In last week’s blog, I briefly mentioned the low-FODMAP diet, so I thought that I better write the promised blog on this topic, rather than keep you hanging. As mentioned, gluten is often blamed for digestive issues when the real culprit could be FODMAPS.
FODMAP stands for: Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are all carbohydrates and can be further divided into five groups: fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, lactose, excess fructose and polyols.
Wheat, rye, barley
Garlic, leek, onion
Lentils, chickpeas, legumes
Lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, kidney beans
Milk, yogurt, ice cream
Custard, dairy desserts
Apples, pears, mangoes, watermelon
High fructose corn syrup, honey
Nectarines, peaches, plums
Cauliflower, mushrooms, sugar snap peas
For some people, FODMAPS enter the digestive tract undigested and are then fermented by bacteria, resulting in gas production. This stretches the colon and can result in bloating, gas and pain. FODMAPS can also cause water to draw into the digestive tract, causing diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both.Following a low FODMAP diet has been shown to improve the digestive issues mentioned above, especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, a low-FODMAP diet is not a permanent diet. High FODMAP foods are important for beneficial bacteria and overall gut health. The most common error that I see is that FODMAP foods are eliminated but never re-introduced after elimination in order to determine tolerance levels to the different categories of FODMAPS.
Following a low FODMAP diet may also be an effective strategy for reducing the dreaded digestive issues that can so often occur during exercise (we’ve all been there). A recent study compared gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms between 11 runners following either a low FODMAP diet or high FODMAP diet for 6 days. The participants then completed two strenuous running workouts. The results: those following the low FODMAP diet had less gas, need to poop, loose stools, and diarrhea. If you often deal with GI symptoms on race day, you could try following the low FODMAP diet for the days leading up to the big race.
If you have digestive issues, then I would encourage you to seek help from a health care professional. The low-FODMAP diet is difficult to follow and has many food restrictions. Because of these restrictions, making sure that your diet is still nutritionally adequate is very important. As mentioned, a key point of this diet is reintroducing the FODMAPS to determine what you can tolerate. It’s important that a professional guide you through this reintroduction phase since it’s done in a specific manner. If you would like support and guidance for following a low FODMAP diet, check out my digestive health repair package. I’d love to guide you and support you through this.