Beating IBS with the low-fodmap diet
If you’ve been seen by a doctor and have been found not to have other conditions such as celiac disease, ovarian cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, you might want to consider a low FODMAP diet. ___________________________________________________ Not All Organic Products are Created Healthy ___________________________________________________ These carbohydrates ferment in the digestive process because they’re not broken down sufficiently or absorbed in the small intestine. They then remain in an undigested state as they move through the bowel. Colonic bacteria ferment. The unhappy result is bacterial overgrowth, bloating and gas. Women going through menopause may be prone to increased bloating and gas, according to Dr. Christiane Northrup. Many women will find themselves unable to tolerate many foods they’d been able to eat without problems all their lives. For some, a low FODMAP diet might be an answer. Webmd.com recommended that you eliminate all foods containing lactose, fructose, fructans, sugar alcohols and galactans for a week or two to determine whether or not a low FODMAPS diet is for you. You may find relief comes with a matter of days. To determine which if any of those initially eliminated foods are alright for you, reintroduce one at a time. This way you will be able to discover which foods are problems for you and which are acceptable. A gluten-free diet is often a good idea since wheat contains fructans. A low FODMAP diet has been developed at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. It was successful in a placebo-controlled trial.
Examples of fodmaps Prof Slavin went on to describe the various compounds that make up the fodmaps family and listed foods that have a high fodmap content: 1) Oligosaccharides a) FOS or Fructans Inulin as found in chicory root and Jerusalem artichokes (the root-version of artichokes) FOS/Inulin are also found in peach, watermelon, Brussels sprouts, fennel, garlic, leek, onion, wheat, rye, barley, legumes, lentils and chickpeas b) GOS or Galacto-oligosaccharides GOS occur in human milk, and nowadays they are also added to infant formulas. The trio of stachyose, raffinose and verbascose are found in legumes (dry cooked or canned beans, peas, lentils or soy products) and are linked to pronounced gas production. Prof Slavin mentioned that research is underway to remove these galacto-oligosaccharides from legumes to make these otherwise healthy and excellent foods more accessible to persons who suffer from IBS and other complaints that are exacerbated by high gas production. 2) Disaccharides a) Lactose Prof Slavin pointed out that lactose (which consists of a glucose and a galactose molecule) is only classified as a fodmap and only causes fermentation if the individual in question suffers from lactose intolerance because he or she does not produce sufficient lactase enzyme in the intestine. This is important to remember, because I am sure that most IBS patients will try eliminating milk and dairy products from their diet the moment they read about fodmaps, just because this class of food is such a favourite for elimination by the lay public. “I suffer from IBS/mucous/bronchitis/blocked nose/overweight/eczema/etc and have eliminated milk and dairy from my diet!” is a refrain that I hear practically on a daily basis. So before you banish milk and dairy products and all that valuable calcium from your diet because you “think” it may be triggering your IBS, please ask your doctor to have you tested for lactase deficiency. Dont throw the calcium out with the bathwater and then develop brittle bones within months or osteoporosis a few years down the line. If you do have a lactase deficiency then avoiding milk and all products that contain milk (i.e. many processed foods – so check your food labels), will probably help a great deal to relieve your symptoms of IBS. Just remember to take a calcium supplement such as Calcium Sandoz, MenaCal.7 or Caltrate every day to make up for the lack of calcium in your diet. Also be aware that eliminating one source of fermentation such as lactose, does not mean that all your IBS symptoms will be cured. You may still be sensitive to one or more of the other fodmaps and need to identify them, preferably with the assistance of your registered dietitian. 3) Monosaccharides a) Free Fructose Because fructose has a low glycaemic index (GI), it may be added to foods and drinks that make claims about “Low-GI” or “Sugar-free” (which is not allowed according to the SA Labelling Regulations seeing that the product still contains a sugar called fructose, even if it does not contain a sugar called sucrose!). Sports drinks and most sweetened cold drinks in countries such as the USA also contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).