/olive platter at a wine bar, and I saw artichoke flowers for the first time – a perfect afternoon), we also paid a visit to the Boudin Bakery. If you haven’t heard of it, the Boudin Bakery boasts the original San Francisco sourdough, making bread from a starter that dates back to 1849. Apparently, the unique strains of wild yeast in San Francisco put a tangy twist on their traditional French sourdough, with a delicious result.

Now, I know that the evidence is solid that only spelt sourdough is considered low FODMAP but, as everyone who has followed this diet or dealt with fructose malabsorption for any length of time can attest – we are all different. I have had spelt sourdoughs trigger a fruct mal reaction in safe servings, but I have so far been 100% fine with rye (normal and sourdough bread), which is considered high in fructans. Wheat sourdough also makes me ill but the last time we were in San Francisco I was brave (or completely stupid) and decided to try some Boudin wheat sourdough. And I was fine. *Happy dance.*

So this time when we visited, I decided I wanted to take a loaf (or two) home. The only problem was, we don’t eat that much bread, even when it’s completely low FODMAP/gluten free, and the novelty teddy bear loaf was going stale. I hate waste – and LOVE bread and butter pudding – so the solution to the aging bread problem was obvious.

But first, all grown ups must play with their food… I don’t make the rules.

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Spelt sourdough bread is low FODMAP in 2 slice servings. The “souring” or fermentation process that occurs thanks to the naturally occurring yeast in the starter requires a longer rise time, which means much of the fructans are pre-digested for us and so no longer cause a problem.
  2. Gluten free does NOT mean low FODMAP, gluten is a protein and FODMAPs are specifically fermentable carbs. However, most of the gluten containing grains are high in fructans, so fructose malabsorbers are nominally gluten free, as well. If you need to eat gluten free as well as low FODMAP, then make sure you use gluten free bread, not spelt or any other form of wheat sourdough.
  3. Butter is very low in lactose but it can be substituted for a dairy free/lactose free alternative if need be.
  4. Milk/cream are high in lactose but you can easily use lactose or dairy free milk or cream of your choice. If you can tolerate coconut cream, it lends a delicious flavour to the dish.
  5. Eggs are low FODMAP but can still cause issues in some for non-FODMAP reasons.
  6. Maple syrup is sucrose-based, so low FODMAP. Read more here.
  7. Blueberries are a low FODMAP fruit.

Maple Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding

Serves 10-12.

  • About 10-12 slices of old bread (just slightly stale, not mouldy!)
  • Butter (or dairy free equivalent) to spread on bread and grease dish
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups milk, LF/DF if required
  • 2 cups cream, LF/DF if required
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dextrose powder, or 1/3 cup castor sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, to coat

Preheat your oven to 165 C/325 F.

Grease your baking dish (I used a 10″ diameter casserole dish) and spread the bread slices with butter. Arrange them in the dish and layer with the blueberries.

Whisk the milk, cream, eggs, dextrose (or castor sugar) and maple syrup together until smooth and pour over the bread. Press the bread down a little to partially submerge it. You could press it down all the way but I like the tops to get crispy, otherwise it’s just mush.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the filling has set but still jiggles.

Let it cool, then dust with icing sugar and serve with a good vanilla ice cream (lactose free if required) and some extra blueberries.

Enjoy! Xx

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Pecan Pie – Fructose Friendly

Nataliya:

Hey guys! I promise I will have a new post up for you in a couple of weeks but, for now, in honour of my parents staying with us, here’s my Dad’s favourite dessert ever. A pecan pie.

Simple, quick (after the pastry is made) and delicious, this is a real crowd pleaser. I never have any left over. I will make it again soon and update the photos, I swear!

Cheers guys and happy fructose friendly Friday!

Nat xo.

Originally posted on Not From A Packet Mix:

Firstly, sorry for not posting over the last couple of weeks. I was in Australia minus my laptop so my photos and recipes weren’t accessible… plus I was having WAY too much fun with my family and friends. This particular recipe, however, I printed out and took with me; I had promised my dad a pecan pie and he wasn’t going to let me forget it.

