The Aubergine

Aubergines have to be my favourite vegetable. I love that they marry well with other vegetables such as tomato and potato. They have a velvety texture and a creamy taste and more than earn their title as the vegetarian steak.

Although in some quarters they are suggested to produce intolerance, as along with potato, peppers and tomato, the aubergine is a member of ‘the nightshade family’ or Solanaceae, a deadly associated name for a wonderful group of vegetables (and fruit, if you count the tomato, which is technically a fruit). We have little evidence for the problems of the ‘nightshade family’, concerning the above group of four as a whole, and why would you want to exclude these versatile vegetables from your diet? Some are however known as histamine producing – the aubergine and tomato – but histamine intolerance is a rare occurrence and can be identified by knowledgeable practitioners, plus aubergine is only classed as a moderate inducer. Another possible consideration for reactions to the Solanaceae group is the alkaloid solanine, which is found in green potatoes, so store your potatoes well, covered in the dark to avoid sprouting and this should not be a problem.

I have not had experience of the bitter flavour with aubergine so wouldn’t usually resort to salting them, but the above infographic is useful as once salted they will not absorb as much oil, so it might be worth taking the time to do it. Segnit’s flavour thesaurus matches the aubergine with walnut and tomato and a sprinkling of nutmeg. So, here is my recipe for you – please tell me how you like it!

Ingredients

1 aubergine

1 tablespoon of olive oil

100g carrots

1 tin of tomato

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

150g walnuts

150g of sharply flavoured cheese (if vegan you can use alternative vegan cheese here) but I used Manchego.

Method

Chop the vegetables and walnuts

Fry the spices in the oil to release their flavour.

Add the vegetables to a casserole dish with the tomatoes and mix in the spices and salt to taste

Cook for 1 hour at gas mark 6, 200 degrees C

Crumble the cheese, sprinkle on the top of the casserole and grill to melt

Serve with crusty bread (gluten free or otherwise for those following a low fodmap or gluten free diet.)

IBS digestive distress – is there a problem with bread?

Many people with IBS state that bread is a real issue in provoking symptoms. Is this true? What is it about bread that is the problem? This post aims to discuss the provocateurs of digestive distress in IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

Cited as sustenance – for example, the line ‘give us this day our daily bread’ in the Lord’s prayer – having access to bread was life for the poor in the past and bread is a staple food in the United Kingdom. The first piece of toast dripping in butter and a cup of tea after a period of fasting through having surgery is one time I recall, and bread was all the food I desired. How wonderful it tasted. The mouthfeel of gluten is undeniable and can be identified by those who do need to follow gluten, wheat or fructans free diet. I have identified it when I have infrequently made a mistake, as in ‘wow, this gluten-free bread tastes GREAT’ only to later realise my mistake at a cost and in fact it was the standard wheat based bread I had consumed!

The-Chemistry-of-Bread-MakingIn the past bread was made locally and bakers were part of the local community. When industrialisation arrived, bread, needed in large quantities as a staple food, soon was produced in factories, one of the possible reasons was because it was terrible work – bakers had to rise early and work hard to provide the daily loaf for their community. Is industrialisation the cause of bread symptoms? Many blame the Chorleywood bread making process and fast fermentation – but harking back to the bread of the past does not always leave a rosy glow. Adulterating food with cheap ingredients was commonplace in Victorian history, alum (aluminium salt) was added to the dough to improve it’s colour and was thought to be one cause of Rickets, by reducing the availability of phosphorus, leading to decreasing its absorption from the diet.

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So, let’s take a look at bread more closely. There are possibly a few protagonists for digestive discomfort after eating bread, and the reason may be different for individuals – we will now discuss some of those possible causes:

Resistant starch content

‘Resistant’ starch does what its name suggests – it resists digestion and is a component of fibre.  Produced by heating/cooling treatment, these resistant carbohydrates are based on wheat (and other) grains. Now for a little bit of chemistry, not too complicated, I promise. Starch is a crystalline polymer (think of a chain of a necklace containing many small beads, each small bead representing a sugar molecule, the necklace representing a polymer chain – a starch). Chains of the starch molecules closely line up on cooling, forming crystals within the bread matrix, links (imagine two or more necklace strings joined together) or bridges between the starch chains makes the structure a tightly packed area, where our digestive enzymes (amylases) can’t penetrate. The speed and repetition in cooling and heating will affect the amount of the resistance formed. Exposed to up to 20g of resistant starch per day from our diet some of the bacteria (amylolytic) in our large intestine may be able to ferment these crystalline resistant areas more successfully . IBS has alterations in the gut microbes, meaning that gut fermentation is a possible consequence and symptoms likely, in those people with IBS.

