What is Gluten?
Gluten is the general name given to the proteins found naturally in wheat, barley, rye and oats. If a person with coeliac disease eats foods containing gluten, an abnormal immune response occurs which causes damage to the lining of the small bowel. This damage affects the absorption of nutrients potentially leading to abdominal symptoms (e.g. diarrhoea, cramping or nausea), iron deficiency, osteoporosis, fertility problems and even lymphoma. If a person has coeliac disease, currently the only treatment is a strict gluten free diet for life, including care to avoid cross contamination.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is an acronym for four groups of short chain carbohydrate, or sugar molecules found naturally in wheat, barley, rye, honey, milk, legumes or certain fruits and vegetables. When people with IBS eat foods containing FODMAPs, instead of being absorbed in the small intestine, they pass through intact to the colon. During this process two processes occur:
Why the confusion?
This diagram shows that wheat contains both protein (gluten) and carbohydrates (FODMAPs). Although these are different molecules, they commonly occur in the same products. By removing wheat products from your diet, you actually remove both Gluten and FODMAPs. This means that it can be difficult to say with certainty if eliminating the gluten or the FODMAPs made the difference.
Where to from here?
Since there are many serious medical conditions, including Coeliac Disease, that can cause similar symptoms to IBS, it is important to visit your doctor and be tested for these. For tests to give accurate results, this must be done before commencing a gluten free diet. If all tests are negative, the next step is to see an Accredited Practising Dietitian to commence a low FODMAP diet.
Since FODMAPs are found in a large variety of foods and across many food groups, it can be tricky to know which foods are high FODMAP and which foods are low FODMAP. Downloading the FODMAP Friendly smartphone app and looking for the registered certification trademark on packaged foods, are the best ways to identify foods that can be eaten with confidence as part of a low FODMAP diet.
Being on a gluten free diet can be over restrictive, limit access to certain nutrient’s and is not necessary as part of a low FODMAP diet. It also will not guarantee that you are eating a low FODMAP diet.
Joanna & Marnie are gut health expert dietitians with the knowledge and skills to support you with personalised advice and gut health solutions. We consult privately in Melbourne’s inner south east and via Skype. To make an appointment or seek advice, you can call any of the consulting rooms directly or email us.
|Everyday Nutrition | The Gut Health Experts|
At Everyday Nutrition, our dietitians combine the very latest in nutrition science with extensive medical experience, enabling you to develop practical everyday strategies that will optimise health and well-being.
We aim to empower people to make the most of life and learn what new foods they can enjoy, rather then feeling like they are missing out.
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MDiet | Grad Cert Nutrition | BHSc
Accredited Practising Dietitian
MDiet | BSc (nutrition)
Accredited Practising Dietitian
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