What are disaccharides?
Disaccharides are the ‘D’ in FODMAP.
Last week was all about oligosaccharides, this week it’s all about disacharides.
Did you miss last week’s post? You can check it out here.
We learned last week that oligosaccharides are made up of 3-10 monosaccharides or simple sugars. Dissaccharides are made up of 2 monosaccharides or simple sugars.
There are three types of disaccharides: lactose, maltose, and sucrose. Of these, only lactose is considered a FODMAP.
What is lactose?
Lactose is the primary sugar found in milk and dairy. It’s composed of two simple sugars, glucose and galactose. The enzyme required to breakdown lactose is called lactase. Once lactose is broken down it can easily be absorbed and used for energy.
Many people do not produce enough of the lactase enzyme to break down lactose. This means undigested lactose travels to your large intestine where it’s attacked by gut bacteria. This “attack” can cause symptoms such as gas, bloating, pain and diarrhea. This is called lactose intolerance.
What is the role of lactose?
Lactose, which is composed of glucose and galactose, is used for energy by the body. Glucose can be found in many types of foods but lactose is the only source of galactose. Research has shown lactose enhances calcium absorption and may potentially be a prebiotic.
Where is lactose found?
Lactose is found in milk and milk products. This includes milk from cows, goats, and sheep as well as yogurt, certain cheeses, and ice cream. Milk contains the highest amounts of lactose unless it has had a lactase enzyme added to it making it a lactose-free milk.
Disacharides function is to provide the body with a quick source of energy.
Lactose, one of the three types of disaccharides, is considered a FODMAP. When someone lacks enough of the enzyme lactase, consumption of lactose can cause digestive discomfort. These symptoms are very similar to IBS symptoms.
Unless you know for sure you’re not lactose intolerant, limiting lactose can help determine whether these high FODMAP foods are causing your symptoms.
This is where a low FODMAP diet may be right for you. This diet can help determine your sensitivity to disaccharides. Once you’ve figured out what you can tolerate, you’ll be able to add small servings of these foods back into your diet.
Contact me to determine if the low FODMAP diet is right for you.
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