If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you may decide to follow a low-FODMAP* diet. Eating a low-FODMAP diet requires replacing some of your daily foods. If you are used to using all-purpose white flour in your recipes, it will need to be set aside as it is high in fructans and GOS (2 families of FODMAPs). But then what can you replace it with?
When it comes to the FODMAP content of foods, MONASH University in Australia provides the recommendations. In their application, they indicate the amount of FODMAPs that can be found in many different foods. In general, they test the FODMAP content for portions consumed. For example, a peach is considered to be high in FODMAPs while an orange is low.
For flours, the concept of a portion is less obvious, and the only amount tested is 100g, which is rarely the amount consumed. It could therefore be that smaller quantities of flour are low in FODMAPs but without testing, it is impossible to say.
The following flours are high in FODMAPs: amaranth, wheat, chestnut, spelt, kamut, lupin, coconut, spelt, barley, and rye.
The following flours are low in FODMAPs: corn, millet, quinoa, rice, buckwheat, sorghum, and teff.
If you follow a low-FODMAP diet, it would therefore be best to prioritize these types of flour.
During the elimination phase we encourage you to respect your low-FODMAP diet to the letter. However, once your tolerances to the food families have been determined through the reintroduction tests, you may decide to test your personal tolerances to small amounts of these flours.
I would remind you that tolerances can change over time and that it is good to re-test families for which reintroduction tests have revealed a certain sensitivity.
If you want to bake a low-FODMAP version of your favorite muffins or cakes, you will have to adapt your recipes because the low-FODMAPs flours do not contain gluten and you must add xanthan or guar gum to get the right texture.
With time and some trial and error you will see that these flours offer plenty of options.
You could decide to make your own homemade mix or simplify your life by using ready-made flour blends to make your bread, pancakes, muffins… While they are easy to use, you must still remain vigilant before purchasing and read the list of ingredients.
It is important to remember that “gluten-free” does not mean FODMAP-free.
The usual flours based on wheat, rye, and barley, naturally contain gluten, a protein, and fructans as well as GOS, families of FODMAPs and therefore carbohydrates.
It is possible that some gluten-free products can also be FODMAP-free, but this is not always the case. In effect, a product labeled as gluten-free will not contain wheat, rye or barley flour but can absolutely contain certain FODMAPs such as honey, inulin and legume flour, among others.
If you are not celiac or do not have a gluten intolerance, you do not need to search for gluten-free products, you just need to make sure that they are FODMAP-free.
In Canada the following low-FODMAP flour blends are available:
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dusty with flour and discover new products.
*FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are partly responsible for causing symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For more info, read this article.