What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. These are short-chain carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest.
According to Chris Kresser, “they are incompletely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be easily fermented by gut bacteria.”
These are all nutrients in the family of carbohydrates; some of which are sugars (like fructose and lactose), sugar alcohols (like mannitol and sorbitol), and then there’s non-digestible fibers (like galactans and fructans).
All naturally occur in foods like fruit, grains, beans and dairy. Sugar alcohols can often be used in concentrated amounts for food processing in order to make diabetic and sugar-free foods.
What is the Low FODMAP Diet?
There have been questions lately regarding what is the low FODMAP diet? This diet is generally recommended for the relief of chronic digestive problems such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and excessive burping.
These are common symptoms in people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), however many people without being formally diagnosed also battle with them.
While not everyone sees relief, the low FODMAP diet is an actual breakthrough, bringing much needed relief to a lot of those who have been suffering for years. This was from seemingly untreatable digestion issues.
How Do FODMAPs Affect Digestion?
Different FODMAPs present different issues in digestion. The sugars require specific enzymes for proper digestion and an absence of these enzymes can cause problems.
The sugar alcohols are highly osmotic, meaning that they tend to pull water into the digestive tract from the surrounding tissues.
The fibers serve as food for your gut bacteria, which digest them via a process of fermentation, producing carbon dioxide in the intestines.
All of this is perfectly natural and although consuming certain amounts of these compounds could lead to digestive discomfort for just about anyone.
Most people don’t have trouble with the amounts encountered in a typical diet.
In fact, a few of the nutrients serve valuable roles, such as prebiotics which promote healthy bacteria in the gut.
This is a good diet for people with IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.
How Long Should I Stay on the FODMAP Diet Plan?
You should stay on the diet for 2 weeks. Then you could test particular foods to see if those symptoms return.
High FODMAP Foods
High FODMAPs foods include almost all dairy products, some fruits (including pears, apples, cherries, watermelons, raspberries, stone fruit, papaya and mango), some vegetables (including asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms, garlic and cabbage), some grains (including rye, barley, wheat, and spelt), almost all legumes (like soybeans), some sweeteners (including agave nectar and honey), as well as certain food additives (slike xylitol, inulin and chicory root).
Fortunately, there’s many vegetables, fruits, dairy alternatives, sweeteners, grains as well as other foods which can be eaten on a low FODMAP diet.
What Foods to Avoid on the low FODMAP diet?
Here is a list of the key FODMAPs foods to avoid. You’ll notice that many of these foods are traditionally thought of as healthy, and they are. It just may be the case that certain people have trouble digesting them.
Fruits to Avoid:
Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Cherry, Mango, Nectarine, Peach, Pear, Plum, Watermelon. Dried fruit and fruit juice.
High in fructose/ polyols.
Sweeteners to Avoid:
Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Honey, Sugar Alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol).
High in fructose/ polyols.
Dairy to Avoid:
Vegetables to Avoid:
Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Garlic, Green Pepper, Fennel, Leek, Mushroom, Onion.
High in fructans/ polyols.
Grains to Avoid:
All wheat and rye.
High in fructans.
Legumes to Avoid:
Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Soybeans.
High in galactans.
Others to Avoid:
Coconut products. Dandelion. Pistachio.
What Can I Eat on the Low FODMAP Diet?
There are still plenty of veggies, some fruits, protein and healthy fats that you can eat. Bone broths are also great for gut healing. Here is a good FODMAP food list of foods to eat and avoid.
Some people have a reduced tolerance for all or some of the FODMAPs. When they eat more than small amounts of these nutrients, they end up with severe bloating, distention, pain, and all kinds of other miseries.
Even though there is a definite learning curve, it’s not difficult to make up a balanced and varied low Fodmap diet, using only the low FODMAP foodstuffs.
And if it brings blessed relief from long-standing misery, the effort is obviously well worth it. Plus, there’s a good chance that you can eventually reintroduce at least some of these foods.
What is a low FODMAP diet food list? Click here for a handy download showing you foods you should and shouldn’t eat.
Celiac disease and FODMAPs?
Celiac disease is a result of a gluten reaction (the protein found in wheat, rye and barley). People who are FODMAP sensitive react to the carbohydrate (specifically fructans) in wheat, rye and barley.
Those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease might also have problems with the FODMAP carbohydrates.
Although both are present in a lot of the same foodstuffs, it’s necessary to note gluten is NOT actually a FODMAP.
Life After FODMAPs
One of the reasons that the low FODMAP diet is so strikingly effective is that it casts a fairly wide net. It eliminates several categories of compounds which, together, are responsible for a large share of digestive drama.
However, you may only be sensitive to one or two of these compounds and not all of them—in which case you’ve eliminated a bunch of foods that weren’t actually a problem for you.
Once your stomach has settled down, you can do further investigation. For instance, check your tolerance with different FODMAPs gradually by introducing one at a time to see if symptoms reappear.
You might, for instance, realize that grains and beans aren’t an issue if you steer clear of dairy. Or, you may find out fructose malabsorption of fructose is a problem and that, if you stick with fruits low in fructose and vegetables, all else can be eaten.
I suggest anyone considering a FODPMAP diet to work with a qualified nutrition professional.
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