FODMAP Friendly with Dr. Sue Shepherd

Sue Shepherd, low fodmap, diet

Life as you know it, fellow FODMAPers, is about to change. The  world of FODMAPs is evolving! Yep that’s right, there’s a new FODMAP Friendly logo and it’s on our supermarket shelves right now!

If, like me, you suffer from fructose malabsorbtion or lactose intolerance (or have any other dietary requirements, for that matter) you’d understand what a confusing process grocery shopping can be. You know what you’re in for every time you head to the supermarket. Constantly reading every ingredient label with hope and persistence, trying to discover new food products, adamant that there has to be at least one tomato sauce brand without onion powder in it, and trying to decode exactly what they put into the infamous ‘dehydrated vegetables’. Even the pantry at home is not exempt. I find myself reading all the labels in the pantry because, let’s face it, occasionally a high fructose product slips past even the most well trained eye. 

As someone who has been following the Low FODMAP diet for two years now, my lovely readers would know how much I love it. It has certainly gotten so much easier for me over time. Awareness of fructose malapsorbtion and FODMAPs is continually increasing, making it easier for people to educate themselves about the choices they should be making. The Monash Uni low FODMAP App, Dr. Sue Shepherd’s cookbooks, the world of blogging and support groups – all very valuable resources! And now there’s a FODMAP Friendly food certification and logo that approved products will sport making it quicker to spot them on crowded supermarket shelves. Each product has been individually tested to ensure the levels of all the different types of FODMAPs (fructose, fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, sorbitol, mannitol and lactose) are in line with the FODMAP diet guidelines – guidelines that have been scientifically proven to help control IBS symptoms. Sounds spot on to me!

Dr. Sue Shepherd has been a driving force in developing the FODMAP Friendly food certification and has ever so kindly answered a few questions (keep reading, you won't be disappointed!). She is a wealth of knowledge and continues to educate and inspire, driving home the message that life with a food intolerance need not be bleak, rather, that health and vitality are only a few low FODMAP weeks away...

The FODMAP friendly logo is a fantastic initiative, how do you hope it will help fructose malaborbers like myself?
I’m very excited to launch the FODMAP Friendly logo! "FODMAP FRIENDLY" is the bright green logo that will be sure to make you smile if you have irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and follow the low FODMAP diet. This clever logo has already begun to appear on food products in Australia and soon will be seen on products globally.

Each product that uses the logo has been laboratory tested to be low in all FODMAPs (ie. excess fructose, lactose, fructans, GOS, mannitol and sorbitol) per serve of the food. In fact, the laboratory testing criteria used to determine if a food is suitable has been based on the levels used in the scientific studies that proved the low FODMAP diet helps relieve symptoms of IBS.

The FODMAP Friendly certification logo is ACCC-approved, it is audited and it has been registered around the world. The FODMAP Friendly certification logo is superior to a "fructose friendly" statement that is on some foods; this is because all FODMAPs can potentially trigger IBS symptoms - it is not only fructose that is the potential culprit. Also, "fructose friendly" has no definition and therefore you can't be guaranteed what levels are present.

So, the FODMAP Friendly certification logo is the logo you can trust to eat with confidence. Your taste buds will smile with the amazing flavours of FODMAP Friendly approved foods, and your tummy will thank you. The whole product has been tested to be "low FODMAP" per serve of food. The serving size is on the pack (in the nutrition information panel) and if you consume a serving size, it is low FODMAP (ie. "FODMAP Friendly). 

What was your motivation for developing the FODMAP friendly logo and how do you see it evolving in the future? 
In previous years, the only way to "guess" if a food was low FODMAP or not was to read ingredients lists. In real terms, however, this approach was often overly cautious and many people have ended up avoiding more foods than may have been unnecessary. Now that the FODMAP Friendly logo exists, you can rest assured and know it has been laboratory tested to be at an acceptable "low FODMAP" level per serve - this is great news. 

In the future, I expect to see it on more and more food products, across more and more countries!  I imagine that the low FODMAP (FODMAP Friendly) food trend will become the next global food trend, and my goal is to have it as well-known as gluten free. 

Why do you think it is so important to increase awareness around FODMAP friendly food?
Although we know that a low FODMAP diet is the most effective dietary management for minimising IBS symptoms, people can only achieve its maximum benefit if there are foods in the food supply that are low FODMAP.  So, although we know of individual ingredients that are low FODMAP, eg. carrots, banana, etc, often people wish to purchase packaged foods from supermarkets, etc, made up of many ingredients.  By spreading awareness of FODMAP Friendly food and the growing number of people demanding it, new manufacturers can come on board and make even more products that are “FODMAP Friendly” – therefore making the diet more varied and more accessible - increasing the enjoyment of shopping for the diet. 

 Also, spreading the word about FODMAP Friendly food is important as it will also spread the word about the low FODMAP diet and the fact there is an effective treatment plan for people who suffer IBS and fructose malabsorption. 

