Fructans Facts and Speculations
A Fructan contains two kinds of soluble fiber, including oligofructose and inulin. It is a polymer of fructose elements. The Fructans are naturally found in some foods and it is added to several other foods to enhance the levels of the fiber content in the foods, and even if you add fructans to the foods it does not change the texture and taste of the food. Though fructans offer some health benefits, eating the fructans in a large amount may cause some unwanted side effects.
Eating foods that have the natural fructans can help you increase your intake of “less natural” fructan and also the quantity of overall fiber that you obtain in your diet, as natural food sources contain other fiber types as well as fructans.
Food sources with added Fructans:
It is told that many processed foods contain added fructans, particularly in the processed foods that contain high-fiber. You should check the ingredient label to see if your groceries contain fructooligosaccharides, oligosaccharides, inulin, scFOS, FOS, or any other foods that contain extra fructans. You must understand that in some foods even if there is not much fiber, such as ice creams or beverages, they still contain added fructans.
You should learn what type of fructans are ideal for the low FODMAP diet, but it can be at times complicated to understand. Fructans are found in many different types of foods, including vegetables, fruits, and cereal grains. You can also find fructans in processed food.
What are Fructans and what are the speculations?
Fructans again are polysaccharides and oligosaccharides, that accumulate carbohydrates in different types of vegetables including; artichokes, garlic, and onions. They are also in fruits like bananas and also found in cereals. The unripe bananas contain low-levels of fructans, which means you can eat it without any restrictions, but, in ripe bananas contain high fructans levels that raise the FODMAP level. In the short form of FODMAP, the fructans belong below the ‘O’ for oligosaccharides. The enzymes that are found in the human body required to break down the molecule chain of the fructose that means the fructans become malabsorbed in your small intestine. The bacteria in the intestines ferment the fructans, which further causes gas, reflux, bloating pain, and distorted bowel movements.
There are two forms of fructans:
- The shorter-chain length, which is between two and nine units are called Oligos-FOS (Fructo-Oligosaccharides)
- The second one is with longer-chain length, which is over ten units are known as Inulin.
Like said before, fructans contain the soluble fiber. Currently, the food manufacturing industry is adding fructans to processed food. This is because the inulin-type of fructans is measured as a functional ingredient that can improve fiber quantity in the processed food. The fermented fiber can easily increase the friendly bacteria inside the intestines, as it acts like probiotics. That is good for people with normal health, but it is not good for the individuals who are intolerant to FODMAPS. That is why it is crucial to check the labels and added fiber, substitutes for inulin, and other fructans before buying processed food.
Where are fructans found?
To store carbohydrates, plants use fructans, which means that the fructans are found in a large range of vegetables, fruits, and cereals. The foods, including beans, legumes, pulses, and some nuts contain high oligosaccharides. The major source of fructan is nothing but wheat, which means if you eat less wheat, automatically you can decrease the intake of fructan. Below you can find a list of FODMAP foods that are provided to you to understand and show how many types of foods contain fructans. For more information and a comprehensive list of the foods that contain fructan. ——
The High FODMAP foods that contain fructans:
If you have intolerant to fructans, then it is not necessary to avoid consuming all the foods that contain fructans as it can limit your intake of food and also you will not get a lot of useful nutrients through your diet.
The fructans are found in various types of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, some kinds of tea, and nuts. It also depends on the serving sizes of some foods and plants contain high fructans and some parts do not contain any content of fructans. Here you can find some of the foods that contain fructans:
Fruits: Grapefruit, Persimmon, Nectarine, Pomegranate, Plum, Some kind of dry fruits, Watermelon, Ripe Banana, Spring Onion Bulb, Onion, and Snow Peas.
Vegetables: Globe artichoke, Chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, Savoy Cabbage, Beetroot, Splet, Manage tout, and Lee-bulb.
Cereals: Pumpernicle bread, Rye, Kamut, Barley, and Wheat.
Different foods contain Different Fructan Levels:
It is also crucial to observe that the refining processes or cooking manufacturing companies and the food fermentation industry can change their FODMAP fructan levels and ratings. For instance, if you take a spelt sourdough-bread that has lower FODMAP level as it depends on the yeasts use the fructans at the time of fermentation process. The other reason for the changes in fructan levels is the fresh fruit contains different levels of fructans, but in the dry fruit, you will find different levels. This is because the drying procedure concentrates the sugar in the fruit and it can increase the level of fructan. The processing of cereal can also change the levels of fructans.
The fructan levels can differ hugely between different vegetables, fruits, and cereal grains. That means you should check a couple of foods in each of the dissimilar fructan group to find the tolerance levels. Lee Martin a FODMAP reintroduction specialist recommends that you should re-challenge each group of fructan separately.
If you start testing various fructan foods, which means you are going to find the levels of fructan that you can tolerate. This testing and the tolerance level can help you add some fructan foods into your diet.