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Dad loves pecan pies so much that every Australia Day weekend (when we were growing up) that we stayed in Bright for the Audax Alpine Classic bike ride, we had to come home via Beechworth to go to the Beechworth Bakery. Dad would stock up on about 20 of their medium sized pies and freeze them to last through the year. He is the ultimate champion at making food last. I think that’s where my sister and I get it from, because every Easter…

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Travel Series – Flying with Fructose Malabsorption

Nataliya:

Hey guys! I’m sorry I missed Fructose Friendly Friday yesterday but I was busy flying down to San Francisco to see my parents for the first time since December.

Here is a relevant post reblogged from last year, I still follow these guidelines to travel without issue.

Follow me on Instagram @notfromapacketmix (www.instagram.com/notfromapacketmix) for San Francisco based low FODMAP eats while I’m here and have a great weekend!

Cheers, Nat. Xx

Originally posted on Not From A Packet Mix:

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I’m not a huge fan of flying. I’m not scared of it but I don’t find it enjoyable, either; long hours (15 hours between Melbourne and LAX) in cramped seating, recirculated air, mostly unsuitable foods and the bathrooms, if you can call them that, all add up to me not having a good time. I stress about connections until we make them and about whether our luggage will make it when we do.

We have had enough mishaps with changed departure gates, delayed planes and missing luggage (LAX is a disorganised hellhole) that Ev and I have become very adept at travelling light. The last time we went home to Australia, we got everything we needed for two weeks, including things for other people, in two carry on bags… and by “carry on” I mean the real carry on bags, not the giant suitcases that American based airlines let people take…

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Mashed Potato Buns – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free // A guest post from Life and Thymez

Mashed-Potato-Buns--low-fodmap-gluten-free

Hi guys! This week’s post is a guest post from Zlata over at Life and Thymez, a fun-filled low FODMAP food and lifestyle blog.

When Zlata and I were discussing doing guest posts on each other’s blogs, I couldn’t go past these mashed potato buns. I used to do something very similar with left over mash and I can’t believe I haven’t done it in years. Probably because left over mashed potatoes really isn’t a thing with Ev and the dogs in the house. But anyway. I’ll just have to start making extra.

These buns are great to snack on, work well as a side to soup (gluten free toast is so yesterday) or even just use them as dinner rolls.

A little about Zlata…

Full-time publicist, part-time writer, and round-the-clock ambassador to wit and humor, Zlata is a Jersey Girl making her way through life in South Florida with her husband, Alex, and their sweet pup, LexZ. Zlata’s a self-taught home cook who relies on taste bud science for her mostly simple, sometimes healthy/sometimes not, always delicious recipes. When she’s not crafting kitchen concoctions, Zlata can be found reading an awesome book (translation: trashy magazine), crossing the line between ‘funny’ and ‘inappropriate,’ and fantasizing about being a Real Housewife of Palm Beach.

Find her on:

FODMAP Notes

  1. Potatoes are low FODMAP in 1 cup serves.
  2. Butter is low enough in lactose that most should be fine with it but, if not, use your favourite butter replacement.
  3. Eggs, salt and pepper are all low FODMAP.

Mashed Potato Buns

  • 5 pounds organic russet potatoes
  • 1 stick butter (my preference is salted)
  • 6 eggs (3 whole and 3 yolk)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For instructions with step by step pictures, see the recipe at Life and Thymez.

Get a pot of water boiling and sprinkle heavily with salt. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes then cut them into halves or quarters and add to the boiling water.

Boil potatoes until cooked. You should be able to easily poke them through with a fork. Once ready, drain water and move them to a large round bowl and mash with butter. Add salt and pepper to taste, then let the potato mix cool slightly.

In the meantime, get a large baking pan ready with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.

Mix 3 eggs into potatoes using hands. (It will be messy and potatoes will stick to your hands). Form bun shapes out of the mixture and add them to the baking sheet. Wash hands and crack three egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush egg yolk on each bun, making sure the tops are well covered.

