Okay, a large section of this article talks a fair bit about chemistry – but stay with me, I promise chemistry can be fun. There’s a lot of information available about the FODMAP diet, and at Macro Mike we are firm believers that education about, and customisation of, food and diet can lead to a better life. So, we want to help you navigate the sea of information to understand why our FODMAP certification could be of benefit to you, and what being FODMAP certified even means!
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. In biology the term saccharide means sugar, and with context to FODMAPs, the addition of oligo-, di- and mono-, means that the structure of the base sugar (saccharide) has changed and, generally, become more complex or bigger. Polyols, or sugar alcohols, are slightly more complex as they are composed of saccharide units, but also contain alcohol groups (this doesn’t mean they contain alcohol, it actually has to do with hydrogenation of the “building-block sugar”, but that’s a whole other article!).
These sugars are all found naturally within many foods. As they are carbohydrates, the main sources of these naturally occurring chemicals are foods that occur frequently within the human diet and have done so for thousands of years! Common sources of FODMAPS include foods containing fructose, lactose, fructans (found in grains), galactans (largely found in legumes) and artificial sweeteners (good sources of polyols).
"The reason the FODMAP diet has gained so much traction is that we are seeing the addition of high FODMAP ingredients into more and more of our food sources, and with that, the swell of intolerance to a broad range of food has also grown."
These fermentable sugars don’t cause problems for everyone; in fact, for most people FODMAPs pass through the digestive process completely unchanged and contribute to daily fibre intake only. However, in people who have sensitive or compromised digestion, or underlying digestive issues such as IBS, the FODMAPs are poorly digested and pass completely through the small intestine ending up in the colon. This is where the problem occurs.
When FODMAPS reach the colon, they then undergo fermentation by our body’s good and bad bacteria who use FODMAPS as fuel. Good bacteria that feed on FODMAPs produce methane gas in the gut; however some bacteria that feed on these sugars in the colon produce hydrogen gas that has been shown as the major cause of the painful gas, bloating, constipation and stomach cramps that so many people experience after eating. Reducing the amount of FODMAPs in the diet has been shown to reduce symptoms. Dieticians usually recommend a stepped elimination and re-introduction diet so that sufferers can identify which high FODMAP foods are linked to the worst symptoms they experience.
The low FODMAP diet can be different between individuals as it is based on what foods produce the worst symptoms for each person. It’s always important to speak to a professional before making major reductions in foods you’re eating, so don’t try and do this alone. Macro Mike products are largely FODMAP friendly, i.e.: We leave out nasty ingredients that have been shown to cause gut problems! We want our products to fill the void that food group elimination has left! We want you to have your cookies and eat them too! :)
"“My mission is to give back to anyone who ever feels they have ever had to restrict themselves from food; the most glorious natural resource we have on this planet.”
– Macro Mike