Food is a common trigger of digestive problems, and if you suffer from them, you may have heard of the FODMAP diet.
Here’s a quick guide.
What does FODMAP stand for?
The diet itself is called the low-FODMAP diet because the words in the acronym are what dieters try to avoid. The diet was created by researchers at Monash University in Australia.
What’s the purpose of eating low-FODMAP?
While the acronym is a mouthful, the goal of the diet is simple: cut out certain carbs and sugar alcohols that may cause stomach pain and bloating. That may help with gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). People with IBS may want to consider the diet if they have ongoing symptoms which haven’t responded to stress management strategies or dietary changes.
How does it work?
The diet limits fermentable carbs, which are carbs that draw water into your digestive tract and can lead to bloating. If you eat too many of these carbs, they can hang around in your gut and ferment (or bubble, churn and become agitated), which is as uncomfortable as it sounds.
What are common examples of these foods?
Common examples include fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols. Simply put, those include:
- Honey, high-fructose corn syrup, agave and sugar alcohols
- Dairy including milk, yogurt and soft cheese
- Wheat, onions and garlic
- Beans, lentils, soybeans and other legumes
- Fruits that have pits or seeds, such as:
Does low-FODMAP work?
Much of the time, yes. Several studies have concluded that if you follow a low-FODMAP diet, your odds of improving stomach pain and bloating are up to 80%.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t try eating Low-FODMAP?
Yes. Unless you have IBS, the diet could do more harm than good because most FODMAPs are prebiotics, which support the growth of good gut bacteria.
How do you start a Low-FODMAP diet?
First, ask your doctor. Once you’ve been cleared, the dietary changes should happen in phases, which vary based on plan but always include:
- Eliminating high-FODMAP foods from your diet for several weeks, and
- Slowly incorporating these foods back into your diet one by one to determine which you react poorly to.
For more information on the Low-FODMAP diet, click here.