What’s the difference between “fermentABLE carbs” and “fermentED” foods?
All carbohydrates are “fermentABLE”, meaning they can be metabolized for energy by microorganisms as food in the absence of air.
When I talk about fermentABLE carbs, I am generally referring to 5 types of hard to digest carbohydrates that tend to persist in the small intestine where they are often fermented by bacteria leading to gas and symptoms.
“FermentED foods”, on the other hand, have already undergone fermentation by bacteria and / or yeast outside the body as part of the fermentation process. This process consumes many of the carbohydrates: therefore, there are fewer fermentABLE carbs when you actually eat them.
Several benefits of consuming fermentED foods for digestion
1. Fermented foods are low Fermentation Potential (FP). They have few remaining fermentable carbs so you can expect fewer symptoms such as bloating, cramps, altered bowel habits, reflux, etc.
2. Fermented foods contain lactic acid, butyrate and other SCFAs which are healthy fats our body can utilize for energy.
3. Fermented foods still contain many nutrients including vitamins – early American settlers depended on fermented foods to survive the winters.
4. SCFAs are acidic which is beneficial for our small intestine. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that bacteria in our small intestine also produce which helps ward off bad bacteria.
Note: Acidic SCFAs also helps to extend the shelf life of fermented foods.
5. Fermented foods include some of the same species of bacteria that live in our intestines, especially small intestines. These bacteria can fortify our existing healthy small intestinal microbiota and help compete with bad or pathogenic bacteria.
6. Fermented diary helps with lactose intolerance because the bacteria produce the enzyme lactase.
If you look up the Fermentation Potential (FP) points in the food tables in the Fast Tract Digestion books and app for fermentED foods, you will notice that the points are much lower for fermentED foods compared to the starter foods from which they arose.