Sourdough bread on a low fodmap diet

Fructans are one of the subgroups that you have to restrict or reduce on a low FODMAP diet. They fall under oligosaccharides category and found in some fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans, but the majority of Americans consume fructans in the form of wheat that is contained in baked products. Bread is the most common food which contains fructans.

Sourdough bread may contain reduced amount of fructans

Did you know that sourdough bread can be easy on your digestive tract and save you a run to the restroom?

Fermentation is one of the ways to reduce the amount of FODMAPs in the product. It helps to break down carbohydrates, such as fructans, to the smaller units. The longer the fermentation process, the more of the carbohydrates are broken down reducing the amount of fructans in the product.

Many conventional bread makers use baker’s yeast as a source of leavening to promote fast fermentation. It helps the dough to rise more quickly and be ready for baking. It reduces the cost of operation and increases the revenue for the bread making company. Thus, many bread producing manufacturers add baker’s yeast to the dough to save some time and money.  

Sourdough bread is made with the “starter” or “culture” and contains wild yeast and bacteria that produce lactic acid during fermentation. These bacteria release the gas which helps to leaven the dough. This is the reason sourdough bread has a sour and tangy taste.

When choosing your bread, go for the one that has fewer ingredients, such as flour, water, salt and starter in the ingredient list. Sometimes manufacturers use a marketing tool and advertise bread as a sourdough, but still use baker’s yeast in the process. Even though sourdough culture makes it a sourdough bread, but by adding the yeast, the baker decreases the fermentation time, consequently reducing the time for the fructans to be reduced in quantity. Here is the confusion comes.

Yeast is a low FODMAP food and by adding it to the dough, the content of FODMAPs will not change much. The key is the time it takes for the dough to “prove”. Choose breads that have been leavened for at least 10 hours. If you buy your bread at a local bakery, ask the baker about fermentation process. If you get it at a grocery store, read the contact information on the label and get in touch with the the bread manufacturer.

Not all sourdough breads are considered a low FODMAP.  It depends on the type of flour and other components added to the dough. Some flours have higher FODMAP amount than others, such as in gluten-containing flours barley or rye. In addition, other ingredients high in FODMAP may also be added to dough, such as high fructose corn syrup, honey, inulin and others, therefore reading the ingredient list will help to identify possible triggers and avoid adverse symptoms. At the end, it all comes to individual tolerance level.

To check your tolerance, start with ½ a slice of the bread a day and increase the amount gradually paying attention to your symptoms. You can always choose a bread made from a different flour, such as oat or buckwheat. If you choose to make your own bread, there are bread-making machines available for purchase.


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