09 April 2018

New research: Fermentable short chain carbohydrate (FODMAP) content of common plant-based foods and processed foods suitable for vegetarian- and vegan-based eating patterns (PART 1)

vegan protein

By Dr. CK Yao - Research Dietitian

Our team is very excited to feature a newly published research on the FODMAP ratings of a wide range of plant foods and how common food processing methods can be useful to modify their FODMAP ratings.

Adapting the low FODMAP diet to populations with additional nutrition needs or dietary restrictions can often be challenging, especially if undertaken without the supervision of a dietitian. Of these, individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan eating lifestyle for religious, health, ethical and environmental reasons constitute 10% of the world’s population (1). A proportion of these patients report the presence of IBS and hence, may require a low FODMAP diet for symptom control. However, a range of staple foods (legumes, wholegrains, nuts, soy products) are thought to be high in FODMAPs and may place these individuals at further risk of inadequate protein, calcium, vitamin B12, iron and zinc. This thought is enforced by a recent study in the UK highlighting inadequate consumption of calcium and iron in IBS patients following a low FODMAP diet (2).  

Hence, as part of Dr Caroline Tuck’s PhD work, a total of 35 commonly consumed and nutritionally important plant substitutes were carefully selected by our team of research dietitians and screened for their low FODMAP potential. These included a range of legumes, coconut, soy and wheat products, milk, protein meat alternatives. A brief snapshot of the results showed (3):

FODMAP rating Type of FODMAP
DAIRY ALTERNATIVES
Quinoa milk (1 serve), agave sweetened* HIGH Excess fructose and fructans
Macadamia milk (1 serve), calcium fortified* LOW -
Soy yoghurts (1 serve) HIGH Galacto - oligosaccharides (GOS)
Coconut Yoghurts (1 serve) LOW -
WHEAT PRODUCTS
Wheat germ HIGH Oligosaccharides (FOS & GOS)
Nutritional Yeast LOW -

An interesting finding is that FODMAP content of the same food product can vary across different brands, which was shown with 12 different brands of tinned and dried red kidney beans. This suggests that it is important to test different brands during rechallenges to see if there is one you can tolerate. 

We will describe other finds in next week's blog post. 

*Foods that appear in our app have been tested using between 3-10 different samples (depending on the type of food), these foods have only been tested with n=1, meaning you will not currently find these foods in the app. 

References: 
    1. Leitzmann C (2014) Vegetarian nutrition: past, present, future. Am J Clin Nutr 100, 496S–502S.

    2. Staudacher H, Ross F, Briscoe Z et al. (2015) PTU-183 Advice from a dietitian regarding the low fodmap diet broadly maintains nutrient intake and does not alter fibre intake. Gut 64, A143–A144.

    3. Tuck C, Ly E, Bogatyrev A et al. (2018) Fermentable short chain carbohydrate (FODMAP) content of common plant-based foods and processed foods suitable for vegetarian- and vegan-based eating patterns. J Hum Nutr Diet, available from: Available from: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/jhn.12546



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