Got tummy troubles? If unpredictable gut symptoms (bloating, gas and frequent trips to the loo) got you down, here’s something that may bring you back up. By limiting FODMAP carbohydrates from your diet, you could feel like a whole new person. So, what is a FODMAP? Good question.
What does FODMAP mean?
The term FODMAP stands for:
F: fermentable (creates gas)
O: oligosaccharides (specific fibers, namely galacto-oligosaccharides & fructans found in onion, wheat and garlic)
D: disaccharides (lactose found in milk, yogurt and ice cream)
M: monosaccharides (excess fructose found in apples, pears and honey)
P: polyols (sugar alcohols found in sugar-free gum/mints, plums, cauliflower, peaches and mushrooms)
Don’t get too caught up in all the science lingo. FODMAPs are a certain group of sugars and fibers found in many everyday foods. Poorly digested FODMAPs pull water into the intestine and generously feed our intestinal microbes, resulting in gas. The combination of gas and water in your intestine causes it to stretch. In individuals who have a sensitive gut, such as those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), this distention can lead to pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. Suffice to say, digestive distress can put a crimp in your day.
How do I follow the low-FODMAP diet?
The low-FODMAP diet plan was developed at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Researchers around the globe have studied the diet’s efficacy in treating digestive symptoms associated with IBS. They have found that intestinal symptoms can be managed in 3 out of 4 people who follow the low-FODMAP diet.
The low-FODMAP diet is a three-part nutritional plan that is best undertaken with the guidance of a registered dietitian to ensure your diet is well-balanced, nutritionally complete and appropriate based on your medical history. **Before changing your diet, speak with your doctor to evaluate if the low-FODMAP diet is right for you.
The 3 phases of the FODMAP diet:
- Phase 1: The Low-FODMAP Elimination Diet: A 2-6 week elimination diet during which high-FODMAP foods are eliminated to determine if you are sensitive to FODMAPs.
- Phase 2: The Low-FODMAP Re-Challenge Phase: Once your symptoms are adequately controlled on the low-FODMAP diet, the next step is to methodically add high-FODMAP foods back into your diet to help identify your trigger foods. FODMAPs are re-introduced by each FODMAP subtype: lactose, excess fructose, fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and polyols. By adding in a food that only contains the FODMAP subtype you are challenging, you can learn what FODMAP subtypes trigger your symptoms.
- Phase 3: Your Individualized Moderate FODMAP Diet: Once you determine what FODMAPs you can tolerate (as identified by the re-challenge phase), those foods may be added back to your baseline diet. The goal is to have a well-balanced diet that is as liberal as your body will tolerate.
Where do I find low-FODMAP foods?
Shopping for low-FODMAP products can be tricky, since garlic, wheat, onion and sweeteners often are buried in long ingredient lists. To simplify your search, look for Monash University-certified low-FODMAP foods.
FODY Food Co. is one brand you can trust. FODY Food Co. is Monash University-certified and is dedicated to providing low-FODMAP foods you will actually enjoy eating, such as their Organic Woodpecker Trail Mix when you need a snack break and Traditional BBQ Sauce for summer cookouts.
For a comprehensive list of high- and low-FODMAP foods and other low-FODMAP diet resources, visit https://fodyfoods.com/resources/.