Our gut health play a much more important role to our wellbeing than many think. When our guts are not working well, the whole body and mind is affected.
Doctors have been able to diagnose digestive disorders for years but have not been able to provide much in terms of a cure. It’s only in recent years, that ground breaking research has proven that one solution, lies in the food we eat!
Research conducted by Monash University, in Melbourne Australia, in the early 2000’s, indicated that certain small carbohydrates in our food were connected to symptoms associated with digestive disorders, such as IBS. These carbohydrates can be divided into groups and named FODMAP’s, which is an acronym for:
Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.
It might sound complicated but they are simply fermentable carbohydrates found naturally in the foods we eat.
These carbohydrates (FODMAPs) are not absorbed properly in the small intestine. So when they reach the large intestine the billions of bacteria that naturally line the gut start fermenting the FODMAPs. All of this is perfectly natural and most people don’t have trouble with the amounts of FODMAPs encountered in a typical diet. However, people with a sensitive or damaged gut seem to have a lower tolerance for some of these FODMAPs and the fermentation process results in excessive gas production which causes the familiar symptoms of wind, bloating and discomfort. Also, an osmotic effect occurs where the large intestine either looses or retains too much water. This can cause the symptoms of loose stools or diarrhoea and in other sufferers, constipation. When you increase your intake of FODMAPs your symptoms will also increase.
The research showed that individuals with IBS felt better when they minimised FODMAP’s in their diet; as a result, the low-FODMAP diet was developed. The low FODMAP diet is not only limited to IBS sufferers. It has also been shown to improve gut symptoms in people with gluten sensitivity, intestinal inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease. It is now recognised, worldwide, as the number one treatment for IBS and related gastric problems.
The good news is that the low-FODMAP diet is a temporary diet and not a diet for life. It is a method of finding out what triggers your digestive problems so that you can alter and customise your diet according to your own needs. The likelihood is that only a few FODMAPs cause you problems, rather than all.