FODMAP is not a fad diet. It is not even a fadmap diet. It was developed by Sue Shepherd, an Australian nutritionist and dietitian. The name comes from an acronym of foods she believes may cause problems for people suffering from IBS: fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. That covers a huge variety of foods, from honey and apples to artichokes and ice cream to baked beans and cherries, and many, many more. The hardest part of the diet, Ms. Arnold said, is finding foods that don’t have any of the proscribed ingredients in them. The first time she went to a dietitian at the University of Michigan who specializes in the disorder and the low FODMAP diet, the dietitian told her to buy a snack food that was free from all FODMAPs. “I went over to a grocery store and I stood there and I was nearly in tears looking at all of those snack foods I couldn’t have. I finally found a Quaker rice cake with chips,” she said. Only the kettle corn variety of rice cakes met the criteria for the diet. Because of her IBS combined with her hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), Ms. Arnold has learned that she must eat throughout the day. Though she always used to eat three square meals a day, she now has breakfast followed by a snack or two, then lunch followed by a snack or two, then dinner followed by a snack (this schedule is only recommended for people with both IBS and hypoglycemia).
Navigating the low-FODMAP diet
X What is this? Sponsored content is written by Global News’ without any editorial influence by the sponsor. If you’d like to learn more… A sensitive digestive system and the list of shouldnt eats that comes with it can be a pain. I often grapple with how to eat right for my system without getting swallowed up by food restrictions and feeling like a social outcast. Story continues below It was restriction exhaustion that made me hesitant to do research on the low-FODMAP diet, even though its said to be a successful way to manage irritable bowel syndrome. What are FODMAPs? In short, theyre a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are common triggers of bloating, gas and other stomach problems. A 2010 Australian study showed cutting out or restricting these particular carbs was an effective approach to the management of patients with functional gut symptoms. The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation also recently created a FODMAPs fact sheet targeted at those with IBS. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols a grouping that includes lactose, fructose and sugar alcohols. Certain fruits, vegetables, grains, sugars and other foods that fall under one of these categories are limited on the low-FODMAP diet. As nutritionist Monica Reinagel writes , the diet is effective because it eliminates several categories of compounds which, together, are responsible for a large share of digestive drama. Solets talk about the restrictions, shall we? The main to-avoids in the low-FODMAP diet include most legumes and dairy products, wheat, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and select fruits and vegetables (broccoli, onions, apples and peaches are a few examples). Some non-gluten grains are allowed, including rice and oats. Lactose-free milk, eggs, maple syrup and olive oil are also on the safe list.
Beating IBS with the low-fodmap 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). According to Prof Slavin the following foods are also naturally high in fructose: apples, pears, mangoes, cherries, watermelon, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, sugarsnap peas and honey. 4) Polyols a) Erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol, polyglycitol syrup In general only one third of these carbohydrates is absorbed in the intestine and they therefore pass into the bowel where they are fermented by the colonic bacteria. These polyols are naturally found in apples, pears, cherries, prunes, avocado and mushrooms. Because they are so difficult to absorb, polyols have been used as sweeteners in diabetic and slimming products for many years. In addition, they are added to most sugar-free chewing gums. If you chew sugar-free gum that contains polyols as a sweetener you may well be causing a massive buildup of abdominal gas – from the fermentation of the polyols in your chewing gum and from swallowing air when you chew. Try cutting out chewing gum for a week or so to see if this does not relieve the flatulence. The pros and cons Prof Slavin was careful to point out the following: The various compounds that are classified as fodmaps have different physiological effects and should not be lumped together If you suffer from IBS, do not try cutting out all the fodmaps from your diet because you may only be sensitive to one of the categories If possible, get the help of a registered dietitian to help you figure out which one of the fodmap categories you are sensitive to and what steps you need to take to prevent deficiencies if you do need to cut out a whole food group such as milk and dairy Keep in mind that even if you are sensitive to one category of fodmaps that the other categories may have very beneficial effects and should not be cut out (see below).