Potential Health Benefits:
According to the study published in May 2005 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the oligofructose type of fructans acts as a probiotic that helps you increase the number of helpful probiotic bacteria in the intestine. It can help the individual to prevent recurrences of a type of diarrhea. The individual also experiences more fullness and feel less hunger when he/she eats the foods that contain oligofructose. Another study published in 2006 in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that Inulin-type of Fructan also offers several health benefits like improving the immune system and lowering the risk of colon cancer, improving magnesium absorption, lowering triglycerides, improving calcium, and lowering bad cholesterol levels.
Potential Side Effects:
If you eat a lot of fructan foods in your diet, then it may cause gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloat, and abdominal discomfort. These side effects you may get mostly if you take around 15grams of fructans per day. But, the study conducted in February 2013 and published in Diabetes Spectrum shows that 15gm of fructans is the minimum that you need for more health benefits. Another study published in June 2010 in Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that the people can tolerate 10milligrams of inulin fructans per day and less than five grams of oligofructose per day.
What are Galacto-oligosaccharides?
Galacto-oligosaccharides is known as oligogalactose, oligogalactosyllactose, oligolactose, or TOS (trans-galactooligosaccharides), it belongs to the prebiotics group. The prebiotics is considered as non-digestible ingredients of the food that constructively involve the host by activating the growth or activity of helpful bacteria in the colon. You can find GOS in viable products like food for both adults and infants.
Most of the times vegetarians take large amounts of Galatians as the increased consumptions of legumes provide a vital source of protein for vegetarians. The Galatian’s considerable dietary sources include legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and red kidney beans.
Fructose is a carbon monosaccharide molecule that is present naturally in different types of foods. The foods that are high in fructose, including vegetables, honey, and fruits, also enzymatically produced from HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) that is normally found in several soft drinks and food sweeteners can cause fructose intolerance when consumed in large quantity. According to USDA (The US Department of Agriculture), the consumption of HFCS has been increased over 1000 percent between 1970 and 1990, which means, the annual intake of fructose have increased in 1966 it was less than a ton, and in 2003 it raised to 8.8 million tons. The increase in fructose intake in the US has resulted in the increase in fructose intolerance and malabsorption.
Dietary intolerances to fructans, FODMAP, and fructose are common, but they are not identified and managed properly. The dietary intolerances came into limelight from past ten years because of the new mechanisms and knowledge to treat these conditions. The individuals who face these problems often experience unexplained belching, bloating, abdominal pain, gas, or diarrhea. On the internet, you can find latest researches, controversies, and discussions on these dietary intolerance foods, and also you can find guidelines and tips for controlling these dietary conditions.
To diagnose and manage these conditions, the breath testing is essential to find carbohydrate intolerance, particular in the Western population. The latest research shows that the FODMAP diet may be helpful in curing irritable bowel syndrome, and also research is required to find more food items that are rich in FODMAPs, and to evaluate the long-term safety and efficacy of dietary objects.
Diagnosis and Breath testing of fructose intolerance:
It is crucial to consider SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) as a reason for unsolved GI symptoms, specifically for hydrogen breath tests and methane, and check if the test shows positive with fructose and glucose. If the SIBO found the symptoms, then it can be treated with antibiotics before taking into the consideration of fructose intolerance.
Dietary management of fructan intolerance:
If you limit fructan intake in your diet, it may reduce symptoms of GI disorders. The studies show that around 24 percent of IBS patients might be intolerant to fructans. In one study it shows that the reducing fructose and fructan intake in the diet was found to lessen the symptoms in IBS patients. When the study conducted by reducing the intake of fructan alone found that the unexplained GI symptoms in the patient who doesn’t have any bacterial overgrowth, and who is not intolerant to fructose and lactose showed a major malabsorption of fructans and it indicated that the patient is intolerant to fructans. It clearly shows that more strong evidence is required to reveal the benefits of restricting fructans in functional GI disorder.
Which foods are rich in fructans?
The fructans that are found in some foods may not cause any issues, and in some foods, it can cause an issue, that is why it is very complicated to understand which foods are good and which are not. Also, the foods that are rich in fructans can be tolerant to some individuals as it depends on the individual tolerance concerns. It can also depend on the processing of the food.
The intake of food quantity also matters, for instance, if you eat two prunes, then the fructans are low, but if eat four at once then it makes the prunes rich in fructans. When it comes to garlic, and an even ½ clove of garlic is high in fructans. It also depends on the part of the plant that contains a high amount of fructans. For instance, if you eat leek leaves, it contains low fructans, but if you eat the bulb then it contains high fructans.
Do gluten free products contain fructans?
The grains contain protein gluten fructans. The grains that include rye, wheat and barley are rich in gluten and fructans. So If you avoid gluten-free products, then you can prevent activate your symptoms, but it does not always happen like that. For example, if you buy gluten-free pizza, it still contains fructans as it includes onion and garlic in the tomato sauce. If you order a gluten-free dessert, it still contains dates. Also, the fructan in some of the foods does not activate as there are various types of foods that can be very difficult to find out what you can eat and what you can avoid.