I know that when my gastroenterologist first told me that I needed to go on a low FODMAP diet, my mind just spun and really the only question that came out of my mouth was, “What’s that?”
Then in the weeks that followed I had all these questions that I then had to research to find the answers. I thought I might save you all the pain of doing so. If you do have any other questions that I haven’t answered, feel free to comment below and I’ll get on to researching them for you!
What does low FODMAP mean?
“FODMAP” stands for:
- Oligosaccharides (Fructans and GOS)
- Disaccharides (Lactose)
- Monosaccharides (Fructose)
Saccharides, simply put, are simple sugars or chains of simple sugars.
- Polyols (Sorbitol and Mannitol)
Polyols are molecules with multiple hydroxyl groups.
People who require a low FODMAP diet have difficulty tolerating goods that fit into these 4 subheadings, and into smaller groups within these classifications. The reason the foods in these groups might cause bloating, pain, general discomfort and problems in the bathroom? They aren’t absorbed as well in the digestive tract as in other individuals, and when gut bacteria goes to work in the large intestine, they are fermented and gas is produced. Fun times for all!
Who developed the low FODMAP diet?
A research team at Monash University in Australia developed the low FODMAP diet. The legends! Check out the website for heaps of useful info: www.monashfodmap.com
They also have an App, which will be explored more thoroughly in another post, but absolutely worth the download.
Who should avoid eating FODMAPS and why?
Research has found that people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) respond well to a low FODMAP diet. In one study, people that stuck to the diet reported that they experienced improvements in pain, bloating, gas and bowel movements1. The low FODMAP diet has also been directly compared to other established management plans for IBS, and was shown to more effectively reduce symptoms2.
Do I just have to cut these foods out forever?
That’s not the plan. Going on a low FODMAP diet starts with a strict restriction period and then, with the help of a nutritionist or dietician, you test the FODMAP groups for your sensitivities and re-introduce foods or food groups that you can tolerate. Not the most fun process you will ever go through, but it can be very helpful to know exactly what food you can eat, and those groups you should avoid.
Where do I get help?
As already mentioned, the Monash FODMAP website is obviously a fantastic starting place and resource, as they are experts that developed the diet. Their website is www.monashfodmap.com. They also have an app on the App Store available for a one off cost of $12.99 – and I’ll tell you now, it’s saved my butt.
I would highly suggest finding an Accredited Practising Dietician in your area that specialises in gut health and the low FODMAP diet – after having banged my head against a wall for solid YEARS, there’s nothing like getting some well-informed help. Visit https://daa.asn.au/find-an-apd/ and type in all your search criteria. Makes finding one so much easier, trust me.
If you’ve got any other questions, let me know, comment below! I’m always happy to do some research and learn more things myself, and help you guys out at the same time.
1de Roest, R.H. et al. (2013). The low FODMAP diet improves gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective study. The International Journal of Clinical Practice.
2Eswaran, S.L. et al. (2016). A Randomised Controlled Trial Comparing the Low FODMAP Diet vs. Modified NICE Guidelines in US Adults with IBS-D. The American Journal of Gastroenterology (111).
Monash Fodmap website: www.monashfodmap.com