It’s a sad fact that the typical modern diet doesn’t promote healthy digestion. Many people take supplements to make up for the high amount of processed foods they eat, but nothing replaces a solid diet designed to strengthen and sustain gut bacteria. One alternative, especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), is the low FODMAP diet.
The low FODMAP diet is the preferred solution to IBS and other digestive issues, and research has shown that it’s very effective. One study found that more than 75% of IBS patients following the diet saw improvement with their symptoms. But what does “low FODMAP” mean, and how does this type of diet work so well?
What Does “Low FODMAP” Mean?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. These fermentable, short-chain carbohydrates are very common in everyday diets, but the small intestine doesn’t absorb them very well; for some people, this inability can lead to digestive problems like IBS.
The four classes of carbs include:
- Oligosaccharides: fructans and galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
- Disaccharides: lactose
- Monosaccharides: fructose
- Polyols: sorbitol and mannitol
These FODMAPs are easily fermentable, leading many people to experience an increased amount of fluid and gas in their bowels. This can lead to bloating, pain and diarrhea. If a dieter reduces the amount of FODMAP carbohydrates in their diet, they can decrease the symptoms!
What Does A Low FODMAP Diet Exclude?
To follow a low FODMAP diet, you should first speak to a dietitian or expert and follow their recommendations. While the advice can be different based on your health needs, most low FODMAP diets cut out the following:
- Lactose from cow’s milk, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc.
- Fructose found in fruits such as apples, cherries, mangoes, pears, peaches, and watermelon
- Fructans found in vegetables, such as artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, garlic, and onions
- GOSs found in chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and soy products
- Polyols found in fruits such as apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums, and watermelon
The dieter must also avoid grains such as wheat and rye, most fibre supplements, and sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, isomalt, honey, agave nectar, and products with high fructose corn syrup.
While this is a wide variety of foods, you might not have to toss all of them away. A good low FODMAP diet limits the foods that are problematic for you, not all the foods. Talk with your doctor or dietitian to see which of the foods on the above list to avoid. Even if you have to get very strict with your dietary cuts, the right supplier can help you make the adjustments with no problems at all!
What Does A Low FODMAP Diet Include?
Traditional low FODMAP diets still include many delicious, healthy options, including:
- Dairy: Lactose-free milk and milk alternatives made from rice, almonds, and coconut; lactose-free yogurt; and cheeses like feta and brie
- Fruit: Bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, oranges and strawberries
- Grain: Oats and oat bran, rice bran, gluten-free pasta, cornflour and quinoa
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, and walnuts (should limit these to 10-15 nuts per day)
- Protein: Grass-fed beef, pork, fish, free-range chicken and eggs
- Vegetables: Bean sprouts, bok choy, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger, lettuce, olives, potatoes, and turnips
Even if you don’t completely subscribe to a low FODMAP diet, incorporating more of these options and reducing the foods on the first list is a good step towards better digestive health. For many people, taking on the low FODMAP diet for a short time, followed by bringing back some of the foods that can be found on the “exclusion” list, is a welcome solution to digestive problems. Whatever your needs, Diet & Wellness Health Food Store helps Londoners make the transition to low FODMAP much easier!