No it’s not. It’s a myth that the low FODMAP diet is a sugar free diet. The low FODMAP diet looks at reducing our intake of certain food molecules called short chain carbohydrates. So where is the confusion coming from when we look at sugar?
Table of Contents
- What are FODMAPs?
- Does white sugar contain FODMAPs?
- Can sugar be used on the low FODMAP diet?
- Are sugar free diet sweeteners okay on the low FODMAP diet?
- Is sugar used in A Little Bit Yummy recipes?
- Do you recommend sugar free diets?
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates that feed our gut bacteria. Sometimes we referred to them as fermentable sugars. FODMAPs occur naturally in a wide range of grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and can be added to manufactured products too.
The FODMAP acronym is broken down into Fermentable, Oligosaccharides (GOS & fructans), Disaccharides (lactose), Monosaccharides (excess fructose), and Polyols (sorbitol and mannitol).
When these FODMAP carbohydrates get fermented by our gut bacteria they can trigger symptoms like excess gas, bloating, distension, abdominal pain and diarrhoea or constipation for some people.
Does white sugar contain FODMAPs?
White sugar is made up of equal amounts of glucose and fructose. Technically that makes it a disaccharide but it isn’t high FODMAP.
When looking at the low FODMAP diet we are only interested in excess fructose. This is when there is more fructose than glucose in a food. Glucose helps your body absorb fructose before it reaches the large intestine.
When there is more fructose than glucose, people who are fructose intolerant can’t absorb the extra fructose. The extra fructose then travels through the digestive tract and into the large intestine where it is fermented by gut bacteria and can trigger symptoms for some people.
Can sugar be used on the low FODMAP diet?
According to Monash University, the lead researchers of the low FODMAP diet, foods like white sugar, brown sugar, caster/fine sugar, powdered/icing/confectioners sugar, maple syrup and rice malt syrup do not contain excess fructose. This means they are generally well tolerated and can be used in low FODMAP recipes.
You can read our full guide on low FODMAP sugars and sweeteners here.
Are sugar free diet sweeteners okay on the low FODMAP diet?
Be careful with sweeteners like honey, agave syrup, fructose, inulin/chicory root, sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, and isomalt. These are all high FODMAP sweeteners that are often found in low sugar, refined sugar free, or sugar free foods. The above sweeteners have the potential to trigger symptoms and should be avoided until you test your tolerance to each of the FODMAP groups.
Is sugar used in A Little Bit Yummy recipes?
Yes, we use low FODMAP sugar options in our recipes. We promise we won’t use any ingredient unless we have science showing that it’s suitable for the low FODMAP phase.
Do you recommend sugar free diets?
The short answer to this question is no. Research shows us that most diets don’t work for weight loss after one year and that people who try them often end up regaining the weight.
This means that cutting out one food group is never going to be the answer for sustainable weight loss.
Instead, we believe in inclusivity and avoiding diet mentalities when thinking about your diet. We’d like you to focus on getting your 7+ a day – that’s 2 handfuls of low FODMAP fruit + 5 handfuls of low FODMAP vegetables. That means most of the time half of your plate should be vegetables, a quarter of your plate carbohydrates (think rice, gluten free pasta, potato), and a quarter of your plate lean protein.
We’d also suggest you aim for 7-8 hours sleep per night and to get in your exercise too.
If you can hit those healthy living strategies then you are well on your way to nourishing your body. Also if eating a piece of cake or enjoying a cookie helps you nurture your soul then we’re on board with that too (just eat your veggies first!).
We understand that losing weight or even needing to gain weight can be challenging. If possible think about investing in a session with a dietitian who can help you create a sustainable eating plan for your body.
Hopefully, you’re no longer wondering if the low FODMAP diet is a sugar free diet. As you can see there are plenty of low FODMAP sugar options you can use in your cooking and baking if you choose.