A friend recently suggested the low FODMAP diet to help with my digestive issues. I am wondering what FODMAPs are and how to avoid them?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols.
For some people, eating foods that contain FODMAPs can cause a lot of digestive issues because they lack the enzymes to properly digest them. Not fully digesting FODMAPs results in their fermentation - causing gas, discomfort, diarrhea, constipation and other symptoms of digestive distress.
Sources of FODMAPs include a variety of common digestive culprits like lactose and gluten, as well as unsuspecting foods like garlic, onions, apples, cauliflower, and cashews.
Following a low FODMAP diet can seem a little bit intimidating at first, it is helpful to work with a nutritionist.
It is recommended that the diet be followed for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, high FODMAP foods can be added back into the diet one at a time, in order to identify your individual triggers.
If you have been strictly following the diet for at least 6 weeks and not noticing any improvements it could be that you are sensitive to some of the low FODMAP grains, trace amounts of lactose, or sugar. Avoiding corn, oats, rice, all dairy, and limited sugar may help increase the efficacy of the diet.
Other great resources include Kate Scarlata's blog and Monash University.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist, college instructor, and raw food educator.