The FODMAP Diet? What is it and do I need to go on it?

FODMAPS are:

Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols.

Photo Credit: Thomas Martinsen on Unsplash

Pictured: red onions (high FODMAP) and beetroot (low FODMAP when tinned)

So what they heck are FODMAPS???

They’re basically different sugars and sugar alcohols that are naturally found in many plant based foods, such as fruit, onion, garlic, some legumes and plenty of vegetables. But it’s super complicated, for example, you can eat the green part of a leek, but not the white bit, you can eat broccoli but not cauliflower and you can have blueberries but not boysenberries.

A low FODMAP diet is designed as an elimination diet, whereby you have a 6 to 8 week eating plan of eating Low FODMAP, then gradually introducing FODMAP foods in slowly, to try and figure out which foods trigger your stomach upset.

Stomach upset??!

Common symptoms are diarrohea, constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, relief when doing number 2’s, borborygmi (the gurgling noise your stomach makes) and urgency. People with these symptoms may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS.

So how do FODMAPS cause an upset stomach?

FODMAPS are carbohydrates or sugars that are naturally found in most plant foods, in varying amounts. The job of our mouth, stomach and small intestine is to break these carbohydrates down into very small parts, so they can be digested and released into our blood stream to provide our body with energy and nutrients. People with IBS or food intolerance are unable to digest these foods. These carbohydrates or large sugars, travel through the small intestine into the large intestine. The large intestine is home to many bacteria. These bacteria breakdown the FODMAPS and release gas. This causes bloating, flatulence, constipation, diarrohea, nausea and pain.

Note: gluten is a protein and not a FODMAP.

So should I go on a FODMAP diet?

It’s really important that you have a diagnosis from your medical professional before embarking on the FODMAP diet. The FODMAP diet is designed for relief of certain medical conditions such as IBS. It is not designed to be a long term eating plan or for weight loss. The low FODMAP diet is an elimination diet to help you work out which foods cause you pain and discomfort, with the idea that you gradually introduce foods back in. So, it’s important that you get help from this by a dietitian that is experienced in FODMAPS.

If you think you or a family member have IBS, it’s really important that you see your medical professional for a diagnosis and a dietitian to help you with the FODMAPS diet. Other medical conditions could cause these symptoms, such as Coeliac Disease, Food Intolerance or SIBO, in which case the FODMAPS diet is not the answer.

Want more information on FODMAPS? Try the Monash University website.

Have IBS or food intolerances? Need help with you or your kiddies diet? Contact me, I can help!

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