Here’s everything you need to know about the low FODMAP diet
I read a great post by Lucy Whigham telling you all you need to know about the low FODMAP diet. The FODMAP diet is one to really consider if you find that you have SIBO and need to be sure not to feed the overgrowth of bad bacteria that you’re trying to get rid of. It’s also a consideration for IBS and IBD.
What does low FODMAP mean?
The acronym refers to the foods that you need to cut out. They are Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. These are naturally occurring sugars found in a wide range of foods we eat everyday.
Fermentable – meaning they are broken down (fermented) by bacteria in the large bowel
Oligosaccharides – “oligo” means “few” and “saccharide” means sugar. These molecules are made up of individual sugars joined together in a chain
Disaccharides – “di” means two. This is a double sugar molecule
Monosaccharides – “mono” means single. This is a single sugar molecule
Polyols – these are sugar alcohols (however, they don’t lead to intoxication!)
What happens is that they are not fully broken down during digestion and that’s why they can’t be completely absorbed in you body. Instead, they remain in the digestive tract where they are fermented by the gut bacteria.
The fermentation leads to production of gas which causes excessive bloating, gas, pain, cramping, and even gurgling.
The other thing that happens is that water accumulates in the digestive tract which can result in frequent bowel movements and even diarrhea.
They have found that following a low FODMAP, i.e. keeping away there particular fermentable carbohydrates, for about 4-6 weeks, it can help you regain control over your digestive symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Clinical trials show that a low FODMAP diet significantly improves the symptoms of IBS with 60% to 75% of people showing significant improvement in gut symptoms.
Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint which foods in particular make your symptoms worse. Sometimes a flare up can happen because of stress and anxiety. Sometimes its because of changes in gut bacteria. Sometimes, it’s because of what you’re eaten.
You can think about dividing the FODMAP Diet process into 3 stages.
1 Elimination phase. Remove high FODMAP foods for four to six weeks . Here is the list of foods from Joe Leech that you can eat.
2 Re-challenge phase. Reintroduce FODMAPs in a controlled way to be able to identify the foods that are causing your symptoms. Here is a reintroduction chart from Joe Leech you can follow.
3 Maintenance phase.
Low FODMAP Diet
Cut out all five families of fermentable carbohydrates:
Fructans – wheat, rye, onions, garlic, various other grains and vegetables
Galacto-oligosaccharides – beans and pulses
Polyols – certain fruit, certain artificial sweeteners
Fructose – various fruits, honey and agave nectar
Lactose – animal milks, yogurts and some cheeses.
What can you eat on a Low FODMAP Diet?
Carbohydrates like rice, oats, potatoes, quinoa and buckwheat
Proteins like meat, poultry, eggs and fish
Vegetables and salads that are allowed
Words of advice
- Cook from scratch.
- Read Labels. There are lots os no no’s in pre-packaged foods.
- Check with your personal doctor or dietitian first.
- Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and drink up.
- Black coffee, black tea, peppermint tea, and green tea are very low FODMAP and okay to have with no milk.
- Keep a food diary: Record each meal you had and if you experienced any undesirable symptoms after each meal or later that day. It helps you recognize triggers and later on for the reintroduction phase.
Low FODMAP Diet Resource
Here’s a great blog post from Positive HealthWellness to help you on your way.
It’s only $11 to buy the Monash University FODMAPs app, available on iPhone and Android devices.They have a huge number of foods that have been tested for their FODMAP levels, as well as almost 100 original recipe ideas.