Over the last few years our Traditional Sourdough Spelt Bread has gotten attention from a fairly large group of people who follow/have followed a strict low FODMAP diet. For those of you who have never heard of this diet or who are a little intimidated by that acronym – have no fear! We’re going to dive into this relatively new style of eating and why it just might matter to you!
A low FODMAP diet is essentially an eating plan that helps control the gastrointestinal symptoms commonly associated with IBS aka irritable bowel syndrome(1). Research conducted by the Monash University Department of Gastroenterology research team discovered that IBS affects nearly 1 in 7 people worldwide. If I am being honest, that number was actually much higher than I anticipated. However, with that knowledge in hand, it makes sense that it would spur on the team at Monash University to find a way to help ease the pain and discomfort regularly experienced by this large group of IBS sufferers.
We’re going to dive into what the low FODMAP diet is but first, I want to make it clear that a low FODMAP diet (as is nearly any diet) is not intended to be a way of life. It is simply a tool. And one of the best things that I respect about the low FODMAP diet is that it is meant to identify IBS triggering food. Essentially, you start out strict for a few weeks and reintroduce foods to help you uncover your own personal tolerance to various FODMAP containing foods. But I am getting ahead of myself here.
Let’s start with breaking down that acronym:
Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols
According to Monash University, these are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are either poorly absorbed in the small intestine or are completely indigestible to IBS sufferers (1).
A few examples of high FODMAP containing foods (2) are:
Fructose – a simple sugar found in a variety of fruits and vegetables
Lactose – a carbohydrate found in dairy products
Fructans – found in many foods but significantly in grains like wheat, barley and Rye
Galactans – found in a significant amount of legumes
Polyols – sugar alcohols found in sweeteners like xylitol and sorbitol.
There are plenty of articles and guides out there on the variety of foods to avoid and how to properly follow a low FODMAP diet but we deal in Heirloom Spelt so let’s talk about why our Traditional Spelt Sourdough meets the general low FODMAP criteria and why this may be the reason “you just plain feel good” when eating it.
According to Monash University, the reasoning behind the magic of a Spelt Sourdough is twofold - having to do with the Spelt grain itself and the Sourdough process.
Heirloom Spelt, an ancient grain, has a notably lower fructan (FODMAP) content than modern wheat and is also lower in gluten according to Monash University (3). Spelt bread alone doesn’t qualify as a low FODMAP food but it does have a lower FODMAP content than modern wheat.
Now, let’s talk about the process of making a Sourdough. What we do is we allow our Sourdough Starter to sit and ferment for 24+ hours.It is during this fermentation process that the bacteria in the Sourdough Starter feeds on the carbohydrates in the flour and essentially begins breaking them down, resulting in a dough with a reduced FODMAP content (3). This may be a beautiful thing for IBS sufferers who haven’t been able to find a loaf of bread they can tolerate!
Then we add our Whole Grain Spelt Flour and Water to that Starter and let it proof for about 4+ hours.
So if you don’t necessarily suffer from IBS or haven’t been diagnosed but you find yourself marveling about why you can tolerate our Traditional Spelt Sourdough bread so well – it just might be because it has fewer FODMAPS than other breads!
Until next time!
3rd Generation of Berlin Natural Bakery
One final note on Sourdoughs: it is really important for you to understand that not every “sourdough” bread out there is a true, old fashioned sourdough. We have seen “sourdough” loaves that list “Sourdough” as a flavor. In fact, more recently, we’ve been seeing breads that claim to be a traditional Sourdough that actually add yeast as an ingredient!
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