Research has shown that only certain types of bacteria are capable of digesting resistant starch of the form Bifidobacterium spp. and Clostridium butyricum but these types of study are limited. Consumption of these starches enriches the gut microbial populations with more of the microbes capable of breaking down the starch. We know that people with IBS have different populations of gut bacteria than the general public – a changing diet to improve symptoms is a possible cause of this difference.

Similar mechanism to the mechanism that causes issues from resistant starch – in other words poorly absorbed starch components causes these starches to be fermented in the large bowel resulting in symptoms when the colon is overly sensitive in IBS.

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Gluten

Gluten is a different component, and it is a protein, not a starch. Different mechanisms occur with proteins. During bread mixing initially, the gluten is softened by adding water to the flour, then kneading the bread with the salt that is added strengthens the gluten bonds gives a stretchy mixture, which traps air giving a better rise. Proteins tend to solidify when heated during baking, producing the tight structure or links between the protein molecules. Some research has found by blinding during trials that it does appear to be the fructans in wheat that result in the majority of problems for people with IBS. However is it still possible for individuals to have an issue with gluten? It does make you wonder, for those people who can tolerate all other fodmaps except wheat, whether this is, in fact, a non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. In my experience, most people following a low fodmap diet will go utterly gluten-free despite the fact that small amounts of wheat are tolerated well. Or perhaps the problem is a non-IgE wheat allergic reaction, or maybe natural toxins developed by the wheat is the problem…

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Wheat ATIs

Wheat amylase-trypsin inhibitors are proteins that are found naturally in wheat and are resistant to digestion and were developed by the plant to act as a defence against parasites and insects. They are activators of innate immunity and are suggested to lead to digestive symptoms by activating an immune reaction in the gut mucosa resulting in low levels of inflammation. Bioactivity of these proteins was found to be lower in spelt flour – often stated to be tolerated better for digestion. Is it possible that these ATI’s or gluten activate an immune response that then sensitises the colon leading to reactions to fodmaps?

The processing of wheat to produce bread, however, reduced ATI’s bioactivity up to 30-50%. But some people state bread is explicitly a problem so we should look at the manufacturing process specifically.

Chorleywood bread making process – the case for fructans?

All the above are commonly found in all wheat-based food, but bread is processed, what effects does this have? The Chorleywood process was developed in 1961 and improves production time reducing costs of bread production. This production method can also use a lower protein content flour, which was the type of flour available in the UK, to reduce costs of having to import flour with higher protein. The protein content in UK wheat has increased since this development, but this process is still used and widely disparaged as a cause of digestive distress.

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One fascinating study looked at the differences in symptoms between the general population and those with IBS and whether a longer fermentation would lead to lower gut fermentation and gas (1). Now, this study was tiny and was completed in vitro (it was not a controlled trial in human subjects, although human stool from volunteers was used) so, the conclusions would need further study. The Chorleywood process produced more gas more quickly, after simulated digestion. The more prolonged fermentation process also led to a higher level of bifidobacteria in the stool, the levels of these microbes are reduced in IBS. Bifidobacteria also produce less fermentation in the gut, suggesting increasing numbers compared with others may help reduce symptoms.

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So, the combination of less gas delivered more slowly and increasing commensal bacteria that produce less gas anyway, was suggested to equal better tolerance, which is perhaps a leap of faith to suggest that this reduction will reduce symptoms without it being tested in humans. Voila, testing in humans has been done (2)! A more extensive study in humans also looked at Chorleywood process compared with sourdough and showed that a more extended fermentation leads to the breakdown of ATI components and reduced fodmap levels BUT NO DIFFERENCE IN SYMPTOMS OF IBS. Both studies used constipated volunteers, so no difference there, the symptom production in the second study was reported to possibly be a nocebo effect – expecting symptoms due to previous experience. Which is possible, six slices per day is a considerable amount to consume for people who have an intolerance to wheat. Diet was excluded as a confounding factor but what is not clear is how the bread was eaten and whether this was different in the two groups – toasted, fresh, or frozen, perhaps taking us back to resistant starches? Also, about a third of people with constipation based IBS will have pelvic floor dyssynergia, which in theory could elicit symptoms that might not necessarily be helped by changes in the diet, if symptoms are severe. Both these studies were pilot studies and need further investigation on a broader population of people with IBS.

