FODMAPs is actually an acronym that stands for:
What exactly are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are small chain carbohydrates (sugars and fibers) that are commonly malabsorbed in the small intestine. Not all carbohydrates are considered FODMAPs.
The FODMAPs in the food are:
Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc)
Lactose (dairy) Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin etc)
Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc)
Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc)
How do FODMAPs affect people with IBS?
FODMAPs are very small carbohydrates, which makes them osmotic, meaning they can pull water into the intestinal tract. They are not digested or absorbed well, allowing bacteria in the intestinal tract to ferment these small sugars.
Not all of these bacteria are bad. Some of these bacteria, yeast and single cell organisms can help you digest your food, create vitamins and help keep your immune system healthy.
When these microbes ferment FODMAPs, the gas they produce fills up and stretches your intestine; this can contribute to bloating, abdominal pain, and cramping in individuals with a sensitive GI tract. The combination of gas and water in the intestine can alter the movement of the intestine and contribute to diarrhea or constipation.
FODMAPs are like fast food for your gut microbes.
How does a low FODMAP diet help?
A low FODMAP diet may help reduce symptoms by limiting foods high in fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols.
This diet will also limit fiber as some high fiber foods are also high in FODMAPs.
The low FODMAP diet is often used in those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It could possibly be used in those with similar symptoms caused by other digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.
The low FODMAP diet is a 2-6 week elimination diet that involves removing high FODMAP foods from the diet to assess whether FODMAP rich foods are triggering your IBS symptoms.
The goal of the diet is to help you determine your personal dietary triggers.
After the low FODMAP elimination diet phase, you will re-introduce some FODMAPs, in a methodical manner, to assess your tolerance to various FODMAP containing foods.
Many people may find they can liberalize their FODMAP diet restrictions and only need to restrict some high FODMAP foods.
Research has shown that a low FODMAP diet can relieve some IBS symptoms, such as gassiness, bloating, abdominal cramps, constipation, diarrhea, etc. An estimated 75% of individuals with IBS may benefit from dietary restriction of FODMAPs.
TIPS FOR LOW FODMAP DIET:
Review food lists, collect recipes and go grocery shopping first. Once you are ready, start and follow the diet for 6 weeks.
Read food labels. Avoid foods made with high FODMAP fruits/vegetables, HFCS, honey, inulin, wheat, soy, etc. However, a food could be low in FODMAPs if a high FODMAP food is listed at the end of the ingredient list.
Buy gluten free grains as they do not have wheat, barley or rye in them. However, you do not need to be on a strict gluten free diet as the focus is to limit FODMAPs, not gluten.
Limit serving sizes for low lactose dairy to small amounts and low FODMAP fruits/vegetables to a 1⁄2 cup per meal (1⁄2 cup=size of a tennis ball) if you have symptoms after eating these foods. The symptoms could be related to eating large amounts of FODMAPs all at once.
Include low FODMAP foods rich in fiber such as oatmeal if you develop constipation while on the diet. Drink plenty of water as well.
After the trial is over, add high FODMAP foods one at a time back in the diet in small amounts to identify foods that could be "triggers" to your symptoms. Limit those foods if so.
SIMPLE LOW FODMAP RECIPES
Gluten free waffle with walnuts, blueberries, maple syrup without HFCS
Eggs scrambled with spinach, bell peppers and cheddar cheese
Oatmeal topped with sliced banana, almonds and brown sugar
Fruit smoothie blended with lactose free vanilla yogurt and strawberries (1⁄2 cup)
Rice pasta with chicken, tomatoes, spinach topped with pesto sauce
Chicken salad mixed with chicken, lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar salad dressing without HFCS
Turkey wrap with gluten free tortilla, sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, slice of cheddar cheese slice, mayonnaise, mustard
Ham and Swiss cheese sandwich on gluten free bread, with mayonnaise, mustard
Quesadilla with corn or gluten free tortilla and cheddar cheese
Beef and vegetable stew (made with homemade broth, beef, allowed vegetables)