The Low-FODMAP diet is a diet specifically designed for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Those on the diet will go through three stages: elimination, reintroduction and integration, in which hopefully they will discover foods that may trigger IBS symptoms, and that they can continue to eat them without problems.
A low FODMAP diet reduces or drastically reduces consumption of some sugars, which tend to sit in our digestive systems and ferment while we struggle to digest them. When gut bacteria break it down, they produce gas, which can cause painful bloating and other uncomfortable symptoms.
IBS affects 7-15% of the general population, with many people experiencing bloating, gas, and stomach pain, as well as constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of the two. These symptoms can range from feeling uncomfortable to debilitating, with one person with IBS experiencing the condition differently than another.
Here, we’ll explain what FODMAPs are, what you can eat on a low-FODMAP diet and how you can manage your IBS long-term. Plus, learn more about gut health and how to improve your digestion here at LiveScience.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP stands for “Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols,” which are short-chain sugars that can trigger symptoms in people with IBS when ingested.
“FODMAPs are short chains of sugars found in a variety of grains, fruits, and vegetables as well as some processed foods,” explains Dr. Bridget Wilson. flattened (Opens in a new tab)Reference bowel specialist, clinical and research nutritionist. Sugars bind to each other in a way that humans may not be able to digest. FODMAP sugars can be digested by gut microbes in a process called fermentation, which produces gas as a byproduct.”
FODMAPs are found in a wide variety of foods, according to a study in Nutrients (Opens in a new tab)Journal, and people may struggle to avoid them properly or adequately meet their nutritional requirements while on a low-FODMAP diet, so the support of a nutritionist is vital to success.
What can you eat on a low FODMAP diet?
Dr. Wilson encourages those on a low-FODMAP diet to seek expert help, particularly in the restriction phase. “You can eat from all food groups on a low-FODMAP diet, and it’s important to get professional advice to help you follow the diet accurately and maintain a good balance of nutrients while following the restricted phase of the diet,” she says.
Some foods you can still enjoy on a low FODMAP diet include:
- vegetables: Carrots, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, bamboo shoots, spinach, green onions, ginger, lettuce, parsnips, potatoes and turnips.
- the fruit: Lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, banana, strawberry, raspberry, cantaloupe, cantaloupe and kiwi. It is important to note that some of these foods become high in FODMAPs when overripe or overripe, so you should check the appropriate stages for you to eat.
- Meat and fish: Most unprocessed meats are fine, but beware of processed meats like salami, which sometimes contain garlic.
- Dairy and dairy alternatives: Lactose-free milk, almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk, lactose-free yogurt and hard cheese.
- legumes: Oats, rice, gluten-free pasta, quinoa, and cornmeal. Check the label of anything listed as “gluten-free” to make sure it doesn’t contain other causative ingredients. Note: It’s not gluten that you avoid on a low-FODMAP diet, but the sugars in wheat. However, since gluten-free products are also wheat-free, you can generally eat them.
Tariq Mahmoud is a doctor and medical director at Concepto . Diagnostics (Opens in a new tab)He notes that although a low-FODMAP diet may seem restrictive at first glance, it is possible to remain healthy and satisfied while eating a low-FODMAP intake. “There are a lot of foods that can be eaten perfectly well. For example, eggs, fish and meat. There are a lot of fruits, grains and vegetables too – grapes, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, oats, quinoa and rice to name a few.
“Common drinks like tea and coffee are also fine to drink on a low-FODMAP diet, but no more than three cups a day.”
How to follow a low FODMAP diet
Dr. Mahmoud lists some foods to avoid on a low-FODMAP diet: “Foods to avoid on a low-FODMAP diet include fruits such as apples and melons, dairy products such as fresh and soft cheese, ice cream, milk, vegetables such as broccoli, mushrooms and onions, as well as wheat products such as crackers and bread. and pasta.” Then, once you have eliminated all the foods high in FODMAP, you can try to slowly reintroduce them on a one-by-one basis to see which ones are causing or not causing GI symptoms.
“Another thing to keep in mind is that while changing your diet, it can be difficult to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. As such, multivitamins and supplements are your friends. Omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and calcium are just that. A handful of the most important vitamins and minerals you’ll need to stay on top of it.”
study in Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Opens in a new tab)People who wish to try a low-FODMAP diet are encouraged to do so under the supervision of a dietitian. It also recommends that the initial elimination phase take no more than 4-6 weeks, as long-term dieting may have negative effects on the gut microbiome.
Phases of a low FODMAP diet
“A low-FODMAP diet is the process of short-term elimination of foods high in fermentable sugars (FODMAPs) followed by careful reintroduction to identify a specific group of foods that may be triggers for symptoms,” explains Dr. Wilson. “The final stage of this process is customization as the diet is expanded to include all FODMAP foods that are not triggers,”
At this point, all high-FODMAP foods are cut out for 4-6 weeks. Proof of exclusion from production Monash University (Opens in a new tab) (Where the Low FODMAP Diet Was Developed) Reminds us that the Low FODMAP diet is not an elimination diet, but an alternative diet. While it may seem difficult to substitute foods with very distinct flavors like onions and garlic, a dietitian can point you to low-FODMAP alternatives, like chives or garlic oil, making this phase easier.
Re-entry involves strategically testing each FODMAP subgroup (fructose, lactose, sorbitol, mannitol, fructan, and galactan) to see if you can digest them without experiencing symptoms. You’ll keep the low FODMAP diet in the background and test each subgroup individually and in increasing amounts over a few days, with a few days’ break before trying a new reintroduction. You may find that you can tolerate some foods in small amounts, while others can be incorporated completely into your diet without restrictions. It is important that you have the support of a dietitian at this point, as they will be able to advise you on which foods are best to test your tolerance for each subgroup.
Integration / customization
In the consolidation phase, you work with your dietitian to take the results of the reintroduction phase and apply them to your diet. If some FODMAPs continue to stimulate you after removal, they will henceforth be avoided, but you can test your tolerance every few months because our response to FODMAP tends to change over time.
these 5 ways to improve gut health She may offer some tips to help your gut health after the consolidation phase.
Benefits of a low FODMAP diet
According to Dr. Mahmoud, “Gastrointestinal issues are also associated with anxiety, depression, and stress as well, which makes a low-FODMAP diet beneficial if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.”
He also says avoiding all types of FODMAPs is a dangerous, borderline challenge, as some of the most common types of FODMAPs include fructose (found in most fruits and vegetables), fructans (found in grains) and lactose (found in dairy products). However, research has shown that bloating, pain, and wind were also reduced in IBS patients who were on a low-FODMAP diet.
study in Nutrients (Opens in a new tab) The journal also found that a low-FODMAP diet significantly reduced bloating and pain in people. Since these are two of the main symptoms of IBS, cutting out the foods responsible for these symptoms may help lift some of the burden of IBS.
“It has been clinically proven that a low-FODMAP diet provides a significant reduction in IBS symptoms,” adds Dr. Wilson. It is the process of identifying specific dietary triggers for IBS symptoms. By knowing exactly which foods trigger IBS, people with IBS can regain confidence in food , freeing them from food and social anxiety. “