Yeast

For many people with IBS yeast is anecdotally reported to result in symptoms. We do not have any evidence that this is a problem and this has been dismissed by the medical establishment as a cause. No evidence means precisely that, we don’t know, so would it be an issue? Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a yeast, has been studied in improving IBS symptoms, so we have another situation of modulating the gut microbiota to improve symptoms. While we have absolutely no evidence that a low yeast diet is useful, in IBS treatment, it might lead to altering the microbiome and should not be advised, but this is an area indeed worthy of further study.

I think in conclusion, symptom inducement in IBS with bread is complicated and needs further study – with this detail of research required for one food item – is it any wonder that we have not got a cure for this medical condition?

  1. Adele Costabile, Sara Santarelli, Sandrine P. Claus, Jeremy Sanderson, Barry N. Hudspith, Jonathan Brostoff Alison Lovegrove, P R. Shewry, Hannah E. Jones, Andrew M. Whitley, Glenn R. Gibson (2014) Effect of Breadmaking Process on In Vitro Gut Microbiota Parameters in Irritable Bowel Syndrome PLOS one Volume 9 Issue 10 e111225
  2. Laatikainen R, Koskenpato J, Hongisto SM, Loponen J, Poussa T, Huang X, Sontag-Strohm T, Salmenkari H, Korpela R (2017) Pilot Study: Comparison of Sourdough Wheat Bread and Yeast-Fermented Wheat Bread in Individuals with Wheat Sensitivity and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 4;9(11). pii: E1215. doi: 10.3390/nu9111215.

Chicken goujons – low fodmap

What are goujons? They are small chicken fillets that are coated in breadcrumbs. They are fairly easy to make using gluten free breadcrumbs but it is important to use the correct ones for the low fodmap diet. Clearspring rice crumbs are probably the best option. Some gluten free breadcrumbs use a blend including gram flour – this is chickpea flour and is a source of GOS, it might be OK for some people with IBS because of the small portions of crumbs used to coat ingredients – but pure rice crumbs are better and they are wholegrain too – bonus for those with constipation! Hale and Hearty breadcrumbs contain inulin so this should not be used for a low fodmap diet. You can make your own breadcrumbs with gluten free bread if you wish, again choosing wholegrain bread to give the dish added fibre – a way of using up stale gluten free bread and fibre is great for gut health! For health this is a recipe to have occasionally as it is a fried dish – but suitable for those who are underweight as frying adds additional calories to the dish. Mayonnaise is another addition but take care with ones that say low fat mayo as these can have increased amount of skimmed milk powder – a source of lactose. So it has to be full fat and a small portion! The dish includes making your own garlic infused oil at the start of the process – follow this part of the recipe closely, slicing the garlic makes it easier to remove it all before frying the goujons, so you remove all the fructans included in the clove. Don’t be tempted to use a garlic crusher as you cannot then remove all the pieces. I have added the goujons to a gluten free pitta bread with salad leaves.

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Ingredients

Gluten free four (100g)

1 egg

Gluten Free Breadcrumbs (1/2 pack)

seasoning

1 pack of chicken mini breast fillets

Rapeseed oil – enough for frying

1 pack of gluten free pitta breads

Salad leaves of your choice (I used chard and radicchio but lettuce leaves are another option.)

1 clove of garlic.

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Method

Wash Hands.

Wash and chop the salad leaves and prepare the pitta bread and put these on a plate away from the work surface you are using to prepare the goujons. If you have work surfaces on either side of the oven this is good, you can use one side for raw chicken preparation and one for cooked. Do this before handling the raw chicken fillets.

Open the packet of chicken fillets and use immediately – please do not wash them, they don’t need it, plus washing raw chicken is a food poisoning hazard – it can easily spread bacteria around the kitchen.

