The FODMAPs diet is a new diet doctors are suggesting to patients who suffer from chronic gut issues and chronic digestive complaints such as bloating, abdominal pain, gas, excessive burping, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation. FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligio-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols. A mouthful, right? Referred to by the acronym, FODMAPs are carbohydrates that are found in food. However, all carbs are not considered FODMAPS. The FODMAP nutrients are found in carbohydrates like sugars, sugar alcohols and non digestible fiber. They can be found in processed foods of course, but whole foods as well.
What foods are considered FODMAP foods?
Included at the bottom are lists of foods high and low in FODMAPs, but common overview of FODMAP foods are:
–Fructose (many fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup(HFCS), etc)
–Lactose (various dairy foods)
–Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, etc)
–Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc)
–Polyols (sweeteners like isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol)
Why do FODMAPs cause such digestion issues like bloating, burping, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, gas, abdominal cramping, etc? This particular type of food are known to be osmotic, meaning that they bring water into the intestinal track with them. When eaten in excess, the stomach lacks enzymes to break down these foods by digestion and absorption. This results in fermentation of bacteria.
You can reduce symptoms by following a low FODMAPs diet. This diet will include limiting and possibly eliminating foods that are high in FODMAPs. It seems overwhelming but once you adapt to the new diet it becomes a lifestyle and second nature.
How to start and stick to a FODMAPs diet:
When starting a diet low in FODMAPs, it’s best to research all foods that are included. It is hard to keep reading and reminding yourself of the foods you cannot have, so make a list of foods you can have. Meal planning is a great way to get started when making a grocery list. Doing this will reduce grocery shopping anxiety. You will go in with a specific list and leave no room for second guessing. It good to double check nutrition labels and avoid foods with honey, wheat, soy and high FODMAP fruits and veggies.
Remember, though you are avoiding many grains (wheat, rye, barley) that contain gluten, this is not a gluten free diet. It is important to remember this because many people will purchase gluten free foods as replacements for their old food and end up taking in an excess of FODMAPS through highly processed foods. Limiting dairy that is high in FODMAPs is a must as well. In addition, drinking a sufficient amount of water is a must.
Once you have made the commitment, you will need to stick to the FODMAPs diet for a minimum of six weeks. After the 6 weeks, you can experiment with high FODMAP foods. It is best to reintroduce one at a time back into your diet. The reintroduction of these foods should be consumed in small amounts every 3-4 days to properly identify foods that could cause symptoms. If you have adverse symptoms during reintroduction, those particular foods are referred to as “trigger foods” and should be eliminated completely in order to eliminate adverse reactions.