Bake in oven until browned, about 45-60 minutes.

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Which sugars and sweeteners are safe on the low FODMAP diet?

Which sugars and sweeteners are safe on the low fodmap diet - sugar, sweetener, low fodmao, ibs, fructose malabsorption, sibo, irritable bowel syndrome

This list of safe sugars and sweeteners is suitable for those following the low FODMAP/fructose friendly diet for fructose malabsorption, which is also known as dietary fructose intolerance. If you have hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI), please do not use this list, as it is not strict enough for your fructose free requirements. If you have an infant/young child that is failing to thrive, has an aversion to sweet foods or continuously reacts poorly to sucrose/fructose/sorbitol containing foods, please ask your doctor about getting them checked for HFI.

There is a lot of confusion regarding the terms “sugar” and “sweetener” with regards to the low FODMAP diet. Either due to miscommunication with their dietitian – or not seeing a dietitian at all – FODMAPpers can unnecessarily over-restrict themselves. Given that the full low FODMAP diet is restrictive enough as it is, and perhaps taking into account other allergies or intolerances, I’m assuming that most of us would like to keep our diets as open as possible.

To begin with, let’s clarify something; this is what a low FODMAP diet is not:

  • FODMAP free – there’s no such thing, unless you’re eating an unseasoned cut of meat. Every plant food has FODMAPs in them, it’s the amount that makes the difference.
  • Sugar free – FODMAPs include a range of sugars (saccharides) and carbohydrates. Some sugars, such as fructose and lactose, are FODMAPs while others, such as glucose and maltose, are not.
  • Fructose free – unless you have hereditary fructose intolerance, fructose does not need to be completely eliminated from your diet, just reduced. Given their similar structures, as long as glucose is consumed in equal or greater amounts than fructose, the co-transport system will help with fructose absorption in the small intestine (up to a point, it can be overwhelmed).
  • Low carbohydrate – FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates that are readily fermentable. Many carbohydrates, however, are not, so are safe. Starch, for example, is an example of a non-FODMAP complex carbohydrate.
  • Organic/non-GMO – whether a food is grown using organic/non-GMO, non-organic or GMO farming methods holds no bearing over its FODMAP content.
  • A forever diet – the low FODMAP diet is designed to allow you, with professional guidance, to work out your individual IBS triggers (including amounts/thresholds). There is no point in completely eliminating all potentially high FODMAP foods when, you only malabsorb one or two of the individual FODMAPs. The food trial phase is an important part of the diet that should not be avoided, unless your health practitioner has advised you otherwise.

So rest easy, guys – if you are following only the low FODMAP diet, then you can still consume moderate amounts of your favourite sweet or starchy foods.

Now that we have that sorted, let’s discuss a variety of commonly used sugars and sweeteners and their FODMAP content. This is a long article but hopefully it will be a great resource for confused FODMAPpers out there!

Sugars/Saccharides

The isomers glucose and fructose combine to form the disaccharide sucrose, which is 1:1 glucose to fructose.

  • “Saccharide” is the scientific term for the word “sugar.” There are different types, including monosaccharides (single sugar molecules), disaccharides (double sugar molecules) and polysaccharides (multiple sugar molecules joint together).
  • Sugars form part of the carbohydrate macro-nutrient group, along with fibres and starches.
  • Not all sugars are considered FODMAPs.
  • Aside from potentially causing IBS flare ups, all sugar consumption should be limited for general health reasons.
  • If even modest servings of “safe” sugars continue to cause your fructose malabsorption/IBS to react, please consider getting tested for SIBO.
  • If you are diabetic, please consult your doctor or dietitian before using any concentrated glucose syrup

Agave Syrup/Nectar

FODMAP rating: unsafe.