Place the flour and seasoning on a plate, crack the egg and mix well with a fork on a plate and breadcrumbs on separate plates. Dip the chicken fillets into the flour first, then egg and then the breadcrumbs – coat each fillet well and don’t forget the edges.

When coated, pile them on a dish for frying later.

Clean work surfaces down and wash your hands again after handling raw chicken.

Slice the garlic clove (this is better than crushing as it makes it easier to remove the pieces before frying the chicken.)

Add oil to the pan and fry the clove quickly then remove all the pieces of garlic from the pan.

Add the chicken goujons and fry till golden. Don’t overload the pan as this will lead to steaming instead of frying and soggy breadcrumbs.

Add 2 slices of goujons to each pitta – makes 5.

Serve with green salad.

Peppermint and IBS

Peppermint has a history of being used as a treatment for IBS. It is even used as a medication in a capsule that ensures it reaches the digestive tract where it is most useful. Peppermint, or more precisely menthol, relaxes smooth muscle and as our bowel is composed of layers of muscle fibres, peppermint can help relax the spasms that are a common symptom of IBS. Menthol activates cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the mucosal tissues of the digestive tract, it is the primary source of the cooling sensation that follows the topical application of peppermint oil, this sensation is what is proposed to have an antispasmodic effect in IBS (Camilleri & Ford 2017)

Peppermint as a herb and food ingredient

So what about peppermint tea? There is no good systematic reviews or studies for this use of peppermint in IBS, but as a natural product it is less likely to have evidence, but some people do report that it does help them and they find it a useful to have means of including peppermint in the diet.

Peppermint is a suitable herb to use for the low fodmap diet. It can be used in low fodmap suitable recipes, such as the one below. According to Niki Segnit’s flavour thesaurus mint marries well with low fodmap foods such as peanut (particularly peanut butter – I am not convinced about this – but I am intrigued enough to give it a try) potato, beef, ginger, goats cheese, lamb, lime, melon (honeydew and cantaloupe), mackerel (and other oily fish), raspberry and strawberry. Not forgetting the ubiquitous marrying of dark chocolate and mint see a recipe here https://clinicalalimentary.blog/2017/11/24/chocolate-coated-peppermint-snow-peaks-low-fodmap-christmas-recipes/.

Warm feta and mint salad

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Ingredients

100g feta cheese

2 tablespoons pine nuts

200g cooked rice

25g finely chopped mint

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 pack of small courgettes (or 2 large courgettes -works just as well!)

Caper flowers and a tablespoon of pomegranate are used here to decorate

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Method

Add the oil to a frying pan then add the pine nuts, chopped mint and finely cut courgette

Fry till toasted then add the cooked rice and blend well

Add chopped feta at the end of cooking and mix to warm through

Note the lack of salt added – feta is quite a salty so it is more than enough seasoning for the dish.

Serve warm or cold – marries well with grilled meat or just as it is!

Peppermint in medications

I am a dietitian and any medications should really be discussed with your doctor but as peppermint is a common food ingredient I don’t necessarily see a problem in looking at the evidence of peppermints use as an antispasmodic agent.

Peppermint is more effective than placebo for treating IBS (number needed to treat 2.5 – Ford et al 2008) with small numbers of adverse events with this medication but not all the reviewed studies reported on these. (Khanna R, Macdonald JK & Levesque BG 2014) completed a more recent review of the use of peppermint in IBS and again a moderate level of evidence of effectiveness was the reviews result which included a combination of data from 726 patients with IBS. With more side effects in the peppermint group of patients reported by these reviewers, although no data was given in the abstract, the effects were reported to be transient and heartburn was reported as the most experienced side effect. A more recent review (Camilleri and Ford 2017) suggested effectiveness of peppermint as an antispasmodic, with moderate evidence but also gave safety concerns for peppermint of reflux, heartburn, dry mouth and belching – and peppermint taste – presumably through reflux? Plus smell (not sure how this would be adverse though – it is in fact quite a pleasant smell on the breath) (Camilleri and Ford 2017.)

