What is a Low Fodmap Diet?

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According to the NCHS, 28.3 million Americans visit physicians with digestive complains every year. This shows you how common digestive issues are. Nutrition experts are blaming the diet for digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and stomach pain. Many also specifically blame FODMAPs for such issues. FODMAPs are compounds that are found in certains foods such as barley and wheat. They are known to trigger irritable bowel syndrome and various other GI disorders. Here’s where the low FODMAP diet comes into play.

This diet focuses on reducing the intake of FODMAPs to reduce stomach issues. Let’s get to know more about FODMAPs and a low FODMAP diet.

What Are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs, short for Fermentable, Oligo, Di, Monosaccharides and Polyols, can cause a lot of problems in the digestive system. These are carbohydrates which are hard to digest since they can end up on the far end of the intestine where the gut bacteria is present.

Once these carbs reach near the bacteria, it uses them as fuel and create hydrogen gas giving rise to many kinds of digestive disorders. Other than that, FODMAPs are also known to create liquids in the intestine that can cause diarrhea.

Here are some common types of FODMAPS:

  • Lactose: This FODMAP is found in dairy products such as milk. 
  • Fructans: Can be found in many foods but mostly in grains such as wheat, spelt rye etc.
  • Fructose: This FODMAP is present in most of the fruits, vegetables and added sugars.
  • Galactans: Found in legumes.
  • Polyols: They are sometimes used as sweeteners and are often found in many fruits as well.

What Is a Low FODMAP Diet?

A diet that limits the consumption of foods that contain higher amount of FODMAPs in them is a low FODMAP diet. This diet doesn’t exclude FODMAPs right away but gradually because eliminating them right away can cause many problems in the body.

Once you reduce the consumption of FODMAPs, you will see a noticeable change in your stomach issues and even feel lighter.

Foods To Eat In A Low FODMAP Diet

Here is a list of foods that you should eat in this tied:

Vegetables: Squash, sweet potatoes, alfalfa, potatoes, radishes, eggplant, ginger, green beans, spinach, bell peppers, kale, lettuce, chives, olives, parsnips,, spring onion (only green), tomatoes, turnips, yams, water chestnuts, zucchini, bok choy, carrots, celery and cucumbers can be eaten on a low FODMAP diet.

Dairy Products: Dairy products are strictly restricted from this diet except for the ones that are lactose free. Other than this hard cheese such as cecembert and brie are also allowed.

Fruits: Fruits that are allowed in this diet are blueberries, grapes, kiwi, lemons, cantaloupe, melons but not watermelon, oranges, raspberries, strawberries, grapefruit, bananas, lime and mandarins.

Seeds And Nuts: Macadamia nuts, almonds, sesame seeds , cashews, peanuts  and pine nuts can be eaten.

Sweeteners: Stevia, maple syrup, molasses and artificial sweeteners can be included in the foods to increase taste.

Grains: Quinoa, corn, oats, rice, sorghum and tapioca are allowed on a low FODMAP diet.

Other Foods: All meats and fish, all fats and oils, spices and herbs can be eaten.

Foods Not To Eat In a Low FODMAP Diet

When it comes to a low FODMAP diet, it is more important to know what not to eat than to know what to eat. Here are a few foods that you need to restrict in this type of diet:

  • Vegetables: These vegetables are high in FODMAP and should be avoided: Brussels sprouts, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, cabbage, mushrooms, okra,  leeks, beetroot, asparagus, onions, peas and shallots.
  • Fruits: Blackberries, boysenberries, figs, pears, peaches, watermelon, apples, applesauce, apricots, cherries, canned fruits and dates should be excluded from the diet.
  • Grains: Rye and barley.
  • Beverages: Milk, soy milk, soft drinks that contain fructose corn syrup, beer, fortified wines and fruit juices.
  • Sweeteners: High fructose corn syrup, honey, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, fructose and sorbitol.
  • Dairy products: Yogurts, whey protein supplements, sour cream, milk derived from goats, sheep and cows, ice cream, soft and fresh cheeses.
  • Legumes: Red kidney beans, beans, baked beans, chickpeas, lentils and
  • Wheat: Breakfast cereals, tortillas, bread, pasta, waffles, pancakes, crackers and biscuits.

Benefits Of a FODMAP Diet

  • Patient suffering from irritable bowel syndrome can benefit from a low FODMAP diet as it can help relax their stomach. Since this diet excludes foods that are high in FODMAP carbohydrates, digestion can be carried out easily.
  • GI disorders like Crohn’s disease and Ulcer Colitis occur due to inflammation around the walls of the intestine. A low FODMAP diet helps reduce this inflammation and even treat these diseases.
  • An upset stomach can create stress and stress can ruin your mood. When you’re on a low FODMAP diet, your stomach stays lighter and you stay in a good mood.
  • A diet that incorporates foods that are low in FODMAPs can help to reduce other common symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea etc.

The Verdict

A low FODMAP diet really helps to lighten a stomach and smooth digestion. If you experience stomach issues such as constipation, bloating, diarrhea etc., then turn to a low FODMAP diet and see the results yourself.