Made from either the leaf or the root of several species of the agave plant, including Agave tequilana and Agave salmiana, agave syrup has become a popular “healthy” sugar choice over the last few years. It is approximately 90% fructose, thus some people claim that it doesn’t spike blood glucose and is a better choice for diabetics and those wishing to lose weight. This research, however, is only suggestive and is countered by studies that suggest the opposite – that too much fructose, while it won’t spike blood glucose, is still not good for you metabolically. The American Diabetes Association recommends that agave consumption should be limited, just like all the other sugars in the list.

Whichever side of this you choose to believe, the facts stand that agave syrup is just about the worst sugar a fructose malabsorber could choose, given it’s extremely high ratio of excess fructose.

Beet Sugar

FODMAP rating: safe.

Beets are one of the two most common sources of common table sugar production, the other being cane sugar (listed below). Beet sugar contains 99.95% sucrose, which is a disaccharide comprising one molecule each of glucose and fructose. Given that the fructose ratio is 1.0, beet sugar (and any other sucrose-based sugar) can be consumed in moderate amounts, relying on the glucose co-transport method of fructose absorption.

Brown Sugar

FODMAP rating: safe in 1 tbsp. servings.

Brown sugar is common table sugar (sucrose) that has either had a little molasses left in during the refinement process, or alternatively, some molasses was added back in later on. Monash University lists the safe serving of brown sugar at 1 tbsp.

Molasses (listed below) is generally considered unsafe as there is a fructose ratio greater than 1.0 however, the ratio is small at approx 1.075 (according to Nutrition Data) and not a lot of molasses is added into the brown sugar. For this reason, a little bit of brown sugar in a baked good every now and then should be tolerated by most. More molasses is added into dark brown sugar than the light brown sugar, so I’d stick to the latter. As with everything to do with FODMAPs, if you are extra sensitive and find that you react to brown sugar, just leave it out. Alternatively, use a combination of brown sugar and dextrose and the dextrose (glucose) will bring the fructose ratio back to well under 1.0, while allowing you to take advantage of the rich, caramel-like flavours that brown sugar can bring to your food.

Cane Sugar/Syrup

FODMAP rating: safe.

Cane sugar is made from sucrose, which has a fructose ratio of 1.0 and is considered safe in terms of FODMAPs.

Monash University suggests that the amount found in a glass of diluted cordial mix, or a small handful of lollies, should be well tolerated by most but that those who are more sensitive should limit large doses. Given that lollies are mostly sucrose, the amount of sucrose found in a slice of otherwise low FODMAP cake should be within those limits.

Coconut Sugar

FODMAP rating: unsafe.

Coconut sugar, produced by dehydrating the sap of coconut palms, contains a good amount of inulin. Inulin is a group of fermentable carbohydrates to which fructans belong, they are mildly sweet and can reduce the rate of glucose absorption in the gut, which is potentially one of the reasons why coconut sugar is touted as a healthier, lower GI option.

It is best to stay away from inulin – and thus coconut sugar – during the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet. Afterwards, you may choose to attempt a reintroduction with the help of your health professional.

Corn Syrup

FODMAP rating: safe.

Corn syrup is made by extracting glucose from corn starch, using a multi-step enzymatic approach. It is anywhere from 93-96% glucose (as maltose, a disaccharide of two glucose molecules), so is one of the safest sweeteners available, in terms of FODMAPs. For more information on FODMAPs, corn syrup and other corn products, read this article.

Please note that high fructose corn syrup is different to corn syrup and has been listed separately below.

Fructose (isolate)

FODMAP rating: unsafe.

Isolated fructose is anywhere from 90-100% fructose and, as such, is unsuitable for consumption by symptomatic fructose malabsorbers.

Fruit Sugar

FODMAP rating: unsafe.

Refers almost only to fructose; avoid it like the plague if you are a symptomatic fructose malabsorber.

Glucose Syrup

FODMAP rating: safe.

Depending on the country you live in, glucose syrup can be produced from corn, wheat, rice, potatoes or tapioca. In the USA, corn syrup is used synonymously with glucose syrup and, in Australia, it’s typically produced from wheat glucose. The starch from the base ingredient is isolated and, via a multistep enzymatic process, is converted to a concentrated glucose solution.

