Theres good news a diet that’s restrictive yet still sound nutritionally has been scientifically shown to help relieve IBS symptoms. Meet the low FODMAP diet, your food roadmap to better controlling digestion. “FODMAP” stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. FODMAPs are carbohydrates such as fructose, lactose, sorbitol, and fructans that arent absorbed well in the small intestine. As a result, gut bacteria ferment the substances, which cause gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Fructose is found in certain fruits and in foods containing high fructose corn syrup such as soda; lactose is found in dairy products; sorbitol is an artificial sweetener in diet soda and juices; and fructans are found in some fruits, vegetables such as onions, and wheat. Experts dont believe certain foods cause IBS, but rather that foods high in FODMAPs may trigger symptoms when you have IBS. A Low FODMAP Diet: What the Science Says The first clinical trial on FODMAPs was published in 2006 by Australian researchers. They put 62 people with IBS who were fructose intolerant on a low FODMAP diet for an average of 14 months and found that 74 percent of participants saw an improvement in abdominal symptoms. More recent studies have had similar results. One published in 2013 in the International Journal of Clinical Practice followed 90 people with IBS as they ate a low FODMAP diet. Most participants saw improvement in abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. The concept isnt all that new, however. Doctors have known for a long time that patients who avoided almost all carbohydrates those who went on a high-protein Atkins diet, for instance would see a significant reduction in symptoms in the short-term, said Pankaj Jay Pasricha, MD, chair of the American Gastroenterological Associations Neurogastroenterology and Motility Section and director of the Center for Neurogastroenterology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Low FODMAP Diet: What to Avoid A low FODMAP diet is all about avoiding the foods that are likely to make IBS symptoms act up.
Beating IBS – could the FODMAP diet be the answer?
Because of this it’s recommended you only start the diet with the help of a dietician or your GP. [The facts about IBS] Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest Laboratories, which specialises in food intolerance testing and has created a new diet programme specifically to combat IBS explains: “IBS varies hugely between individuals so it’s never a case of one diet fits all, which is why it’s really important to be supervised if you decide to remove FODMAP foods from your diet.” “In trials we’ve run at YorkTest, we saw a significant improvement in symptoms in patients who stuck to their prescribed diet. “Many people with IBS just aren’t aware that with a little help, they can often find simple dietary solutions to ease their symptoms.” Though packed with nutrients, broccoli can cause problems for IBS patients [REX] What is FODMAP? Standing for the rather complicated Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, FODMAP foods contain types of carbohydrate and sugars that are not successfully broken down and absorbed by the small intestine. This means they are badly digested and arrive in the large intestine, where they act as a food source for bacteria, soak up water and produce gas, leading to pain, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation – classic IBS symptoms. The idea of removing FODMAP foods is to take away these carbs and sugars that your body has trouble digesting, and it’s been found to make a difference in 70 per cent of cases. [Stretches to improve digestion] FODMAP foods Fruits: Apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, cherries, concentrated fruit juices, dates, dried fruits, figs, lychees, mango, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, tinned fruit in natural juices, watermelon. Alternative fruits: Banana, bilberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cantaloupe/honeydew melon, cranberries, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries. Vegetables: Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, mushroom, onion, leeks, sweetcorn. Alternative vegetables: Carrots, celery, cucumber, lettuce, peas, peppers, olives, spinach, tomatoes, courgettes, parsnips, squashes, sweet potato. Pulses: Lentils, chickpeas, beans (including baked beans, kidney beans and soya beans) Cereals: Wheat, bulgar wheat, rye, barley Alternative cereals: Rice, oats, millet, polenta or quinoa. FODMAPs are found in many foods so get expert help before you cut them out [REX] Others to avoid: Milk products (switch to lactose free or avoid entirely, particularly if you have an intolerance show up in testing), sweeteners such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol – instead try small amounts of sugar, golden or maple syrup. Saccharin and aspartame can also be tolerated.
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