I’m really excited to share that for the past few months I’ve been using the Food Marble, a revolutionary device which measures hydrogen levels in your breath to see how well you digest certain foods. If foods are not very well digested, they will ferment, releasing more hydrogen (and likely to be causing bloating or other common IBS symptoms). It’s a really handy, pocket-sized digestive-tracking device, and has been featured in a number of well known publications. I was really eager to try it as it gave me the confidence to tackle reintroductions. I have reintroduced the odd food here and there, but with so many factors affecting my gut, I wanted the opportunity to look at data, and begin to understand more about my gut habits.
Alongside the device, there is an app where you can record what you eat, as well as symptoms, sleep and stress levels to build a picture around what might be causing a particular IBS flare up or patterns of discomfort. What I’m most excited about, is using this data to hopefully reintroduce foods, or find out more about my tolerance to certain FODMAPs. The apps screen can be seen below.
For the first couple of weeks, I used the app to record food, stress levels and symptoms and recorded breath tests to go alongside. For the majority of the time, my readings were low, which is what I’d expect when following a modified low FODMAP diet. The readings fluctuated, but on the whole remained low. When I was first starting out, I thought I’d eat a homemade hot cross bun to investigate my tolerance to sultanas. I took breath tests throughout the day to see the effects. At the start of the day, I had a low Hydrogen score of 2. An hour after eating, it lowered to 0.2 – which surprised me, I thought it would increase after the bun. Fortunately there were no ill effects, and the Food Marble showed low readings for the rest of the day. I was then happy to move onto the FODMAP challenges!
Once I was used to the device and in the habit of recording data on the app, I used the FODMAP test kit, which you can opt to purchase with the Food Marble. There are sachets of Sorbitol, Inulin, Lactose and Fructose to try, with a structured reintroduction process for each, led by the app. I started the reintroductions with fructose, particularly as I’d love to enjoy a wider variety of fruit in the summer months. I drank the sachet provided (with the equivalent fructose levels found in two apples) and recorded breath tests throughout the day. The app showed that my hydrogen levels gradually increased after consuming the sachet. I predicted this might happen as apples were one of the first foods that I ever found to upset me (I rarely ate them because of it!) I now know to continue consuming low levels of fructose in my diet. This will not stop me trying fructose-containing foods from time to time as gut tolerances can change, and I sometimes think the nutritional value of an apple is worth it now and again. Pink Lady apples have been shown to have lower levels of fructose, so I limit myself to half an apple sporadically.
Since the first FODMAP challenge, I’ve completed lactose, sorbitol and inulin. I had similar results for each of these as with the fructose, which again didn’t surprise me, as I am sensitive to the majority of FODMAPs. I’d be keen to try the challenges again in a few months time and compare the results, particularly after trialling a probiotic, or increased exercise, to see if this has a positive impact on my digestive function. I will also continue introducing portions of particular foods as I have had some success with small portions of baked beans (without onion or garlic), avocado and the odd wheat-based product. My issue with reintroductions is avoiding FODMAP stacking, where you have more than one FODMAP in a portion (or in a day) resulting in some unwelcome IBS symptoms. I will keep using the Food Marble to monitor this, and try to have a varied diet as possible.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Food Marble device, visit their website to find detailed scientific information on how it works, along with a number of reviews. Click here. If you’d like to give the device a try, you can get 15% off with the code ‘LOWFOD’ through this link.
Let me know if you’ve given this device a try, or if you have any questions at all, in the comments below. Or send me a message on my Instagram (@lowfodmapinspiration).
This post was written as part of a paid partnership with Food Marble, and contains affiliate links.