Have you ever asked yourself or your friend if Pectin is low Fodmap? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.
Pectin is a well-known plant-based fiber that offers similar gelling qualities to animal-based gelatin. It’s used in vegan desserts, sweets, and candies and has many health benefits.
For those who are embarking on a FODMAP diet, many will wonder if foods containing pectin are suitable for a low FODMAP diet plan?
So, is Pectin low Fodmap? Yes, Pectin on its own is considered low FODMAP, although it is most commonly used in foods alongside high levels of sugars and sweeteners. Sweets, desserts, and candies use pectin but are likely not suitable for someone on a low FODMAP diet. Also, pectin ferments easily which may cause excessive gas, bloating, or other intestinal discomforts in people with gut issues.
Of course, eating an apple is one of the best ways to consume pectin naturally, but when pectin is added to other foods and used as a gelling agent, it may cause more harm than good.
Pectin in its natural form is good for us, but when on a low FODMAP diet, it can be harder to ascertain what foods are suitable for a low FODMAP diet.
Table of Contents
What is FODMAP?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols and is a scientific diet that is commonly prescribed by dieticians and physicians to help identify and remove foods that cause digestive issues.
A FODMAP diet is most often prescribed to alleviate symptoms associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
People who experience some form of digestive distress (bloating, gas and flatulence, cramping, diarrhea, constipation) after eating should consult their local physician or a dietician who specializes in FODMAP diets to see if it is suitable for them.
How does a FODMAP diet work?
A FODMAP diet is considered a temporary eating plan that is incredibly restrictive, and it doesn’t always work for everyone.
It’s worth discussing a FODMAP diet strategy with an experienced FODMAP dietician before commencing the diet.
A low FODMAP diet includes foods that have been qualified through scientific evaluation.
FODMAP 3-stage process
A FODMAP diet uses a 3-stage procedure to identify and eliminate foods that cause a patient discomfort.
The three stages are:
1. Elimination stage – this stage removes all high FODMAP foods from your diet for around 4-6 days.
2. Challenge stage – The purpose of this phase is to determine which FODMAP foods trigger symptoms. The diet gradually reintroduces the six food groups listed below:
3. Integration stage – Foods that trigger gut issues are removed from a diet and a dietician provides you with nutritious alternative foods for a healthy balanced diet.
What is Pectin?
Pectin is a polysaccharide starch that’s found in many fruit and vegetable cell walls (skins) and is commonly used as a gelling agent, thickening agent, and stabilizer in a variety of foods.
Unlike gelatin, pectin is sourced entirely from plants and has a higher concentration in firmer fruits such as apples, citrus fruits, cherries, and berries.
Pectin is naturally found in many fresh fruits and vegetables and typical levels include:
- Apples 1–1.5%
- Apricots 1%
- Cherries 0.4%
- Oranges (flesh) 0.5–3.5%
- Carrots 1.4%
- Citrus peels 30%
Pectin is most commonly extracted from dried citrus peels or apple pomace, as these fruits contain the highest levels of pectin found naturally.
4 types of pectin
- High methoxyl (HM) pectin is the most common and is extracted from citrus fruit peels. It is most commonly labeled as ‘rapid set’ or ‘slow set’.
- Low methoxyl (LM) pectin is most commonly found in jams and jellies as it uses the sugars to solidify.
- Apple pectin is pectin that is made from apples and is used as a gelling agent, a thickening agent, as well as a food stabilizer. Apple pectin is full of healthy carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sodium, and copper. Apple pectin is used in medicine, in supplements, and in chews like throat lozenges.
- Pectin NH is a type of apple pectin that’s made from modified LM pectin. It is most commonly used for fruit glazes and fillings.
Pectin uses in foods
Pectin is available in liquid or powder form and is used in many foods. Pectin is most commonly found added to jams, jellies, and sweets or candies.
When pectin is cooked at high temperatures with acid and sugar, it forms a thick gelatinous texture.
It’s also used in desserts such as tarts, flans, and other baked desserts that require firming after the cooking process.
Pectin is a common ingredient supplement for recipes that require gelatin and is considered vegan as it is sourced entirely from fruit or plants.
Read also: Is Sunflower Lecithin Low Fodmap
Other uses of Pectin
Pectin is also found in small quantities in some medicines and formulas and has been found to have many health benefits.
Pectin has been proven to reduce and treat high cholesterol, prevent colon and prostate cancer, and is also used to treat diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Pectin is low FODMAP
While pectin found in natural foods (apples, citrus fruits, berries) is considered to be suitable for a low FODMAP diet, the processed foods that contain pectin are most often not suitable for a FODMAP diet.
Pectin is most commonly used in baked goods, desserts, and candies, all of which are high in sugar or sweeteners and not suitable for FODMAP diets.
Natural and artificial sugars and sweeteners are all linked to causing bloating and inflammation and can cause serious discomfort for people with pre-existing intestinal discomfort related issues such as IBS.
Pectin is a fiber
Pectin is considered a fermentable dietary fiber (FDF) and the term fermentable refers to the rate at which fiber is broken down by the gut.
This process takes place in the large intestine and has many health benefits including creating gut bacteria and other by-products.
Scientifically speaking, there are two very distinct differences when considering fermentable fibers and FODMAPs. Fiber is made of longer chains of sugars whereas FODMAPs are considerably shorter in the chain length.
This impacts the amount of gas made during the fermentation process and fermentable fibers are considered more stable and gradual.
In other words, people who struggle with gas, bloating, or other symptoms of IBS can see some benefits in consuming fermentable fibers such as pectin.
Pectin is considered low FODMAP and offers a number of health benefits for those who suffer from IBS or other intestinal discomfort symptoms.
Consuming pectin in processed foods should be avoided as in most cases, pectin is used as a gelling agent and has been mixed with high-sugar ingredients.
Absorbing pectin naturally from fruits such as apples, pears, or citrus fruits is considered healthy, however, anyone looking to undertake a low FODMAP diet should consult their dietician for dietary advice.
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