There is much confusion around whether we can eat sourdough bread on the low Fodmap diet for irritable bowel syndrome. There is no simple yes or no answer because it depends on how it was made and what the ingredients are. Watch my video to find out how to eat sourdough bread safely on the diet.
This information and much, much more is included in my book, The Low Fodmap 6-Week Plan and Cookbook, which is available in all good bookstores and online.
Transcription of Sourdough Bread for IBS
Today I want to talk to you about sourdough bread. I get a lot of questions about this, and there is some confusion surrounding it. Traditional sourdough bread should really only contain three ingredients – flour, water, and salt. And it should not have any added yeast or enzymes. Certainly not any preservatives or emulsifiers or additives to speed up the baking process. Not for us. I mean, it doesn’t matter for someone else, but it matters for us with IBS. The traditional sourdough bread is made over a few days, and it’s a tradition that’s thousands and thousands of years old. But it is made from flour and water, and it can have some salt put in there too. And it’s left to ferment over several days. That’s how it used to be done. It is the actual flour itself that then cultures the yeast. It’s a natural process that happens. In the grain, you have something called lactobacilli, and that’s what then can be cultured to create the yeast. So this particular culture is then added to the dough. We know that sourdough has, what they call, a starter. That’s what the starter is. So it’s not yeast, but it’s a natural fermenting process. And this process releases gas, and that’s what makes the bread rise. But very slowly, and usually over a 24-hour period. And the longer, the better – especially for us – because so much of that fermentation has then taken place already.
So, why are some sourdough breads low FODMAP and some are not? It really depends on that fermenting process, and whether it’s been sped up or not. Much of the bread that you buy out there – if it’s not from a bakery, but it’s called sourdough – has been sped up by the addition of yeast. Or it hasn’t been done in a traditional way. And that won’t have enough of the fermentation happening. So that’s not going to be okay for us. It really has to be done the traditional way. So go to a bakery and ask them how they made it, and how long it took to make it as well. And it should be a question of days, not hours. But anyhow, which of the low-FODMAP breads, considering they’re made in the traditional way, are safe for us? The white wheat sourdough bread is low FODMAP at two slices, as long as it’s made in the traditional way. And that’s the same with spelt flour. That’s even better because that’s the old traditional flour, and it has less problems for us. But even the wheat at two slices is fine. But oat sourdough bread, we could get away with one slice, but probably not two of that one. So be careful of that. And exactly the same thing with the rye sourdough bread. That one actually should be avoided completely, whereas the oat sourdough bread is in the moderate category of FODMAPs. Rye sourdough bread is high FODMAP, so don’t consume that one. Go for a normal wheat sourdough bread – spelt or otherwise, prepared in the traditional way – and you can have two slices of that.