Given that glucose is the safest form of sugar for fructose malabsorbers to consume, glucose syrup is a good choice of sugar to use during the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet. It is less sweet than sucrose, due to the absence of fructose, and you will find that the flavour lacks a little volume but this can be corrected by using either a combination of glucose syrup and a sucrose-based sugar or adding low FODMAP spices to your food.

If you have coeliac disease, please confirm with the product manufacturers that the glucose syrup produced from wheat (or any other gluten containing grain) is considered gluten free. 

Golden Syrup

FODMAP rating: safe.

Golden syrup, also known as light treacle, is a sucrose-based inverted syrup produced during the process of refining the juice of either sugar cane or sugar beets into common table sugar. As it is mostly sucrose, it has a fructose ratio of 1.0 and is considered safe in moderate consumption by Monash University for those following the low FODMAP diet.

In terms of cooking and baking, it is a great substitute for honey and molasses, which should be restricted due to excess fructose levels, and also for maple syrup, which can be outrageously expensive in certain places, like all of Australia. It lends a rich, distinctive flavour to dishes that is milder than molasses, which can be quite bitter.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

FODMAP rating: unsafe.

Once corn syrup (which is mostly maltose/glucose) has been produced, the reaction is taken a step further and the corn syrup is processed with the enzyme glucose isomerase, to convert some of the glucose into fructose. This produces HFCS-42. Liquid chromatography is used to further convert glucose into fructose, to create HFCS-90, which can be blended with HFCS-42 to create HFCS-55.

Regardless of your opinion of the health dangers of HFCS, it is NOT low FODMAP. As the varieties (42%, 55% and 90% fructose) are not labelled differently, it’s best to stay clear of it completely.

Other names include: isoglucose, glucose-fructose syrup, fructose-glucose syrup, isolated fructose and fructose syrup (the latter two refer to HFCS-90).

Honey

FODMAP rating: unsafe.

Honey is produced from the nectar that honey bees collect from flowers. For this reason, it is not vegan. Different varieties of honey contain vastly different fructose ratios, with a rare few possibly being as low as 1.0, which would be considered safe in terms of FODMAP consumption. However, unless honey is specifically labelled as FODMAP friendly, it would be safer to assume that is has a high fructose ratio and should therefore be avoided until such a time that you and your dietitian decide it should be tested.

Monash University lists 1 tbsp. of honey as high in excess fructose and thus unsafe for those with fructose malabsorption.

Invert Sugar

FODMAP rating: tentatively safe but potentially problematic for some.

Invert sugar is a tricky beast. The term refers to sugars that have been converted to syrups using heat and an acid-based chemical reaction. You can mimic this by creating golden syrup at home by melting table sugar with a slice of lemon (the acid). Honey is another invert syrup, though obviously bees don’t have stoves and lemon slices on hand to create it.

The problem is that when “invert syrup” or “invert sugar” is listed, it is impossible to tell which invert syrup is being referred to and thus it has an unknown fructose ratio. Many people in the fructose malabsorption groups online state that invert syrup is a trigger for them. As invert syrup hasn’t officially been tested yet, I can’t say for sure but Patsy Catsos, a well-known dietitian and a FODMAP expert, says that invert syrup is “tentatively okay.” I understand this to be that if the fructose ratio is safe, the invert syrup would be safe. If you are unsure and don’t want to risk a reaction, simply avoid it.

Maple Sugar/Syrup

FODMAP rating: safe.

Maple syrup is produced by boiling and dehydrating the sap from sugar maple trees, until a viscous, delicious syrup has formed. Luckily for fructose malabsorbers, it is a sucrose-based syrup, with a fructose ratio of 1.0, so is safe in moderation on the low FODMAP diet.

It lends a rich, distinctive flavour to foods that only gets better when you buy grade B, rather than grade A maple syrup. Please ensure that you are buying pure maple syrup and not a “table syrup” or “pancake syrup,” which could contain higher FODMAP ingredients.

Molasses

FODMAP rating: unsafe.

