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September 4, 2021

FODMAP diet: why Oyster Mushrooms are No. 1 for people with IBS

Have IBS & following the FODMAP diet? mushrooms have been off the menu (due to high levels of mannitol)... But, according to Monash University, Oyster mushrooms are safe to eat.

We have a bunch of customers following the FODMAP diet. They are trying to eliminate foods that do not agree with them. This strangely named diet (and the cool app) was developed by Monash Uni, in Melb. It’s a tool for helps people navigate their lives without the constant abdominal pain associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

The conversation with the FODMAP’ies usually goes like this. “I love mushrooms …but can’t eat them cause I have IBS and following the FODMAP diet”.  To which we reply, “WELL… did you know! Oyster mushrooms are categorised as low FODMAP, so yes! you can eat tons of them”.

Oyster Mushrooms are safe for IBS

For people with IBS, mushrooms have been off the menu. This is due to high levels of mannitol. However, according to Monash University, Oyster mushrooms are safe to eat.

Why are Oyster mushrooms No.1? because, in addition to being safe to eat, they are loaded with many many nutritional and health benefits. In fact, there are so many reasons I won’t list them individually here, but invite you to browse some of the articles below. Be warned, the fungi rabbit hole is long and deep, once you get started you may not stop. Also listed below are a bunch of delicious FODMAP friendly, Oyster Mushroom recipes.

The table below is from Monash University and lists many varieties of mushrooms. Most of which is not a good idea for people with IBS. Some are okay in a very small amount. However, the Oyster Mushroom is the only mushroom rated ‘safe’ as a meal-sized portion. So if you are a mushroom lover, or not: you may be just looking for some variety in the very strict phase of the diet – we have you covered.

Table of Mushrooms and their FODMAP score

GREEN means good; ORANGE, proceed with caution; RED means no!

Shiitake Mannitol 75g (4 mushrooms)
Shiitake Mannitol 15g (⅔ mushroom)
Shiitake Ok 10g Only in small amounts
Oyster Ok 75g (1 cup) 1kg contains moderate
amounts of sorbitol and
Portobello Mannitol 75g (1 mushroom)
Portobello Mannitol 15g (⅓ mushroom)
Portobello Ok 10g Only in small amounts
Button Mannitol/Fructans 75g (1 cup)
Button Mannitol 37g (½ cup)
Button Mannitol 10g (½ tablespoon)
Enoki Mannitol 75g (1 cup)
Enoki Mannitol 12g (3 mushrooms)
Champignons (canned) Ok 75g (6 mushrooms) 200g—moderate mannitol
Black Chantrelle (dried) Sorbitol 7g (¼ cup)
Black Chantrelle (dried) Ok 3g (⅛ cup) Only in small amounts
Shiitake (dried) Mannitol 15g (4 mushrooms)
Shiitake (dried) Ok 7g (2 mushrooms) Only in small amounts
Porcini (dried) Mannitol 30g (½ cup)
Porcini (dried) Mannitol 15g (2 tablespoons)
Porcini (dried) Ok 10g (1 tablespoon) Only in small amounts

What is a FODMAP?

“They are a group of sugars that are not completely digested or absorbed in our intestines. When they reach the small intestine, they move slowly, attracting water. When they pass into the large intestine, they are fermented by gut bacteria, producing gas as a result. The extra gas and water cause the intestinal wall to stretch and expand. Because people with IBS have a highly sensitive gut, ‘stretching’ the intestinal wall causes exaggerated sensations of pain and discomfort” – from Monash university

FODMAP is a simple way of saying – this very complicated scientific description – Fermentable-OligoDi-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. The term refers to any short-chain carbohydrate that can’t be absorbed efficiently by the small intestine. This includes…

  • Fructose: aka, fruit sugar. Fructose is often used to sweeten other foods, for instance, high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Fructans: This type of sugar is found in agave, wheat, garlic, and asparagus.
  • Lactose: Usually found in many dairy products.
  • Sugar alcohols: These are artificial sweeteners (e.g. sorbitol, xylitol, and maltitol) often found in soft drinks, gum, and mints.

Interestingly wheat is included as “bad” on the FODMAP list, but it’s not because of the gluten. That means a low-gluten or gluten-free diet may not solve your tummy issues if it’s related to IBS. This is because many types of gluten-free pasta and products are still made with high FODMAP grains. (source).

What is IBS, how do I know I got it?

IBS is a very common condition. However, if you are undiagnosed, you probably already know something’s not quite right down there. We recommend you go to a doctor for a diagnosis. All the same here is a list of common symptoms and general information.

  • It causes symptoms like bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhoea or constipation. This can come and go, over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time.
  • It is usually a lifelong ailment. So, it’s frustrating to live with at best, or it could make a very big impact on your ability to lead a normal life.
  • There is no ‘cure’ however, changes to your diet or medication can help. Personally, I would rather make changes than take medication.
  • The cause of IBS is unknown – In the past, it was linked to things like food passing through your gut too quickly or too slowly. Oversensitive nerves in your gut, stress and a family history of IBS. However, the work of Monash university in understanding the role of FODMAPS has offered relief to millions.

IBS and the FODMAP diet

If you have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or suspect an inflammatory digestive disorder, this diet is highly recommended. It has been developed by researchers at Monash University who are the world leaders in study IBS. It’s probably one of the few ‘diets’ that has been rigorously and scientifically tested.

IBS and its uniqueness to the individual

  • Each person is unique For instance, a high FODMAP food – like garlic – might trigger painful symptoms for a friend but not you.
  • Serving size matters. Some people with sensitivity may have to remove any items of high FODMAPs completely. While others (perhaps using the FODMAP app) may be able to identify only a few items that are responsible for their IBS. It’s really a matter of trial and error to find out what works and what triggers the flare-ups.

About Monash University

Monash University is the world’s authority on IBS. We recommend anyone who has stomach, issues and is not sure what could be causing it, check the resources on their website. They also have a great app to help people navigate the complexity of what they are eating. The impact on our gut, and ability to rule in, or out, foods that may be a problem.

Further reading

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