Seitan is a popular meat substitute for those on a plant based or vegan diet. However, if you are suffering with IBS, you may be wondering whether this food will flare your symptoms due to its relationship with wheat and gluten.
In this article, I look at the science to provide advice as to whether you should or should not be including seitan as part of an IBS friendly diet.
What Is Seitan?
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Seitan is wheat gluten which has been extracted and used as a food. Originating from China, seitan is now popular worldwide with those who follow a vegan diet
To make seitan, wheat flour is first washed. This process removes all the starch granules, leaving seitan which has a rather sticky elastic appearance.
Is Seitan Low FODMAP?
FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates which can cause symptoms in those who have IBS.
Seitan is not a FODMAP , it is a protein and not a carbohydrate. You may find this confusing as the low FODMAP diet asks you to avoid wheat and you may need to switch to some gluten free products. This is because wheat contains a carbohydrate FODMAP called fructan. It is not because of the gluten protein as this is not a trigger in IBS.
Although Seitan is not high in FODMAPs naturally, be aware of shop bought products which often contain garlic. Always read the label!
Is Seitan Gluten Free?
No it is not! It is basically gluten extracted from wheat. So those with coeliac disease or a wheat allergy – stay clear!
The Nutritional Content of Seitan
Seitan is a great source of plant based protein for those who follow a vegan diet or those who want to have a more plant based diet in general (1).
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Is Seitan Healthy and Safe?
Yes! This food is an amazing thing to add to your diet for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is a great source of plant protein, which is especially important for those following a vegan diet. Secondly, it is much better for the environment to base your diet around plant sources of protein rather than animal protein each day.
How To Use It
Seitan is very versatile and absorbs flavours easily, making it a perfect option for those looking for a plant-based protein source.
The best ways to use this plant-based meat alternative would be in dishes which traditionally use meat. Things like skewers loaded with veggies, curry and roast dinners are simple ideas that work well with this food.
Seitan is wheat gluten that is used commonly by those following a vegan diet. Its high protein content means that it makes for the perfect plant-based protein source. Those who have IBS should also be able to enjoy this food as it naturally contains no FODMAPs.
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.