If you spend a lot of time feeling bloated and gassy, and then spend the rest of that time trying to figure out what it was that caused these symptoms, then the FODMAP diet could be for you. Mostly prescribed for suffers of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and other digestive issues such as Crohns, FODMAP identifies the foods that are most likely to cause such indigestion.
FODMAP stands for, ‘fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols”. They are short-chained carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion. Under normal circumstances, carbohydrates are digested and absorbed into the blood. With these short-chain carbs however, the digestive process does not occur. Instead the foods reach the far end of your intestines (colon) where most of the gut bacteria lives.
Unlike good bacteria that benefits the body, gut bacteria uses these carbs as fuel, producing hydrogen gas and causing other digestive symptoms in some people, which may include diarrhea. The operative word here is ‘some people’. This harmful process doesn’t always occur, and is directly related to how sensitive your body actually is to FODMAP foods. If you feel bloated below your stomach, in the intestines, it’s because that exact process has occurred.
Examples of FODMAP foods include, fructose, which is otherwise known as fruit sugar. Who would have thought that apples are part of the FODMAP family. Another culprit is lactose, which is the carbohydrate found in dairy products such as milk. Fructans, found in many breads and pastas made of wheat, spelt, rye and barley. Galactans, are carbohydrates that are found in legumes, and there is no surprise here, as legumes are famous for flatulance. Lastly, polyols. These are substitute sugars such as sorbitol and xylitol to name a few.
If the above seems applicable to you, then your next step is an appointment with your favorite dietician who can create a low FODMAP diet for you, in the hope of eliminating these uncomfortable symptoms. The intention is not to eliminate FODMAP foods from your diet for good, only to identify the culprits and then accommodate new foods into your diet that may be substituted.
Foods high in FODMAPs include, fruits such as apples, apricots, cherries and watermelon. Vegetables such as broccoli, beetroot, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. Legumes such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and soy beans.
Foods low in FODMAPs include meats, fish and eggs. All fats and oils, fruits such as bananas, cantaloupe, grapfruit, grapes and strawberries. Hard cheeses are also low in FODMAPs as they are very low in lactose.