What exactly are oligosaccharides?
Oligosaccharides are the ‘O’ in FODMAP.
And April is IBS Awareness Month. Although most of us right now are probably thinking this April will go down as Coronovirus Quarantine Month. But what better time to learn right?
So I thought I’d dig deep into each FODMAP.
We already know FODMAP stands for:
Fermentable Oligiosaccharides Disaccharides Monsaccharides And Polyols
If you missed my post on FODMAPs, you can check it out here.
The ‘F’ in FODMAP is for fermentable. A ferment is defined as a group of living organisms that cause fermentation. These organisms can be certain bacteria, yeasts and mold. In this case, the fermentable carbohydrates are the sugars that are easily fermented in your gut. Those sugars would the “O”, the “D”, the “M’, and the “P”.
So let’s tackle the “O”. Oligosaccharides, often referred to as oligos, are made up of 3-10 monosaccharides or simple sugars. Oligos are unable to be absorbed by anyone because we all lack the enzyme to break them down. So they travel right through the small intestine on to the large instestine where they’re fermented by bacteria.
This process causes gas as a by-product for everyone but for someone who has IBS, this fermentation can cause pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. This is because people with IBS have highly senstive guts.
There are two types of oligos, fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).
What are fructans?
Fructans are large fructose molecules and a type of dietary fiber. But even though they’re made up of fructose molecules, they are structurally different than fructose. Are you with me?
Fructans are found in a wide variety foods including food commonly consumed such as wheat, onion, garlic and ripe bananas.
What are galacto-oligosacchardies (GOS)?
GOS, also refered to as galactans, are a type of carbohydrate made up of galactose and glucose. Galactans are naturally found in legumes, dairy products and some root vegetables.
Oligos have postive effects on gut bacteria and are considered prebitocs. If you remember my post on prebiotics and probiotics, prebiotics are the “food” for probitocs.
It’s importanct to remember, oligos are healthy for you. But because we all lack the enzyme to break these carbs down and if you have a sensitive gut you may want to limit the amount your are consuming.
This is where a low FODMAP diet may be right for you. This diet can help determine your sensitivity to fructans and oligos. 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 learn if a low FODMAP right is right for you.
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