Galactooligosaccharides (GOS) are diverse short chains of galactose molecules (see galactan & galactooligosaccharide intolerances) that can cause symptoms due to gas production and fermentation. Individuals with so-called Irritable Bowel Syndrome are often more sensitive to the effects of GOS. It should be noted some GOS (α-linked galactosyl sucrose derivates) form part of the spectrum of fermentable sugars associated with intolerances (sometimes described as FODMAPs), whereas a different class of GOS have been shown to have multiple beneficial properties as prebiotics (β-linked lactose-derived).
Food known to contain significant amounts of GOS, such as raffinose and stacchyose, are shown below (>0.5g/100g). It should be noted that the GOS are generally found in legumes and seaweed and many foods have not been characterized regarding their GOS content. You may well discover differences between sources regarding the amount of GOS in food.
|Food||Galactan content (g/100g whole product)|
|Bean, lima (dried)||2.9|
|Peas, green (frozen)||0.2|
Data sources for the above table include Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand tables and Muir J et al. Measurement of short-chain carbohydrates in common Australian vegetables and fruits by HPLC. J Agric Food Chem 2009;57:554-565