Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Are all spelt products low in FODMAPs?

 By Dr Jane Muir

We get many questions about spelt-containing products, so hopefully this piece helps to clarify when spelt-products can be part of a Low FODMAP diet.



Spelt is an ancient form of wheat.  It has a number of different characteristics to the modern wheat – one of the major ones being that the grains are hulled (a hard coat which has to be removed to release the grain for milling).  The hull protects the spelt grain from pests, disease and harsh climatic conditions. However, the hull has also introduced an extra step in the processing, as the removal of the hull is required to release the grain for milling.  This is probably one of the major reasons why modern wheats (‘free-thrashing’ where the grains are easily released) are more favoured by modern agriculture.  Nevertheless- the use of spelt is gaining in popularity worldwide.

Our FODMAP analysis of spelt has revealed that spelt flour tends to be lower in total FODMAPs than modern wheat (see Figure 1).   Both spelt and modern wheat tend to be higher in FODMAPs than the gluten-free flours (rice, cornflour, oat).



Figure 1. Total FODMAP content of common flours.



However, does this mean that bread made using spelt will meet our criteria for low FODMAP?  As you are probably aware- ‘processing’ has a major impact on FODMAP levels in foods.

Figure 2 shows some results for a typical serve of different types of bread. The highest levels of FODMAPs are for the ‘modern wheat’ and for ‘spelt’ that use - modern bread-making techniques. The lowest FODMAPs are for the spelt made using traditional sourdough methods of bread making. It is thought that during the long fermentation period the fermenting microorganisms such as the lactobacilli will use the FODMAPs in the spelt flour.  The gluten-free bread was also low- however gluten free breads are not made using sourdough techniques and the lower levels here are due to the low FODMAP content of the gluten-free flours.

Figure 2.  Total FODMAP content of one serve of bread: Spelt, wheat and gluten-free.



So where does spelt fit into the Low FODMAP diet story?
Spelt bread made using very traditional sourdough methods should be lower in FODMAP content and so suitable to have while following the Low FODMAP diet.  However this does not apply to all products made using spelt.


High Spelt products listed in the app.

In the app we have a spelt pasta listed- this is high FODMAP at a typical serve of 1 cup (cooked pasta).  At a reduced serve of 1/2 cup however, the rating changes to green- and this smaller serving size should be better tolerated.  We have also recently tested a spelt flakes - this was also high and so will have a red rating in the app with the next update.



So in summary- if you are going to have spelt- it may only be Low FODMAP if it is used in a traditional sourdough spelt bread product.






[Update: 14/4/15

Monash University launches the Monash University Low FODMAP Certification Program with x4 sourdough spelt breads certified. Read blogpost here & click here for website ]


32 comments:

  1. Great article! Thank you for helpful information. I'm new to the FODMAP diet. I'm glad to see that corn flour is low FODMAPS in relation to the other flours. I'm happy that corn tortillas might be a part of my diet now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is there a difference in FODMAP content between wholemeal and white spelt flours?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been making spelt soudough bread for a couple of years now because I can eat it without ill effects. I wish it were available for purchase! I'm curious about the FODMAP content of regular wheat sourdough. It should be much lower than regular wheat bread, but is it low enough?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, I just discovered Healthy Bake bread in Foodland. They do a Spelt Sourdough. http://www.healthybake.com.au/index.php?page=product_search&category=spelt

      Delete
    2. Hi Jasmine,
      Thanks for sharing your find! Although many of the spelt sourdough breads we test are low in FODMAPs per serve, the FODMAP content does depends on the sourdough fermentation methods used by the individual bread manufacturer. I would suggest trialling 1-2 slices of the bread with a meal and seeing if you have any symptoms.

      Regards, Lucy (Dietitian)
      The Monash low FODMAP team

      Delete
    3. Hi plot26,

      Your homemade bread sounds lovely!

      There are a few brands of spelt sourdough bread available which have recently been certified as low in FODMAPs by our new Monash University Certification Program, and these include breads by the brands Naturis Organics, Morpeth Sourdough and Bodhi's Bakehouse. Link here: http://bit.ly/1FODUok

      We have not yet tested any wheat sourdough breads, but suggest you try 1 slice with a meal and see how you respond.

