Gluten, Wheat Free Guide for Low Fodmap Diet

*The low-FODMAP diet is NOT a gluten-free diet.  It eliminates large amounts of fructans (FODMAPs) which are found in wheat, barley, and rye and products made from these grains.  Read this post for more clarification:

Learn the Differences of Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free for the Low-FODMAP Diet

If you have Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, Hashimoto’s Disease or Type 1 Diabetes and cannot have any gluten and are following the low-FODMAP diet, this post is for you.

Says expert, Expert Patsy Catsos, MS, RD: “Gluten-free diets are very popular right now for a wide variety of conditions. When you eliminate gluten, you also eliminate wheat products that contain fructans, one of the FODMAPS carbohydrates.”

For everyone else not needing to watch gluten intake – fructans and other FODMAPs, but NOT gluten are restricted on the Low FODMAP diet. You should aim to buy gluten-free grains (wheat-free).  If you do not need to follow a gluten-free diet, check the Monash FODMAP app or my grocery list for which foods you can have in limited quantities (such as wheat pasta, which is low-FODMAP at a 1/2 cup). Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center say you “do not need to follow a 100% gluten-free diet as the focus is on FODMAPs, not gluten.” You can buy gluten-free grains made with low-FODMAPs: potato, quinoa, rice or corn and avoid gluten-free grains made with high FODMAPs.  Also, gluten-free products are wheat-free and suitable for fructose malabsorption. Please still pay attention to possible fructose ingredients such as onion, honey, inulin and fruit.

So, back to the crowd of Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, Hashimoto’s Disease (me) and Type 1 Diabetes: Read this list to make sure you know which foods contain gluten.

As a refresher – what is gluten?  It is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. People with Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and some with Hashimoto’s Disease or Type 1 Diabetes should speak with their doctor about avoiding all foods that are made with these grains.

Gluten Free and the Low FODMAP Diet

People with celiac disease avoid far more foods than people on the low-FODMAP diet.  Celiacs have to stay away from the gluten protein which is found in a wide variety of foods and ingredients.  Celiacs need to avoid gluten because the protein can cause serious intestinal damage and could mean a trip to the hospital- exposure to gluten results in inflammation of the small intestine when any gluten is ingested. Cross-contamination is also a big deal and it’s harder for celiacs to eat out but thankfully gluten-free products made at 100% gluten-free facilities are more widely available.

*Also note that I have IBS as well as the auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s disease.  People like me have been told to also avoid gluten as many people that have Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism also have gluten-sensitivity.  

FODMAP – Fructans

Wheat has been said to be the largest source of fructans in food here in the U.S.  I believe it as I can name so many of these foods in a heartbeat!  The middle aisles of your grocery stores are filled with wheat products as well as highly processed foods.

On the low-FODMAP diet, wheat, barley and rye (which have gluten) contain the carbohydrate FODMAP fructans, so you are essentially negating a specific kind of carbohydrate in the wheat – you are not negating the gluten protein like celiacs need to.  Some people who thought prior to the low FODMAP diet that gluten was an issue find that it was just the fructans in wheat triggering symptoms.

Wheat, barley and rye are only problem ingredients if they are listed near the top of a food label.  If they are listed near the bottom, the food product should be safe with low amounts of FODMAPs.  On the low FODMAP diet you can have a 1/2 cup (74 grams) of wheat pasta but 2/3 cup becomes moderate in FODMAPs and 1 cup is high FODMAP.  You can have one slice wheat bread but 2 slices is high FODMAP.

Here is where you will find GLUTEN:

All wheat-based flours and ingredients

  • Wheat Bran
  • Wheat Germ
  • White Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Durum Wheat
  • Graham Flour
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale

Common foods with gluten and alternatives:

  • Bread – instead try: gluten-free breads.  
  • Cereals – instead try: gluten-free cereals, cornflakes, wheat-free muesli, porridge
  • Cookies, cakes – instead try: gluten-free cakes and mixes and flour-less cakes
  • Condiments, gravies, sauces – instead: make your own
  • Couscous – instead try: buckwheat, polenta, millet, sorghum
  • Flour Tortillas – instead try: corn tortillas
  • Muffins, pastries – there are some gluten-free versions but make sure you know all of the ingredients!
  • Pasta – instead try: gluten-free pasta, rice or pasta made from quinoa or rice

MORE Sources of GLUTEN

For celiacs, gluten can be found in ingredients like barley malt, malt vinegar, wheat starch, wheat thickeners and more. Gluten is found in some salad dressings, soy sauce, mustard (like wheat flour), mayonnaise, candy (like wheat flour), yogurt, spice mixes and seasonings. So these food items are dangerous for celiacs but most are not high in fructans and are suitable to include in a low-FODMAP diet.

  • Beer – opt for wine or clear alcohols instead.  Yes there are gluten-free beers, but beer should be avoided in general for anyone with digestive or inflammatory conditions.
  • Broth in soups and bouillon cubes
  • Candy – some more brands have been popping up lately, offering gluten-free candy.  Read the labels as always!
  • Fried foods – I stay away from fried foods anyhow.  Fried foods can cause IBS symptoms and are also full of saturated fat, and build up from saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats can cause hard deposits (plaque) to form in your arteries.  Many fried foods are made with Canola Oil, a GMO product. “In it’s hybridized and modified state (Canola Oil)
  • Imitation fish
  • Licorice – choose brands that do not contain wheat flour!
  • Matzo has gluten, but there is hope for gluten-free brands
  • Meat – many lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages contain wheat gluten.  As always when buying meat, buy organic!  I happen to like the Applegate Farms brand.
  • Modified Food Starch – ANYTHING modified should always be an automatic RED FLAG for you.
  • Oats – buy gluten-free oats as most commercially grown oats can become contaminated during growing, harvesting or processing.
  • Potato Chips (flavored) – some processed flavorings for potato chips contain wheat, barley or rye.  Stay on track with a clean diet and avoid potato chips.
  • Pickles – be wary of any pickles with malt vinegar or corn-based vinegar.
  • Salad Dressing – for those following the Low Fodmap Diet, it’s best to make your own dressing with olive oil, low fodmap herbs and vinegar.  If you find a dressing on the shelves that is not high in FODMAPs, make sure the dressing does not contain a thickening agent like modified food starch.
  • Soy sauce – many contain wheat.  If you’re going out for some sushi, keep a bottle of gluten-free soy sauce in your purse/bag!
  • Veggie Burgers – I love veggie burgers but many contain wheat gluten.  I checked out this recipe, it looks good but she does not list gluten-free oats or gluten-free soy sauce, so make the necessary changes: veggie burger recipe

Not all gluten-free products are low-FODMAP

When buying gluten free products you’ll need to read the food labels.  The type of high FODMAP ingredients that you will see in gluten-free foods are:

  • onions
  • garlic
  • pear juice, apple juice – or other high FODMAP juices often found in jellies and jams
  • honey
  • agave syrup
  • chicory, root chicory, chicory root fiber contain inulin (a carbohydrate fiber) – found in chocolate bars, breakfast bars, yogurt, ice cream, salad dressings and margarine
  • dried fruits and more.

An example of a food that contains gluten but is low in FODMAPs is spelt bread – it is suitable on the diet in low servings.  Oats are often times cross-contaminated with gluten. They can be in a celiac’s diet if they are selected from sources that guarantee a lack of contamination by wheat, rye or barley.

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