Have you ever asked yourself or your friend if citric acid is low fodmap? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.
Venturing into the FODMAP diet journey can be very tricky to maintain and a clear understanding of which foods are considered low FODMAP is essential.
Most people are prescribed a low FODMAP diet to ease gut irritation symptoms such as IBS, and many complain that lemon is a cause of irritation. But what about other common food additives?
Many will wonder, is Citric acid low FODMAP? Yes, citric acid is considered low FODMAP. However, citric acid is commonly used as a flavoring and food preserver and is used extensively in high-sugar foods such as candies and sodas. These foods and beverages are not suitable for people on a low FODMAP diet and should be avoided as they may cause gut irritations, bloating, or inflammation.
So, if you’re prescribed a low FODMAP diet, how do you navigate which foods are low FODMAP and which aren’t?
Let’s take a look at the FODMAP diet and also find some of the best ways to ensure you stay on track when on a low FODMAP diet plan.
Table of Contents
What is FODMAP?
FODMAP is an acronym for a group of short-chain carbohydrates which some people have trouble ingesting.
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols and is a scientific diet that is commonly used to help people with digestive issues such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Most people who have experienced symptoms of digestive problems are prescribed a low FODMAP diet.
There are three phases to a FODMAP diet;
1. Elimination Phase – this phase removes all known high FODMAP foods from your diet for a period of up to 6 days. If removing FODMAPs improves your symptoms, you then move onto phase 2.
2. Challenge Phase (also known as the Reintroduction phase) – The purpose of this phase is to determine which FODMAP foods trigger your symptoms. The diet slowly reintroduces one of six food groups at a time.
- Galactans (GOS)
3. Integration Phase (also known as the Personalization phase) – Your personalized low FODMAP diet is modified.
Foods that are found to trigger gut issues are removed from the diet and a dietician provides you with alternative foods to give you the most beneficial and nutritious diet possible.
A FODMAP diet doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s always worth consulting a qualified and experienced dietician when planning your FODMAP journey.
There is a lot to consider and many foods may appear suitable when they are not.
How are foods tested for FODMAPs?
Most are lab tested and the information is supplied through registered FODMAP accredited dieticians. The FODMAP diet can be tricky to navigate and there are some tools available for people who are looking for low FODMAP foods.
The FIG app (Food Is Good) is one such example.
There are a host of foods available that have been tested and are labeled as low-FODMAP.
A majority of everyday foods have been tested, however, many food additives are not tested specifically for people with gut issues.
High and low FODMAP foods
There are some food additives that are known to cause irritation or inflammation of the gut and should be avoided for people on a low FODMAP diet.
Food additives to avoid on a low FODMAP diet:
One common sweetener that is found in many foods is glycerol. From all of the sugar polyols, glycerol is considered one of the easiest for the gut to absorb.
Glycerol is often found as the sweetening component of many sweet treats, alongside citric acid which is often used in the same treats as a flavoring agent.
Is citric acid high or low FODMAP?
While many who experience IBS or gut irritation symptoms avoid lemon as it can irritate these conditions and cause excessive reflux, citric acid is actually considered a low FODMAP food and can be consumed in moderation by those on the FODMAP diet.
Foods with citric acid
Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, limes, and lemons, and is what gives these fruits their sour taste.
Citric acid is also made as a food additive and uses a black mold (a fungus called ‘Aspergillus niger’) to make it synthetically.
Citric acid is commonly used as a flavoring or preserving agent, a cleaning agent, or a food supplement.
Manufactured citric acid is often more potent and is used to boost acidity, enhance flavor, and preserve ingredients.
Citric acid is most commonly found in sugary treats such as candies, soft drinks, sodas, and juices.
These types of foods and beverages are not considered low FODMAP due to the high quantities of sugars and/or artificial sweeteners that often cause intestinal irritation and inflammation.
Are all sweet treats with citric acid harmful to a low FODMAP diet?
No. There are some sweets and candies available that are considered low FODMAP and many contain citric acid as one of their key ingredients, either adding sweetness or sour flavorings.
It’s always worth consulting a dietician who is qualified and experienced with FODMAP diet plans when adding new foods.
Is citric acid healthy?
Yes, citric acid has a number of health benefits and functions for the body. Citric acid is naturally found in citrus fruits, and synthetic versions are produced from a type of black mold (fungus Aspergillus niger) and are added to foods, medicines, supplements, and cleaning agents.
Here are just a few well-known health benefits:
- Provides energy for the body – Citric acid causes a chemical reaction that metabolizes energy (also known as the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) or Krebs cycle) which helps the body transform food into energy.
- Enhanced absorption of nutrients – Citric acid enhances the bioavailability of specific minerals that allow our bodies to better absorb key nutrients in the foods we eat.
- Prevents and treats kidney stones – Citric acid (in the form of potassium citrate) is used to prevent and treat the formation of kidney stones.
Citric acid is naturally found in many citrus fruits and is made synthetically from black mold (Aspergillus niger).
It is considered a low FODMAP food additive and is suitable for those with IBS or other digestive issues.
Before consuming any new foods while on the FODMAP diet, it’s worth consulting an experienced FODMAP dietician as many foods that use citric acid as a flavoring or food preserver (sodas, candies) are not low FODMAP.
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