While Monash University has not tested molasses just yet, other reliable sources suggest that it has a fructose ratio slightly greater than 1.0 (1.073 to be exact), and so it seems to be unsafe for those with fructose malabsorption. However, we will have to wait for Monash University’s independent lab tests and food trials to be sure.

Raw Sugar (Turbinado/Rapidura/Demerara)

FODMAP rating: safe.

Raw sugar is a partially refined version of crystallised table sugar. Each variety has varying degrees of molasses left in from a shortened refinement process. Typically found in coarser grains, they provide similar caramel notes to brown sugar. Also like brown sugar, they are safe in moderation. I would stick to the 1 tbsp. serving size of brown sugar, or combine the raw sugar with glucose or dextrose powder to achieve the rich flavour with a more favourable fructose ratio.

Rice Malt/Brown Rice Syrup

FODMAP rating: safe.

Rice malt syrup is glucose/maltose syrup that has been produced from (typically brown) rice. In the modern/industrial method of rice malt syrup production, the brown rice is fermented in the presence of enzymes, to separate the starch from the other components, after which it is strained and heated to achieve the concentrated glucose/maltose syrup that we can buy in most health food stores or online. In the traditional method, barley sprouts are used in the first step, so please make sure you complete further research on traditionally made rice syrups and gluten content if you have coeliac disease.

As rice malt syrup contains approximately 3% glucose and 45% maltose (a disaccharide of two glucose molecules), it is considered safe to use by those with fructose malabsorption and is lower GI than sucrose and pure glucose. If you are diabetic, please use caution and consult your doctor or dietitian before using any alternative syrup for the first time.

Sucrose

FODMAP rating: safe.

Sucrose is the scientific name for any disaccharide (double sugar molecule) that contains a molecule of fructose and a molecule of glucose (see image above). As fructose and glucose are present in equal amounts, the fructose ratio is 1.0, so sucrose is considered safe for fructose malabsorbers to consume in moderation, because the glucose co-transport method of fructose absorption will take care of the fructose present, up to a point. Be careful, as this method can be overwhelmed, so symptoms would resume if you over-consume sucrose-based products.

Table/Castor/White/Icing/Baker’s (etc) Sugar

FODMAP rating: safe.

Common table/white sugar is the product of completely refining sugar cane of sugar beet juice. They resulting product is entirely sucrose, so the fructose ration is 1.0 and they are considered safe for FODMAPpers to consume in moderation, according to Monash University.

The varying names refer to the different grain sizes and uses that the refined sugar product has been ground into. For example, White/table sugar is coarse (though not as coarse as most raw sugars), followed by baker’s sugar, castor sugar and then finally icing/powdered sugar. Icing/powdered sugar can often be found cut with corn starch to prevent clumping – this is not a FODMAP issue but it is something to keep in mind if you have additional intolerances to corn.

Sweeteners

This section covers both artificial and naturally occurring sweeteners, which are commonly used instead of different sugars to provide sweetness in foods without the calories. No comment or judgement is being made about an individual’s choice to use artificial/zero calorie sweeteners, as we must fuel our bodies as we see fit.

Aspartame

FODMAP rating: safe.

Also known as NutraSweet and Equal, and coded as E951 in Europe, aspartame is a zero calorie, non-saccharide sweetener that is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. It was approved for use by the FDA in 1981 and since then has been the source of many health debates – I won’t go into them here, as it is not within the scope of a FODMAP blog and I am not a food scientist.

Aspartame is a methyl ester of two amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine, to which form it is returned during digestion in the human body. Regardless of your opinion on whether aspartame is carcinogenic or suitable to consume, it is low in FODMAPs, so is safe to use on the low FODMAP diet.

Phenylketonurics should avoid aspartame.

Polyols

FODMAP rating: unsafe.

Polyols refers to the P in FODMAPs, consisting of sugar alcohols that are commonly used as “sugar free” low calorie sweeteners. They can be naturally occurring or man-made, and include erythritol, isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol. It is well-known that polyols can have a laxative effect (you’ve all seen the warnings about the side effects of over consumption on the back of sugar-free gum), so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that polyols can be malabsorbed in the human small intestine, just like fructose and lactose.