Why am I not surprised that heartburn is a side effect for some people with IBS? It is quite common for people with IBS to experience some upper gastrointestinal symptoms. As such, reflux and heartburn are included as symptoms checked for when using the Kings College validated symptom checklist, which I use in clinic. Again peppermint is a smooth muscle relaxant – so would it not relax the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus, leading to reflux symptoms?

All studies reviewed the short term effectiveness and suggested that more studies in the long term use is needed. Should you try a peppermint based medication? Certainly do if your GP/gastroenterologist suggests it, and the evidence based from systematic reviews suggest it is effective. But if you do suffer from IBS and reflux, another antispasmodic option might be a better choice, discuss with your GP or pharmacist, who can advise on use of peppermint and suitable alternatives.

Does peppermint ever cause any problems with allergy/intolerances?

One case review reported on an anaphylaxis reaction due to an IgE mediated allergic reaction to peppermint (Bayat R, Borici-Mazi R 2014) – this is extremely rare. It is quite possible that other reactions may be causing symptoms for a very small number of people. Peppermint is a natural source of salicylate. Aspirin, as a form of salicylate, can occasionally cause allergic reactions, and people with aspirin allergy, asthma and nasal polyps can occasionally have a food hypersensitivity to foods naturally containing salicylate. This type of food reaction again is quite rare but symptoms could be mistaken for IBS. Do seek the help of a dietitian if you suspect this kind of food hypersensitivity, as often information about salicylate containing foods on the internet is often far too restrictive for any low salicylate diet to be implemented safely. Also it is often quite tricky to identify these reactions to foods so an experienced practitioner is important to seek advice from.

Chemistry-Salicylic-Acid
www.compoundchem.com

Alexander C Ford, Nicholas J Talley, Brennan M R Spiegel, Amy E Foxx-Orenstein, Lawrence Schiller, Eamonn M M Quigley, Paul Moayyedi, (2008) Effect of fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ. 2008; 337: a2313.

Khanna R, MacDonald JK, Levesque BG. (2014) Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2014 Jul;48(6):505-12.

Michael Camilleri and Alexander C. Ford (2017) Pharmacotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome J. Clin. Med. 2017, 6(11), 101; doi:10.3390/jcm6110101

Bayat R, Borici-Mazi R. (2014) A case of anaphylaxis to peppermint. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2014 Jan 28;10(1):6. doi: 10.1186/1710-1492-10-6.

 

 

Mini chocolate orange panettone – low fodmap

This is an ideal Christmas recipe for low fodmappers who want to have a festive bread without marzipan and probably one of the only bread recipes that I have managed to produce that has risen well! It is based on an enriched bead dough mix produced using a standard purchased bread flour.

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Recipe

250g gluten free bread flour

150g dark chocolate chips

2 teaspoons of orange oil

2 eggs

1 tablespoon of oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 pack of fast acting yeast

1 pinch of salt

1 small pinch of cream of tartar

50g of castor sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of cloves

1 teaspoon of ginger

1 teaspoon of mixed spice

400ml of warm water

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Method

Add the flour, spices salt and dark chocolate chips to a bowl, mix.

Separate the yolk from the white of the eggs.

To the white add a pinch of cream of tartar and whisk till peaks are formed, adding 25g of sugar half way through, then add the rest when soft peaks are formed.

To the yolks add the oil, vanilla and orange oil

Start adding the water to the dry ingredients and mix with a hand mixer. Then add the yolks.

Fold into the mix half the beaten egg whites quickly to slacken the mix. The gently fold in the rest of the egg white.

Add to bread tins and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise. Cook in a warm oven (200˚C, Fan 180˚C, 400˚F, Gas 6) for 30 minutes until cooked.

Coffee, caffeine and the complexities of digestion.

Struggling with sleep? Constantly wired? Have to dash to the toilet immediately after drinking your morning brew?

It’s possible that coffee is causing these symptoms. The caffeine contained in coffee is a gastrointestinal stimulant, this means caffeine increases the contractions that move the contents through the bowel, risking diarrhoea and urgency. For those with slower bowels (constipation) caffeine containing food and drinks may help you to go to the toilet, but caffeine does have other effects that should be considered.  For those with alternating symptoms it is worth tracking you caffeine intake through the day – you may find that intake might be the cause of problems. Black coffee is not a fodmap containing drink – but it can cause symptoms of IBS – so it is an important dietary factor to consider.

