I am hearing a new buzz word “FODMAPs” which identifies carbohydrates containing low or high sugar compounds, and we should become aware that some high fodmap foods can be the cause of gastrointestinal discomfort for some people. The Fodmap acronym stands for:
- Fermentable – meaning they are broken down (fermented) by bacteria in the large bowel
- Oligosaccharides – “oligo” means “few” and “saccharide” means sugar. These molecules are made up of individual sugars joined together in a chain
- Disaccharides – “di” means two. This is a double sugar molecule
- Monosaccharides – “mono” means single. This is a single sugar molecule
- And Polyols – these are sugar alcohols
What Joe Leech, Dietitian said, is that gluten intolerant people might really just be fructan (grains) intolerant. So the only way to find out which type you are, you need to try the low Fodmap diet. We start off by doing a temporary Elimination Regime, eating only low Fodmap foods (removing all High Fodmap foods), then add back each high fodmap food one by one, seeing if there is a bad effect…. does it cause discomfort? If so, then eliminate it from your diet.
I had always thought I was gluten sensitive, but it seems there could be something to being fructan intolerant too. I tried a few sample meals, and can vouch that upon elimination of certain High FODMAPS, I have found relative relief from gas and bloating etc. However, some gluten free grains are a problem for me…..hence I was searching for reasons why gluten free wasn’t working for me.
Conditions low Fodmap may benefit:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (FGID)
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Certain auto-immune conditions
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
FODMAPs: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide
Since what you eat can have a major effect on your body, digestive issues are incredibly common.
Studies have shown strong links between FODMAPs and digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea and constipation.
Low-FODMAP diets can provide remarkable benefits for many people with common digestive disorders.
This article provides a detailed beginner’s guide to FODMAPs and low-FODMAP diets.
These are short-chain carbs that are resistant to digestion. Instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, they reach the far end of your intestine where most of your gut bacteria reside.
Your gut bacteria then use these carbs for fuel, producing hydrogen gas and causing digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals.
FODMAPs also draw liquid into your intestine, which may cause diarrhea.
Common FODMAPs include:
- Fructose: A simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars.
- Lactose: A carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk.
- Fructans: Found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
- Galactans: Found in large amounts in legumes.
- Polyols: Sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol. They are found in some fruits and vegetables and often used as sweeteners.
A low-FODMAP diet is not for everyone. Unless you have been diagnosed with IBS, research suggests the diet could do more harm than good; it is only recommended to gradually identify/isolate those High Fodmap foods that cause high aggravation, so that you can permanently delete those particular foods in the future.
Read more here about high fodmap foods to avoid and what to eat for low fodmaps:
Here is a simple shopping list to get you started.
- Protein: Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, prawns and tofu
- Whole grains: Brown rice, buckwheat, maize, millet, oats and quinoa
- Fruit: Bananas, blueberries, kiwi, limes, mandarins, oranges, papaya, pineapple, rhubarb and strawberries
- Vegetables: Bean sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, choy sum, eggplant, kale, tomatoes, spinach and zucchini
- Nuts: Almonds (no more than 10 per sitting), macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts
- Seeds: Linseeds, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower
- Dairy: Cheddar cheese, lactose-free milk and Parmesan cheese
- Oils: Coconut oil and olive oil
- Beverages: Black tea, coffee, green tea, peppermint tea, water and white tea
- Condiments: Basil, chili, ginger, mustard, pepper, salt, white rice vinegar and wasabi powder
- Fruits: Apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, cherries, canned fruit, dates, figs, pears, peaches, watermelon
- Sweeteners: Fructose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol
- Dairy products: Milk (from cows, goats and sheep), ice cream, most yogurts, sour cream, soft and fresh cheeses (cottage, ricotta, etc) and whey protein supplements
- Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, shallots
- Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
- Wheat: Bread, pasta, most breakfast cereals, tortillas, waffles, pancakes, crackers, biscuits
- Other grains: Barley and rye
- Beverages: Beer, fortified wines, soft drinks with high-fructose corn syrup, milk, soy milk, fruit juices