The size of the sugar alcohol will determine the extent to which it is likely to be absorbed in most people; erythritol, a four carbon polyol, is generally well absorbed, where as those that are six carbon or greater in size are unable to be absorbed via simple diffusion. In addition to being malabsorbed themselves, polyols, when consumed in combination with fructose, will bind to and block GLUT-5 fructose channels, thus increasing fructose malabsorption and worsening symptoms. For this reason, you should watch your intake of polyols, regardless of whether you malabsorb them specifically, as well as your fructose load.

Saccharin

FODMAP rating: safe.

Also known as Sweet ‘n Low, and coming in at approximately 300-400 times sweeter than regular sugar, saccharin is considered to be low FODMAP. It is unstable when heated but doesn’t interact chemically with other ingredients, so is otherwise shelf stable. A couple of studies suggest that the sweet taste can trigger an insulin response under fasting conditions, even though there is no glucose present.

Stevia

FODMAP rating: safe.

Derived from the leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudiana, pure stevia, whether produced from the whole leaf or extracted, is around 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar. The active ingredients in stevia leaf extract are steviol glycosides, which are heat stable and are not fermentable, making them FODMAP friendly. Brand names of the leaf extracts include Natvia, Truvia, Rebiana and PureVia.

The two main components that provide sweetness are stevioside and rebaudioside. Rebaudioside A has the least bitterness of the two, and is preferentially extracted in commercially produced Stevia products, such as those listed above. The whole leaf version of stevia can impart a slightly more bitter flavour to drinks and bakes goods, etc but some people prefer it, as they can grow the plant easily and then dry and grind the leaves themselves.

Sucralose

FODMAP rating: safe in terms of FODMAPs but potentially problematic in terms of influence on gut bacteria.

Also known as Splenda, sucralose is low in FODMAPs. One study, however, suggests that extended sucralose use might reduce colonies of beneficial gut bacteria, as well as increasing foecal pH and reducing the bioavailability of certain orally administered drugs. This is not something that someone who is already prone to functional gut disorders would want to play with, so please discuss the use of sucralose with your health practitioner, to determine the right course of action for you.

Disclaimer: Although I come from a health science background, I am not a dietitian or a medical doctor; I have just researched this topic myself. If your health professional has advised you to avoid certain or all sugar-based products or sweeteners, please do so, as it might not be for a FODMAP-related reason.

Title photo credit goes to: Unsplash.

The FODMAP content of different varieties of corn/maize and their derivatives

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For a grain that is used in so many gluten free/IBS friendly recipes and products, corn tends to be a topic of contention in terms of FODMAPs. But why? It’s gluten free (unless contaminated with the protein through processing methods), that much we know, but why do some people react to corn and others not, or, even more confusing, why do different types of corn cause issues for an individual when others are well tolerated?

One of the obvious answers is that all of us react differently to different fermentable carbs, which is true – but it goes deeper than that. The problem with corn is simple – corn is not simple at all. People have sensitivities, intolerances and allergies to different aspects of corn, and not all corn is created equal. This article will deal with the fermentable carbohydrates that corn can contain, as corn allergies and intolerances are not within the scope of this blog. If you are concerned that you have an allergy to corn, please see your doctor.

Since the Native Americans domesticated corn thousands of years ago, it has been extensively bred into many varieties, all of which contain different amounts of FODMAPs, as well as different physical characteristics that lend themselves to certain uses in cuisine and industry. Obviously, for the purpose of this article, I will stick to the species of corn that are intended to be eaten.

Genetic Modification

This needs to be said. Corn is commonly found as a genetically modified (GMO) product. You may choose to consume non-GMO varieties of corn for personal beliefs, however, genetic modification does not affect FODMAP content. Unless a variety of corn is bred to contain large amounts of fructans, or have a higher fructose:glucose ratio than sweet corn (etc), the GMO corn you find at the supermarket will have the same recommended safe serving size as it’s non-GMO counterpart.