Many people with an overly sensitive digestive tract will experience symptoms with food and drinks high in caffeine, due to these exaggerated reflexes that occur with IBS. Older research suggests that for some people coffee can stimulate bowel function within 4 minutes of drinking it. This cannot possibly be a direct affect of coffee traveling through the bowel – but suggests that a pharmacological (drug like) affect or perhaps due to hormone stimulation?

Production of the hormone gastrin by the stomach is stimulated by coffee, which results in increased movement of the digestive system by the gastrocolic reflex (an involuntary and nearly instantaneous movement in response to a stimulus.) This reflex in some people is caused by the act of drinking coffee (the stimulus) and results in the bowels emptying to ‘make room’ for the next meal. This reflex can often be exaggerated in people who have problems with their bowels.

Coffee has a low osmolality of 58 osmol/Kg – meaning that drinking it black with no sugar can affect how quickly fluids pass from the digestive tract into the body – low osmolality drinks can result in fluids being absorbed more quickly. Drinking coffee with a meal could reduce these effects and so can adding milk/sugar (but sugar is not great for health) – so, having a breakfast of a cup of black coffee or a strong shot of espresso to kick start the day might not be too helpful for those with IBS.

Caffeine also has systemic effects on the body it is a bio-active compound – in other words – it can result in other symptoms in the body that might have consequences for people with IBS. IBS is also systemic condition, symptoms are not just confined to the digestive tract – see here for a comprehensive list of other symptoms https://www.theibsnetwork.org/have-i-got-ibs/what-is-ibs/. Not everyone has the experience of the stimulation of the nervous system as a result of large intakes of caffeine. If you are affected however caffeine can exert the following effects – increases in perception of alertness and wakefulness, palpitations, high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches and sometimes anxiety depending on individual tolerance.

Is it just the caffeine that is responsible in coffee for causing symptoms? Coffee contains many different compounds and whilst caffeine is responsible for some systemic effects there is little evidence that de-caffeinated coffee has and affects on the bowel – but some anecdotal evidence suggests that it might.

Coffee and the bladder

Some people also have bladder problems with IBS – urinary urgency and frequency can be affected by caffeine containing drinks. This is because they can relax the muscles in the pelvic floor.

Coffee, caffeine and sleep.

Health advice for sleep hygiene suggests that drinks containing caffeine should be limited a few hours before bed to avoid insomnia https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insomnia/self-help/ Poor sleep is also associated with IBS with up to 74% of people with IBS stating that sleep is a problem and insomnia can increase levels of pain and perception of pain the next day. It is worth trying to incorporate some aspects of sleep hygiene into your treatment, if this is a problem for you.

Where else is caffeine found?

It can be very easy to have a large amount of caffeine, as it is found in a number of different foods and drinks – here is a table taken from our book IBS -Dietary advice to calm your gut available here http://amzn.to/2yBk3u7:

Food Approximate caffeine content
Coffee expresso (small cup) 200 mg
Coffee filter (1 cup) 140 mg
Coffee instant (1 cup) 100 mg
Energy drinks (250ml) 80 mg
Tea (1 cup) 75 mg
Cola (330 ml can) 25 mg
Chocolate (dark 25g) 20 mg
Chocolate (milk 25g)* 10 mg

*Also contains lactose and fats, which can also induce symptoms.

Caffeine can also be found in medications – discuss with your doctor or pharmacist if you wish to cut down or change medications.

How do I reduce my intake?

Because coffee is a bioactive compound immediately stopping drinking it can cause symptoms in susceptible people. Symptoms of withdrawal start 12-24 hours after abstinence and can last for 2-9 days. Symptoms are headache, fatigue, depression, difficulty concentrating, irritability and ‘brain fog ‘.

So DO NOT be tempted to go cold turkey, if you are considering cutting down on your intake. Cutting down gradually is helpful for withdrawal effects, slow changes can also help with maintaining the changes you have made.

Try reducing your intake by half a cup a day over a seven day period. Ensure you have other fluids available to drink – water or squash for example, to keep hydrated. You could use decaf tea/coffee if you wish but this might be a problem for some people perhaps.

Don’t be tempted to use coffee weaning products – they are expensive and have no evidence that they work.