May 10, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated May 10, 2021
A beginner’s guide to fodmap diet
Despite our efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle mainly through adhering to healthy diets and consumption of beneficial foods, sometimes, food might become our fiercest enemy.
Just like all living creators, we humans have our bodily restrictions and limitations. Our bodily makeup might sometimes prevent us from enjoying our favorite meal and might sometimes force us to eat something we dislike, to say the least; all for the sake of good health.
Certain carbohydrates, sugars, can be a real pain for some people due to specific limitations in the digestive system. These sugars, FODMAPs, have been at the certain of specialized studies in an attempt to find a solution for those people. The fodmap diet was the result of these studies.
Let’s find out more about these substances and how to adhere to this diet, such knowledge might come in handy for all of us.
What Are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is the abbreviation of fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols; these are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that the small intestine absorbs poorly. These carbohydrates are present naturally in most foods; polyols, however, are artificially added to packaged food and beverages.
Most people experience digestive unrest and suffer digestion problems due to FORMAPs. For instance, these substances can draw water from your body into the intestine, which might lead to bloating or diarrhea. People might not be able to produce the enzymes necessary to break down the fodmaps, hence these might be quickly fermented by bacteria in the intestine and thus causing gas and other issues for people with colonic hypersensitivity. That’s why nutritionists and experts worked to encode a standard diet in an attempt to solve the issues resulted from consuming FODMAPs.
The diet has been designed to help people with irritable bowel syndrome and small intestinal bacterial growth to figure out which foods are risk factors for their conditions and which foods might potentially reduce the symptoms.
Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist, Hazel Galon Veloso, M.D insists that “The low FODMAP diet is a temporary eating plan that’s very restrictive.” The diet restricts the consumption of so many foods that it is not suitable for all people. Besides, it is not the kind of diet to adhere to for a lifetime. Unlike other regimens, this diet is meant to find out which foods are troublesome especially for people with IBS and/or SIBO.
The fodmap food list:
If you are experiencing pain and symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome then you should be thinking about adhering to the diet. First of all, though, you need to know the fodmap food list. The list includes high fodmap foods that you need to avoid when abiding by the diet. These foods include wheat, garlic, onion, fruits with high amounts of fructose and minimum amount of glucose such as apples and watermelons, some vegetables such asasparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and mushrooms, legumes, and pulses such as black-eyed peas, broad beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans, these might be low on fodmaps according to the cooking methods, and finally sweeteners such as honey and syrup…etc. This list does not include all the high fodmap foods; to be more accurate while you are dieting you can check with a dietician or simply use designated apps.
Low fodmap diet
Following a low fodmap diet means that you need to restrict your consumption of foods that contain high amounts of FODMAPs. Those can be found in grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables; basically all sorts of food we depend on for survival. However, some foods from these categories contain low amounts of FODMAPs or none.
If you are planning to go on a low fodmap diet then consider enriching your meals with these low fodmap foods:
Vegetables: cucumber, tomato, potato, green beans, peppers, carrot…
Fruits: grapes, kiwi, mandarin, orange, strawberries…
Dairy products: almond milk, lactose-free milk, feta cheese…
Grains and cereal products: corn flakes, barley-free bread, rice, quinoa…
Sweeteners: dark chocolate, maple syrup…
Protein foods: plain cooked poultry, eggs, seafood…
Nuts: macadamias, walnuts, pumpkin seeds…
How does it work?
People who are sensitive to FODMAPs would experience digestive problems after eating high fodmap foods. The symptoms usually include diarrhea, cramping, gas, constipation, and stomach bloating. If you notice these symptoms regularly, then you should probably consider abiding by the fodmap diet.
Experts recommend that you follow this diet for two to six weeks. This regimen works by elimination. After eliminating the fodmap foods from your daily meals for two to six weeks, you need to add high fodmap food back into your meals every three days. This second stage will help you notice which fodmaps are most problematic for you through the symptoms. Avoid the ones that cause you digestive issues in the long term and go back to enjoy the rest of the safe foods. The third personalization stage allows you to be the judge of your diet. After ruling out the fodmap foods that you do not tolerate, you can tailor the amount of those you tolerate to your personal needs and preferences.
Though research has revealed that this diet helped 86 % of people who followed it to reduce their symptoms, it is wise to always consult a doctor or a nutritionist because this regimen can be tough on some people. It eliminates so many foods that it can cause inadequate nutrition. Also, it might lead to weight loss since it rules out the consumption of several foods, that’s why people who are already underweight should not attempt to try this diet, at least not without doctor supervision.