products still seems to confuse people when following the low FODMAP diet as people with IBS often report they can consume spelt without experiencing symptoms. So is spelt low FODMAP? Well yes and no is the short answer as it depends where in the world you get your spelt bread from, how much you eat, the percentage of spelt flour used and most importantly whether it was baked using the sourdough process.
When I asked Dr Jane Muir who works at Monash about spelt she said “We recommend sourdough spelt bread -the sourdough process will reduce fructans and is essential”.
So there you have it the sourdough process actually lowers the fructan content in spelt making the breads low FODMAP. At the FODMAP research team at King’s we actually recommend 100% sourdough spelt bread as a suitable low FODMAP option. However actually finding this bread product in the UK is the challenge!
Even so too much sourdough spelt bread can still have moderate amounts of fructans. The Monash low FODMAP app states 3 slices (when each slice weighs 26g) of sourdough spelt bread (brand 1) contains moderate amounts of GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides) and fuctans – both oligosaccharides.
It’s interesting that the sourdough spelt bread Monash tested contains GOS as this is usually found in legumes. Most likely the bread tested contained soya flour and the Monash app does mention to choose sourdough spelt bread with a high spelt percentage. In fact if you look at the previously published data on FODMAP content of spelt flour below, which I extracted from the Monash paper “Biesiekiersk et al 2011 Quantification of fructans, galacto-oligosacharides and other short-chain carbohydrates in processed grains and cereals“, you will see that 100% spelt flour contains only trace GOS in the form of raffinose while the 25% spelt flour contains 0.26g/100g of GOS in the form of raffinose.
I will assume the lower total fructan content is also because of the different grains used in the 25% spelt flour for which the blend of flours must have contained low levels of fructans.
By the way just in case you were interested the total fructan content of wheat bread in this study was 0.68g/100g of GOS. I know this doesn’t sound like much but this makes it high FODMAP.
So although spelt is naturally lower in fructans than wheat it still contains a certain degree of FODMAPs – mainly fructans if it is 100% spelt flour. This is why for example the Monash low FODMAP app recommends <74g cooked spelt pasta is low in FODMAPs. And why you must check the % of spelt flour – and what it is mixed with! Foods made with seplt flour will have different levels of fructans.
A word of warning for spelt lovers in the rest of the world, your local spelt flours will not have been tested for FODMAP content. The Monash researchers mention in their paper “It should be noted that all products used in the present study were sampled in Australia, and that food products from other countries may yield different results”
However if you have IBS and are consuming spelt breads and your symptoms are under control then you may have found a suitable spelt bread for you, everyone’s tolerance levels to FODMAPs will be different.
In general when consuming spelt bread just remember these rules:
- Choose 100% sourdough spelt bread
- Or sourdough spelt bread with a high % of spelt flour
- Or at least 100% spelt bread if not sourdough
- Do not eat more than 3 slices in one sitting!
Other useful articles:
If you can only read 5 articles on IBS & FODMAP this month make sure they are these……. (Two Dietitians Do The FODMAP Diet)
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