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Baking Minus The Bloat! Low FODMAP Sweeteners & IBS

Baking Minus The Bloat! Low FODMAP Sweeteners & IBS

Written by Shaynie Ashkenazi ANutr. BSc. MHumNutr. Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr.), Founding Director, FodShop.

Introduction

Baking can be a tough gig for anyone just starting out on the low FODMAP diet.

Many baking mixes, core baking ingredients, pre-packaged and ready-to-eat muffins, cakes, cookies, cupcakes and pastries contain high FODMAP ingredients like wheat flour, dairy milk, and high fructose sweeteners like jam, honey and syrups in their fillings.

Wheat flour, lactose in milk & chocolate, and fructose (fruit fillings, jams, jellies & toppings) are generally off limits in FODMAP elimination. To add to the challenge, the rise in popularity of low calorie and low refined sugar/sugar free baking mixes and baked goods means that many artificial high FODMAP sweeteners are frequently added to the recipe, making it difficult to find a trustworthy option.

High FODMAP sweeteners - What to look for?

If you want to indulge without the bulge to follow, best to take control and bake up what you know is low FODMAP!

The 'P' in the FODMAP acronym represents 'Polyols', sugar alcohols which, when ingested by people with IBS, lead to intestinal dysmotility, inducing symptoms of abdominal pain, flatulence, and diarrhoea. 

The high FODMAP (sugar alcohol) sweeteners most commonly added to baking mixes and ketogenic (low sugar), baked goods, are:

  • Xylitol
  • Maltitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Mannitol

Note: Even though Erythritol is a sugar alcohol like the ones listed above, it is actually considered low FODMAP according to Monash University.

Most individuals find that they can tolerate erythritol, however we recommend you visit your FODMAP trained Accredited Practising Dietitian for advice and guidance around tolerance of erythritol.

The high FODMAP (excess fructose) sweeteners most commonly added to baking mixes and baked goods in Australia include:

  • Agave syrup
  • Golden syrup
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • Fruit syrup e.g. date syrup

Which low calorie & low FODMAP sweeteners can I eat in FODMAP elimination?

There are various low FODMAP sweeteners that are safe for IBS commonly added to baked goods and baking mixes.

If you're preparing your own baking recipe from scratch, consider using the below low FODMAP sugars & sweeteners available from most grocery retailers:

White (cane) Sugar - Consists of equal amounts of glucose and fructose, therefore not an excess fructose issue for fructose malabsorbers. 

Brown Sugar - Low FODMAP according to Monash FODMAP up to 1/4 cup per serve.

Coconut Sugar - According to Monash FODMAP, this sugar type is low FODMAP up to a serve of 1tsp (4g). At a greater serving size, this sugar becomes high FODMAP for fructans.

Dextrose - Simple glucose, so not a FODMAP concern.

Rice malt syrup - Low FODMAP up to a serve of 28g according to Monash FODMAP.

Beet Sugar - This sugar consists of equal amounts of glucose and fructose. Fructose is only an issue if it is present in excess of glucose.

Monk fruit sweetener - No concrete research on this as yet, however monk fruit extract is considered to be low FODMAP based on laboratory-tested food products containing the ingredient and returning low FODMAP results.

Final Thoughts

When looking for a lower calorie low FODMAP baking mix, lower-in-sugar baked goods, or wanting to prepare your own baked goods from scratch, remember that when adding sweetener, not all are created equal in terms of FODMAP content.

Molecules ending in 'ol' represent the 'Polyols' in the FODMAP acronym, and should be avoided during the Elimination Phase of the low FODMAP diet.

Many low FODMAP sweeteners and lower calorie low FODMAP baking mix substitutes are now available on the market and can be found all in the one place at FodShop.

References

1. Lenhart A, Chey WD. A Systematic Review of the Effects of Polyols on Gastrointestinal Health and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md). 2017;8(4):587-96.

2. Ruiz-Ojeda FJ, Plaza-Diaz J, Saez-Lara MJ, Gil A. Effects of Sweeteners on the Gut Microbiota: A Review of Experimental Studies and Clinical Trials. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(suppl_1):S31-s48.

3. Yao CK, Tan HL, van Langenberg DR, Barrett JS, Rose R, Liels K, et al. Dietary sorbitol and mannitol: food content and distinct absorption patterns between healthy individuals and patients with irritable bowel syndrome. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2014;27 Suppl 2:263-75.

4. The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet Smartphone AppTM https://www.monashfodmap.com/ibs-central/i-have-ibs/get-the-app/

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