The FODMAP diet is a diet that in studies helps 75% of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. In layman’s terms they are sugars found in food that are not digestible and are fermented by bacteria in the gut. This produces gas. Some people, specifically people with IBS, can get gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation from eating foods rich in FODMAPs. Specific FODMAPS are listed below:
- · Lactose: found in dairy
- · Fructans: Found in wheat products, onion, garlic, beans
- · Polyols: “P” fruits (apple, apricot, peach, plum/prune)
- · Fructose: high fructose corn syrup, apples, pears
I only advise undertaking the FODMAP diet with the help of nutritionist well-versed in it. Locally Leslie Sanford at Metro West Hospital in Framingham and Christy Moran of Cultivate Nutrition are good resources. I did my own research and undertook the first phase of the diet solo and when I met with the nutritionist learned I was inadvertently consuming FODMAPs.
The diet has 3 phases. First, all FODMAP foods are eliminated. This is restrictive. All food must be prepared at home as it is very hard to find FODMAP-free foods at restaurants. Next is the re-introduction phase. In this phase, best guided by a nutritionist, you introduce each FODMAP one at a time and monitor for symptoms. Some people find that all FODMAPs cause issues, but many find they can tolerate some in some doses. For example, I found fructans and fructose and polyols to be an issue, depending on the dose, but I have no issue with lactose. Thereafter you tailor your diet to include only those FODMAPs which are tolerated in the amounts you can tolerate.
Here are some resources on FODMAP diets:
- · Kate Scarlata website. This has recipes, tables of high and low FODMAP foods, app for the phone
- Monash Univ.: discoverers of the FODMAP diet, test foods for FODMAPs, produce high quality app