10 Foods to Avoid if You're on a Low FODMAP Diet
By Dr. Megan Rossi
Food is a common trigger of digestive issues. In particular, foods that are high in fermentable carbs can cause symptoms like gas, bloating and stomach pain.
A group of these carbs is known as FODMAPs and foods can be classified as either high or low in these carbs.
Restricting high-FODMAP foods can provide remarkable relief of gut symptoms, particularly in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This article discusses 10 common foods and ingredients that are high in FODMAPs.
What Does High-FODMAP Actually Mean?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. These are the scientific names for carbs that may cause digestive issues.
A food is categorized as high-FODMAP according to predefined cut-off levels (1).
Published cut-off levels suggest that a high-FODMAP food contains more than one of the following carbs (2):
- Oligosaccharides: 0.3 grams of either fructans or galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)
- Disaccharides: 4.0 grams of lactose
- Monosaccharides: 0.2 grams more fructose than glucose
- Polyols: 0.3 grams of either mannitol or sorbitol
It's also important to be aware that not everyone should avoid FODMAPs. In fact, FODMAPs are beneficial for most people.
To help decide whether restricting FODMAPs is right for you, read this article. Then, if you do decide to restrict them, make sure to look out for the following 10 foods.
This is because wheat is consumed in large quantities—not because it is a concentrated source of FODMAPs.
In fact, compared to the other nine sources discussed in this article, wheat contains one of the lowest amounts of FODMAPs by weight.
For this reason, foods that contain wheat as a minor ingredient, such as thickeners and flavorings, are considered low-FODMAP.
The most common sources of wheat include bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, biscuits and pastries.
Summary: Wheat is the main source of FODMAPs in the Western diet. However, it can be replaced with other, low-FODMAP whole grains.
Garlic is one of the most concentrated sources of FODMAPs.
Unfortunately, restricting garlic in your diet is notoriously difficult because it's added to many sauces, gravies and flavorings.
In processed food, garlic may be listed among the ingredients as flavoring or natural flavor. Therefore, you need to avoid these ingredients if you are following a strict low-FODMAP diet.
Fructans are the main type of FODMAP in garlic.
However, the quantity of fructans depends on whether the garlic is fresh or dried, as dried garlic contains about three times as many fructans as fresh garlic (6).
Despite being high in FODMAPs, garlic is associated with many health benefits. This is why it should only be avoided in FODMAP-sensitive people.
Summary: Garlic is one of the most concentrated sources of FODMAPs. However, garlic has many health benefits and should only be restricted in FODMAP-sensitive people.
By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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