FODMAP. Sort if a funny word, right?
In my last post, I talked about the difference between IBD and IBS.
Did you miss it? You can read about it here.
Anyway, I mentioned in that post that following a low FODMAP diet may significantly improve symptoms if you suffer from IBS.
So, what is a low FODMAP diet? And just what is a FODMAP?
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAPS are groups of short-chained carbohydrates and are in many foods we eat. FODMAP stands for:
Fermentable Oligiosaccharides Disaccharides Monsaccharides And Polyols
That’s a mouthful right?
Well, these types of carbs (aka sugars) have unique characteristics that can cause those with a sensitive gut a lot of discomfort. Why?
- poorly absorbed in the intestine
- draw water into the intestine
- rapidly fermented by bacteria in the gut
What does this mean? Simply put, they can cause bloating, gas, pain, and diarrhea. Yuck!
The main dietary sources of the four types are:
Oligiosaccharides: there are two different groups of oligiosaccharides – fructans and galacto-oligiosaccharides (GOS). Foods containng fructans include onions, garlic, artichokes, wheat and inulin. Foods containing GOS include lentils, beans, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
Disaccharides: are also known as lactose and it is the natural occuring sugars found in milk/dairy. Foods that contain lactose include milk, yogurt, soft cheeses, and ice cream.
Monsaccharides: are also known as fructose and it is found in fruits. Fruits that contain fructose includle apples, pears, watermelon, and mangoes. Fructose can also be found in sweeteners such as honey and agave and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Polyols: this is known as sorbitol and mannitol, two types of sugar alcohols. These are found in foods such as apples, cherries, blackberries, cauliflower, and mushrooms. They are also found in artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, maltitol, and isomalt.
What is a low-FODMAP diet?
This diet was developed by researchers at Monash University which is located in Australia. The intention is to help reduce symptoms for those with irritable bowel symdrome (IBS). There are three phases of the diet:
- Introduction: usually lasts for 2-6 weeks, focuses on eating a variety of low-FODMAP foods
- Reintroduction: usually over an 8-12 week period, focuses on reintroducing one FODMAP at a time
- Personalization: for the long-term and is based on what’s tolerated and what’s not tolerated
An important note, the low-FODMAP diet is not for meant to be followed long-term. And it’s important to note, please work with a medical professional, such as a Registered Dietitian, who is specializes with IBS and FODMAPS. They can help you manage your way through all the phases of the diet. Long-term over-restriction can lead to increased risk of nutritional deficiencies.
So what’s the goal of the diet? To determine which FODMAPs you can tolerate. But it’s also to determine the serving sizes you can tolerate. It’s highly individualized since everyone’s tolerance level is different. This diet does not cure IBS but rather allows those with IBS to be more comfortable – less pain and bloating with improved bowel habits.
Is this diet right for you?
A low-FODMAP diet isn’t for everyone. But it might be right for you if you’ve been experiencing digestive symptoms such as abdominal bloating, excess gas and bloating and diarrhea.
Maybe you’ve tried other diets and they haven’t helped your symptoms. Maybe you’ve tried medications but they just don’t seem to work either. A low-FODMAP diet may help improve your quality of life.
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