Using FoodMarble AIRE in Clinical Practice
I recently had a client that came to me with digestive complaints - she had been struggling with unpredictable bowel movements, bloating and abdominal pain for the last couple of years and had previously seen other health professionals but couldn’t get to the bottom of her symptoms. She ate a healthy and well-balanced diet but it lacked diversity as she feared new foods would exacerbate her symptoms.
While going through her food diary I noticed that fruits were not present in her diet, apart from blueberries on her breakfast porridge, and that caught my attention. When I asked the reason behind that she said she thought she could be fructose intolerant because whenever she ate fruits, her symptoms would get worse.
Fructose is one of the sugars naturally found in fruits, vegetables and honey - it is a simple sugar that is quickly absorbed into the body and does not require enzymes to be digested. We all have an upper limit of how much fructose we can handle in one sitting but for individuals that suffer with gastrointestinal problems, even small amounts can lead to symptoms like bloating and loose stools.
We all know fruits are packed with nutrients and make up part of a balanced diet so I was keen on finding out if she truly had an issue with fructose or if it was something else that was exacerbating her symptoms. I suggested we use the FoodMarble AIRE fructose challenge to assess how she responded to it and get precise data about her fermentation levels. Each fructose sachet challenge equates to two medium apples, and for individuals that struggle with digestive symptoms, this can be quite a lot to handle in one go - as she had a sensitive tummy, we took a gentle approach and customised the challenge to a smaller dose, the equivalent of one apple. Once the challenge was completed we actually found out that she did not have a problem with fructose at all - she was not only surprised by the results but also happy to find out she could go back to eating so many loved fruits she had been avoiding for years.
Although we ruled out the fructose issue, her symptoms were far from resolved and we had a lot of gut work to do but finding symptom relief is a priority for most of my clients so as a next step I suggested to challenge the other fermentable carbohydrates, also known as FODMAPs, and learn more about which foods were triggering her symptoms. Once all challenges were concluded, we learned that her main issue was inulin, a type of prebiotic fibre found in foods like garlic, onion, wheat, and oats, depending on the quantity. I then connected the dots and explained to her that although she thought fruits were the problem, it was the big portion of oats she was having for breakfast that was causing her symptoms, not the fruit in it! She then embarked on a low FODMAP diet reducing the foods that are high in inulin and we did months of gut repair in order to reestablish balance in her gut microbiome and eventually she was able to reintroduce inulin-rich foods back into her diet with minimal symptoms.
I am passionate about helping others bring more diversity to their diets but I know how daunting it can be - FoodMarble is a brilliant tool to give you a boost of confidence and learn more about your digestion while you dig deeper into the root cause of your digestive symptoms!