We tried a fermentation-tracking device and highly recommend it if you have bad digestive reactions to certain foods
- FoodMarble AIRE is a breath-analysis device that tracks your fermentation levels.
- For some people, too much fermentation can cause digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
- Foods containing high FODMAPs could be a reason for the negative symptoms.
- We had four people try this device to see if it would help them figure out what's causing their negative symptoms.
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Following is a transcript of the video.
Michelle Yan: Burping, farting, bloating, diarrhea: We all experience these things. Some may know exactly what foods are causing them these problems, but others may not. Sure, generic lists on Google may help, but they're not personal or quantifiable enough. This device, called FoodMarble AIRE, may give you a clearer idea of exactly what foods are causing your discomfort.
Kara Chin: My digestive problems include...Gene Kim: Feeling gassy all the time.
Abby Narishkin: Constipation.
Manny Ocbazghi: Sharp pains in my stomach.
Gene: And also violent diarrhea.
Michelle: So what exactly is this device?James Brief: FoodMarble AIRE is a breath-analysis device that tracks a specific kind of digestion called fermentation. And fermentation's a healthy part of digestion, but sometimes too much fermentation from certain foods can cause symptoms in a lot of people. Bloating, pain, gas, and even diarrhea.
Abby: My stomach does not respond well to things like onions and garlic.
Gene: Meat or oily foods.
Abby: Brussels sprouts.
Kara: If it says "sugar-free," I know I shouldn't have it.
Abby: If I eat an apple, game over. And avocados, sadly.
What could be causing these symptoms?
James: Fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide, and polyols. It's a fancy word that means some complex carbohydrates and not carbs like we think of like bread. FODMAPs are found in all kinds of fruits, dairy, vegetables, grains, and these nutrients, while very healthy, if they're not absorbed properly in certain people, this fermentation causes a lot of the symptoms that people experience.Manny: I don't know exactly what I'm reacting to. It could be gluten. It could be dairy. So hopefully this test will help me figure that out.
James: So there's two general ways that people can use this device. One, you can use it in your regular, everyday use. You can track your foods, track your symptoms, and then you take several breaths throughout the day, and then with our app's food database, we can tell you which foods contain higher and lower amounts of FODMAPs.
The second way that people could use the app is that we optionally provide pure samples of FODMAPs. You mix it into a little bit of water, and then for three hours while you have an empty digestive system, except for this one FODMAP, we can test you and see if you're fermenting a lot from this. It's day one of this experiment.
Gene: I got some teriyaki chicken.
Kara: I got noodle soup.
Gene: Are you excited?
Kara: Uh, yeah, we're gonna learn things.
Gene: Yeah, let's do this. Let's figure out what's causing our digestive problems.
Manny: So my first week using AIRE has been pretty interesting.Gene: So it felt like the device was accurately measuring my activity in the stomach.
Kara: My fermentation levels are really high after I've had pizza and pita chips and hummus.
Manny: One of the surprising results I got was when I went to Chipotle last week. I purposely stacked my bowl with like dairy products, and then I did my breath test probably about a half an hour later, and my fermentation score actually decreased from the morning.
Abby: I would eat the almonds, and this past week I've been recording it, and my fermentation score has been really high. So we asked why that might be happening, and it turns out that almonds are low FODMAP only in smaller quantities, which I have a problem with portion control.
Gene: When I eat meat with vegetables, it was actually fine. The levels would show a low indicator. But when I would eat meat with bread, like a sandwich or a hamburger, the levels were high.
Manny: So when you first download the app, it does tell you not to use the breath tests while you're drinking. But I was still curious to see what it says, and my readings were like 10 out of 10, like off-the-charts red. But that does let me know that the app is working.
Gene: I tried the inulin elimination diet. I didn't even know such thing existed before this. I came in thinking that meat is the main problem in my diet, but it turned out that it wasn't necessarily meat. It was the things that I ate with meat, like bread, garlic, and onion.
Abby: So going forward, I'm gonna eat less almonds and definitely work on portion control.
Kara: I think I just will prepare for suffering whenever I have these foods that I love but know that my body doesn't react well to.Abby: I think I would recommend this device. Although it didn't necessarily give me the answers that I wanted, I think it would be really helpful for someone who definitely has an intolerance to lactose or one of those four pillars and so that they can get a pretty solid answer on what they should avoid to eat.
James: Unfortunately, breath analysis is limited to fermentation-related issues. So if breath analysis and fermentation are not their cause of their problems, they should see a dietician, a healthcare professional, a gastroenterologist for further analysis that can help their issues.
Michelle: So be like, "This is Gene the farting machine."
Gene: All right, you give me the cue.