What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is an acronym for a collection of foods that are not absorbed completely by the human body, they’re easily fermented by gut bacteria and can cause significant gut issues, such as bloating, diarrhoea, flatulence, abdominal pain and constipation.
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 – This is a double sugar molecule. Lactose.
Monosaccharides – This is a single sugar molecule. Fructose.
And Polyols – these are sugar alcohols (does not lead to intoxication).
Those saccharides and polyols are short-chain carbohydrates that, if poorly digested, ferment in the lower part of your large intestine (bowel). This fermentation process draws in water and produces carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and/or methane gas that causes the intestine to stretch and expand. The result is abdominal pain, flatulence, bloating, visible abdominal distension and diarrhoea or constipation.
A low FODMAP diet, or FODMAP elimination diet, can take the burden off the digestive system and reduce IBS symptoms. This diet is a temporary eating pattern that has a very low amount of food compounds called FODMAPs.
There are three stages of the low FODMAP diet:
Elimination/Strict low FODMAP Diet: For 3-8 weeks (depends on how you respond) you strictly exclude all high FODMAP foods from your diet.
Reintroduction/Rechallenge: Reintroduce each FODMAP group one at a time to see what triggers symptoms. For example, you may first reintroduce fructose for three days. If you have no symptoms, you may then reintroduce lactose too, and so on. You can keep a symptom diary to track these symptoms.
Modified/Adapted FODMAP Diet: Once the trigger FODMAPs have been identified, you will know what you can and cannot eat. You can then use this information to formulate your own personalised diet that keeps your symptoms to a minimum.
Try these low FODMAP recipes.