So…..what is the low-FODMAP diet and how can it help you?
Millions of people suffer from some sort of digestive distress such as bloating, stomach cramps, constipation or IBS. Most people realise some foods they eat play a role in their symptoms but find it hard to pinpoint exactly everything that triggers them.
We feel your pain it happened to us too. We both suffered with our tummies and have been frustrated trying to find a solution. During our research into how to find a cure we stumbled upon the Low-FODMAP diet (Fanfare please).
If you haven’t heard of it before you’re not the alone.
It’s based on fairly new research by Dr Sue Shepard and is now seen as one of the most effective ways to treat those suffering with gut problems.
So what does it actually mean?
Well, the low-FODMAP diet is a diet low in Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyos.
Confused? don’t worry.
FODMAPs are simply a group of carbohydrates (sugars) that are found in certain foods
To explain it in simple terms this is how it works;
FODMAPs can not always be broken down in the thin intestine so they move slowly into the large intestine. The large intestine is full of bacteria which rapidly break down the FODMAPs generating lots of gas when they are fermented. Some of the FODMAPs can also draw water into the intestine effecting the muscular movement of the gut. The excess water and gas can make you run to the bathroom or make you feel uncomfortably full and bloated. By removing FODMAPs from your diet you can remove the cause of the excess water and gas helping improve your IBS symptoms
How does the diet work?
The diet starts by eliminating all food containing FODMAPs for 2-6 weeks depending on your symptoms. You then reintroduce FODMAP foods back into your diet, one type at a time. Some FODMAPs cause more trouble in some people than others so it is important to track your symptoms when reintroducing to determine which foods are your own personal triggers. You then continue on a low-FODMAP diet and once your symptoms have subsided you can move on to test another FODMAP group .
Once the reintroduction process is complete you can customise the low- FODMAP diet to limit your personal triggers. If for example peaches (and/or other Polyols) trigger your symptoms you may choose to only eat peaches occasionally and perhaps not a whole peach but only a few slices.
So what are the different FODMAP types and foods?
Below are some examples of different high FODMAP types, i.e things not to eat during the elimination process….
Monosaccharides (Fructose) – Honey, apples, pears, mangoes, asparagus, cherries, watermelon, fruit juice, sugar snap peas
Disaccharides (lactose) – Cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, ice cream, yoghurt, sour cream, soft cheeses like cottage cheese and ricotta.
Oligosaccharides (Fructans) – Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, wheat, couscous, pasta, rye, red cabbage, brussel sprouts
Oligosaccharides (GOS) – Non-canned lentils, non-canned chickpeas, hummus, kidney beans,pinto,peas, whole soybeans
Polyols – Apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes, blackberries, lychees, cauliflower, mushrooms
You can get a better understanding of high and low FODMAPs by taking a look at our quick guide to FODMAP foods
The low-FODMAP diet is not for everyone
Please make sure that you just don’t jump on this diet, we recommend that you first read up about FODMAPs and what this diet entails. We have summarised what you need to consider before starting the low-FODMAP on our “Considerations before starting the low-FODMAP diet” page.
There are some really good books, websites and Apps available covering FODMAPs and the low-FODMAP diet. We have listed a few of our favourites below.
We have also put together some more information we found useful under How to get started.
IBS – Free at last by Patsy Catsos
The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet By Sue Shepherd, Peter Gibson and Chey D William
Low-FODMAP 28 – Day Plan by Kate Scarlata
The Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook by Sue Shepherd
Monash University’s Low-FODMAP diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS Diets FODMAP Dieting Guide
IBS, FODMAP Diet by Kate Scarlata
Shephered Works’ Low-FODMAP Diet by Dr. Sue Shepard
Kings Collage, Low-FODMAP Diet FAQ
Tools and Apps
Monash University’s Low-FODMAP Diet App
Low-FODMAP IBS Diet APP