      Regards, Lucy (Dietitian)

      Delete
  4. Can you enable sharing of your blog content via Pinterest? There doesn't seem to be an option for that.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Cornflour is shown as low FODMAP, however when I tried cornflour-based pasta it gave me dreadful pains. Also found that cornflakes were bad. In both cases definitely worse than wheat. I wonder why.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Thor,
      That is very interesting that you reacted to corn-based products which are usually well tolerated by people with IBS. I would suggest trying a gluten-free pasta made with rice or buckwheat rather than corn and an alternative breakfast cereal.

      Regards, Lucy (Dietitian)
      The Monash low FODMAP team.

      Delete
  7. There is a great spelt sourdough bread from Berlin Bakery. Here in NC I can find it at Whole Foods (in the freezer section). They say that it's made with traditional methods (true sourdough).

    ReplyDelete
  8. Do you have information about FODMAP content in sorghum? Sorghum is not in your app but often praised as a good gluten free alternative. (Of course gluten is not the problem but maybe as other gluten free grains sorghum is also low in fodmaps)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi BenniDeadlift,
      Good news for you - we have tested Sorghum flour & results will be in our next massive app update, which we expect to take place in about 1-2months time. Please stay tuned to see that!
      If you haven't yet heard about our app, see here: http://bit.ly/1PKfK3Y
      It contains the most comprehensive list of FODMAP tested foods & all proceeds goes towards further IBS research & more food testing.
      Kindly, Emily

      Delete
    2. Thank you! I already have bought your app :)

      Delete
    3. Hello! As of today, still not seeing sorghum flour on the app -any new info about it? Thanks!

      Delete
    4. Hi there, I also have the app and am interested in seeing sorghum added (not there yet). Another item I would be interested in seeing would be coconut nectar. There are several products by coconut secret that use this for a sweetener. Thanks for your app!

      Delete
    5. Hi There, I'm also very interested in seeing the results for sorghum as well as coconut nectar (coconut secret is a popular brand). Thanks!!

      Delete
  9. I notice on the app that 74g of spelt pasta should be tolerated (I'm unfamiliar with cup measuring) - I normally only eat 100g of pasta anyway, so a smaller serving should be okay?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Yes, a smaller serving should be tolerated fine, but if you find you're not triggering symptoms when eating 100g, there's no reason why you should not continue to do so.

      Remember, your low FODMAP diet only needs to be as strict as your symptoms require.

      Thanks,

      The Monash FODMAP team

      Delete
    2. Re cup measurements. 1 whole cup is one whole cup. Half a cup is half a cup 1/4 cup is 1/4 cup, hope this helps.

      Delete
  10. Hi. Thanks for your work on the diet which is helping me. I have only just learned that not all spelt is good and I would appreciate some advice on what to use instead of wholegrain flour and spelt flakes, respectively, when baking bread? Thank you very much, Thomas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Thomas, we have tested a lot of flours which you can access on our low FODMAP app including buckwheat, corn, maize millet, quinoa and rice the app also shows low FODMAP flakes which include quinoa and rice flakes. Hope this helps. Thanks, Shirley

      Delete
    2. Wondering whether spelt sourdough bread would still be low fodmap if the starter used was not based on spelt flour.

      Delete
  11. rudis spelt english muffins have this!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for app, finding it very useful., especially the weights. There is a bakery in Fremantle that make croissants from 100% spelt flour. Would the processing in that be enough to enable it possibly to be included in test stage? It's for a 9 yr old.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Does spelt sourdough bread require a spelt based starter, or can it be low fodmap using a non spelt starter?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi, what about when eaten as whole grains - is spelt low fodmap then?or lower than wheat berries ? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi I'm wondering if you've done any research on spelt grain/farro? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi,
    I was wondering if somebody here knows if it matters if the spelt sourdough bread is made with a specific sourdough. So, is it okay to use spelt flour together with a rye-sourdough to make a spelt sourdough bread?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  17. Is Soy Flour ok to eat on a Low FODMAP diet?
    Also, my local bakery makes a spelt (80%) sourdough which includes 20% wheat. Would this be ok to eat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susan,

      We have unfortunately not tested soy flour and therefore cannot comment on it's FODMAP content. With the bread that your local baker produces we would recommend that if you would like to include this in your regular diet then you may want to trial this bread for your tolerance. I have attached a blog on how to do this: http://fodmapmonash.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/testing-your-tolerance-to-untested-foods.html
      All the best,
      The Monash FODMAP team

      Delete
  18. Hello. I'm in my first week whith low fodmap diet. Can i use wheat starch on my homemade bread? I read in many sites that low fodmap diet allow to use it if it is gluten free. Thankyou very much!

    ReplyDelete