When you have IBS, social situations and alcohol can be a bit of a minefield. Beer is one alcoholic drink that is low FODMAP. According to the Monash University a serving of 1 can, or 375 ml of beer is low FODMAP. Most people who are following a low FODMAP diet can tolerate small amounts.
Broadly speaking, beer is any alcoholic drink made by fermenting grains. Most beers are made from fermented barley. Brewing begins with malt barley, which is barley that has been germinated and then roasted. The malt needs to be milled, so it’s rolled to crack the grains. It’s heated with water in a large kettle, known as a mash tun. After it’s been mashed, the starch in the malt has broken into more simple sugars. This is then known as wort, which is a sweet liquid.
The malt is then rinsed in a process called sparging, and strained. The leftovers are now known as spent grain, and is no longer needed for beer production. However, it can be used as an animal feed, or in some baking recipes.
The wort moves on to the next stage of production. It’s piped into a large tank, or brew kettle. Hops, which are green, cone shaped flowers, are added to the wort, and the mixture is boiled. The hops add a bitter flavor, and an aroma to the wort. Once the wort has been boiled, it’s cooled rapidly. It needs to cool to the right temperature to add yeast. Yeast is the single celled organisms that take care of the fermentation process. The yeast consumes the sugar in the wort, and releases carbon dioxide and alcohol as it does so.
Eventually, there is little sugar left for the yeast to consume, and as the mix becomes more alcoholic, it’s no longer a suitable environment for the yeast, so it slows down, or dies off. When this happens, the fermentation process is complete. The beer is then sent to a conditioning tank where it can age. This can last between a few days, to months, or even years, depending on the style of the beer.
FODMAPs And Beer
As beer is usually made from barley, it does contain some gluten. However, this is generally in very small amounts. Some people can tolerate the amount of gluten in beer, while others can’t, so you may need to experiment with different beers to find out which ones are suitable for you. Different beers are brewed using slightly different ingredients, and methods, and different brewers have their own ways of brewing, so one beer may cause an adverse reaction, while another one may be absolutely fine.
Alcohol of any kind is a gut stimulant, so you should always be careful when drinking alcohol. You can still have some alcohols on a low FODMAP diet, but you should limit your consumption to 1 or 2 glasses. Some people also report feelings of discomfort after drinking beer due to the carbonation.