Are you following a low FODMAP diet to improve your gut health? There are some hidden FODMAPs that might not show up on the popular lists. Here are some of the lesser known FODMAPs that could be preventing you from achieving your optimal gastrointestinal function:
Chicken is generally not considered to be a FODMAP, but the wings might upset your gut more that the breast meat. This is because there is a higher bone and cartilage to meat ratio. Specific sugars (polysaccharides) leach out from the bones and cartilage into the meat which also contributes to its flavor. If you are on a low FODMAP diet, abstain from chicken wings for at least a week before you add them back into your diet, and pay attention to your digestion for the next twenty-four hours. Are you experiencing loose stools, cramping, stomach pain? If so, you may have uncovered a sensitivity to the polysaccharides in the connective tissues.
Collagen Protein Powder
When looking a low FODMAP diet, a lot of people overlook proteins. Unfortunately, proteins can also be fermentable (the “F” in FODMAP) and could harm your digestion. This is especially true for collagen protein, and especially true for people who have Pseudomonas overgrowth and should avoid collagen protein powder altogether. If you fall into this category, you should consider switching to an ultra-low lactose whey protein isolate.
Shellfish have an exoskeleton made from a material called chitin. Similar to chicken wings, when shellfish are cooked, compounds from the chitin leach into the meat giving the shellfish their delicious flavor. Unfortunately, their exoskeletons, which are mostly composed of N-acetyl glucosamine, also contain glucans which can upset your digestion if you are sensitive to high FODMAP foods. If you are following a low FODMAP diet, you may want to avoid the shrimp cocktail until you get your gut optimized.
Cheese is becoming ubiquitous in the American Standard Diet (SAD). You can find it on sandwiches, pizza, tacos, and even salad. It is becoming difficult to find a fast food entre that isn’t topped with cheese, but hopefully if you are on a low FODMAP diet, you are avoiding fast food anyway. Cheese contains proteins called caseins and are slow to digest. Digestive enzymes have a more difficult time breaking down protein from cheese into peptides and amino acids, and the fat content makes it even more difficult! If protein passes through the small intestine undigested, it can be a huge issue for your digestive health. Protein fermentation in the large intestine and colon could easily run your day, so please avoid cheese if you are on a low FODMAP diet.
More and more “natural” toothpastes are using a polyol (the “P” in FODMAP) called xylitol. You might think, but I don’t swallow my toothpaste, I spit it out in the sink, but xylitol is highly reactive to opportunistic bacteria. For people with severe gut issues, even a small amount of xylitol left on the teeth and gums could cause a reaction. If you use a toothpaste that contains xylitol, make sure to rinse out your mouth thoroughly with water.
Are you following a low FODMAP diet? Are there any foods that you now avoid that first surprised you? Tell us about your journey in optimizing your gastrointestinal health in the comment section below!