When you were involved in the development of a fructose malabsorption diet, what did you set out to achieve?
I have three major goals:  

1) To have you feeling well and have control over your symptoms

2) Have people enjoy as many foods as possible at the same time  

3) Finally, I want to improve people’s quality of life – I want them to feel understood.  I have met many people who have been house-bound, too scared to go out to a restaurant, unable to go to work, all due to their symptoms. It is terribly sad that symptoms can impact on quality of life so much. Many people have tried every drug therapy available and feel that there is nothing that can help them. I wanted people to feel that their symptoms are real, they are important and they can be managed.  An important fact is for them to understand how and why it is that FODMAPs can trigger symptoms.  Rather than just writing a “yes” and “no” food lists, I wanted people to understand WHY they experienced symptoms, so then the list of low and high FODMAP foods made sense. I believe that understanding the condition assists with making sense of the diet.   
I also like to stress the diet is the "low" FODMAP diet not a "NO" FODMAP diet.  Although we recommend a strict restriction of all FODMAPs in the first 6-8 weeks, to achieve symptom relief (step one), it is important to then “rechallenge” each FODMAP to determine your own individual FODMAP tolerance thresholds. Eg. some people can eat quite a lot of FODMAP-containing foods before they get symptoms, while some people are very sensitive and can only eat a small amount. However, people shouldn’t just assume they can’t tolerate any high-FODMAP foods, they should learn what their own individual situation is.

What is your number one piece of advice for newly diagnosed fructose malabsorbers?
I have two pieces of advice, if I may?


Firstly, double check with your GP that you don’t have coeliac disease. The symptoms are similar and people can have both conditions!  Don’t cut out wheat from your diet until you have been investigated for coeliac disease – trust me, I have seen people have a missed coeliac disease diagnosis often!

Secondly, undertake the diet in consultation with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (www.daa.asn.au or www.shepherdworks.com.au) experienced in the low FODMAP diet. Dietitians are nutrition experts and will explain to you the two step process of the low FODMAP diet. They will make sure that your diet is nutritionally adequate and you are not cutting out foods unnecessarily – they will teach you how to read labels and will describe to you which foods are low and high in FODMAPs. They might even recommend one of my cookbooks! (more details at www.shepherdworks.com.au). 

So there you have it. Many FODMAP Friendly things to come. Check out the website www.fodmap.com for more information.

Don't forget to let me know what you think about this new FODMAP certification in the comments section below, and most importantly, what products would you like to see with this logo!??

Enjoy.

14 comments:

  1. Bread, I miss Bread the most, I've tried gluten free bread and reacted to 422.

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    1. Oh what a shame. I felt the same at the beginning, not being able to eat bread was so hard. I have been fortunate enough to find a few that I love and can tolerate. Spelt bread is my favourite (if you live in Melbourne area you should check out Healthybake www.healthybake.com.au, they are organic too so shouldnt be any 422). Keep trying! There's lots of different grains/flours like millet and oat that are worth a try :)
      Best, Steph x

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  2. Dips and spreads would be handy! So many nasties is those products.

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    1. Definitely Robbie, that would be great. There can be lots of those hidden garlic and onions in dips and spreads!
      Steph x

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  3. Sauces and curry pastes - although I'm not convinced there are any fodmap friendly curry pastes out there :S maybe one day!

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    1. I'd love that! Until then we'll just have to keep making our own ;)
      Steph x

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  4. Any gluten free quick meal products (ie - crumbed frozen chicken/fish fillets etc from the freezer). Being a coeliac & restricted to gluten free products - it's frustrating when everything gluten free in a packet contains GARLIC & ONION!! :-) Also as someone mentioned above, I would love to be able to buy a pasta sauce or Thai curry paste that was FODMAP friendly!! I miss those foods!!

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  5. I hear you! There's so many wonderful gluten free products out there but somehow onion and garlic too often slip in :( wouldbe great to see FODMAP Friendly GF ravioli & sausage rolls too.
    You will be pleased to know though, Bayview frozen crumbed fish & chicken is one of the first manufacturers to have FODMAP Friendly certified food! http://fodmap.com/bayview-new-fodmap-friendly-products/
    Let me know if you try them ;)
    Steph x

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  6. I was told by one of Dr Sue Sheppard's dieticians that if a product contains garlic that is listed as less than 5% of the overall product then it is okay to have on a Low FODMAP diet. Raguletto make a pasta sauce - Basil & Red Wine, which according to the ingredients list is shown after 0.6% basil which is considerably less than 5%. I am on a Low FODMAP diet and my son a Gluten Free diet and we both are able to have this product. I hope this is of some help to those looking for a pasta sauce.

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    1. That's great to know! I often stay completely away from garlic because it's hard to know the % but how handy for this product. Thanks so much for the comment.
      Steph x

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  7. Nice article Steph. Great to see some comments from Sue Shepherd too. I had to trial a Low FODMAPS diet (I wasn't the final diagnosis) but I can understand the difficulties people go through. Thanks for such an engaging post.

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    1. Thanks, that's very kind of you. Really glad you enjoyed the post.
      Steph x

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    2. Pleasure - we used you for inspiration! Here is an article we wrote on low FODMAPs. It links back here http://www.deglutenous.com/being-gluten-free/low-fodmap-diet. We also had a go with some Well and Good products (FODMAP friendly) and the results were good! http://www.deglutenous.com/blog/well-and-good-gluten-free-sponge-cake

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    3. Great post! And that sponge cake you made looks so beautiful and delicious!

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