Sweet Corn/Corn on the Cob

Variety: sweet corn.

FODMAP rating: safe in 1/2 cob servings.

Sweet corn is the corn we eat prepared as a vegetable – on the cob, or find tinned in the grocery store. It is picked when immature, before the simple sugars have a chance to convert to starches. Delicious with butter, salt and pepper, it unfortunately has a very close fructose:glucose ratio, as well as a large amount of sucrose, so should therefore be limited to half-cob servings, according to Monash University. Of course, if you know you can eat more without reacting you may continue to do so.

Corn Meal, Polenta/Grits and Popcorn

Variety: dent and flint corn.

FODMAP rating: safe in 1 cup servings.

Corn destined to be consumed as a grain is picked and processed once it has matured, which means the water content in the endosperm is greatly reduced and the simple sugars have largely been converted into starch. Starch is not a FODMAP, which means that products made from corn meal, polenta and popcorn kernels (such as corn tortillas, corn bread and mamaliga) are safe in terms of fermentable carbohydrates, as long as no other FODMAP-containing ingredients have been included in the recipe.

Dent corn has a greater water content than flint corn, which has a much harder, less digestible endosperm; this is due to the differing amounts of floury vs vitreous starch (see Figure 3). For this reason, they are turned into corn meal/polenta and popcorn, respectively.

Cornflour/ Corn Starch

Variety: waxy corn.

FODMAP rating: safe.

Waxy corn contains a different type of starch (amylopectin, rather than the amylose found in the previously mentioned corn varieties), and is more effective as a thickener and stabilising agent in foods. This product doesn’t come from the entire corn kernel but is the isolated amylopectin.

Corn Syrup

Variety: dent corn (amylose starch).

FODMAP rating: safe but use in moderation.

Consisting of approximately 93-96% glucose (in the form of maltose, a disaccharide of two glucose molecules), corn syrup is considered safe in terms of FODMAPs, though it should still be consumed in moderation, as it is a sugar and very high GI. Corn syrup is produced via a multi-step enzymatic process, which breaks the corn starch down into varying products, including maltose. Corn syrup is available in light and dark varieties; the dark corn syrup is mixed with some molasses, which, while it has a slightly elevated fructose:glucose ratio, should be evened out by the extremely concentrated glucose in the corn syrup.

In the USA, corn syrup is synonymous with glucose syrup, as glucose syrup is nearly always made from corn. In other countries, glucose syrup can be made from wheat, rice, potatoes or tapioca.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Variety: dent corn (amylose starch).

FODMAP rating: high, avoid.

Once corn syrup (which is mostly maltose/glucose) has been produced, the reaction is taken a step further and the corn syrup is processed with the enzyme glucose isomerase, to convert some of the glucose into fructose. This produces HFCS-42. Liquid chromatography is used to further convert glucose into fructose, to create HFCS-90, which can be blended with HFCS-42 to create HFCS-55.

Regardless of your opinion of the health dangers of HFCS, it is NOT low FODMAP. As the varieties (42%, 55% and 90% fructose) are not labelled differently, it’s best to stay clear.

Other names include: isoglucose, glucose-fructose syrup, fructose-glucose syrup, isolated fructose and fructose syrup (the latter two refer to HFCS-90).

Corn/Maize Oil

Variety: made from the germ of corn kernels.

FODMAP rating: safe.

FODMAPs are a variety of fermentable carbohydrates. Pure corn oil is 100% fat, so contains no carbohydrates, thus no FODMAPs and is safe to use.

So, there you have it. Different varieties of corn (maize) and their derivatives all have different FODMAP ratings; however, as usual, if your tolerances vary from what Monash has suggested is safe, follow your gut.

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or a medical doctor; I have just researched this topic myself. If your health professional has advised you to avoid corn, please do so, as it might not be for a FODMAP-related reason.

Title image credit goes to: http://pixabay.com/en/users/margenauer-271373/