fbpx

You might have heard of a FODMAP diet to help gut health, but what does it mean, who should use it and how does it work?? Let me explain a bit more about it.

 

What does FODMAP stand for?

 

The term stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. No clearer? Basically these are all fermentable carbohydrates that commonly trigger bloating and gas that are so prevalent in IBS. Not everyone has a problem with these foods, and they aren’t ‘unhealthy’ foods. In fact it might surprise you how common they are.

 

What are FODMAP foods?

 

FODMAPs are found in many common foods, and you might react to one type, or all of them. The main kinds of foods are:

  • Oligosaccharides: Wheat, rye, legumes and various fruits and vegetables, such as garlic and onions.
  • Disaccharides: Milk, yogurt and soft cheese. Lactose, maltose and sucrose.
  • Monosaccharides: Foods high in fructose are the main source, for example mangoes as well as sweeteners like agave syrup.
  • Polyols: Certain fruits and vegetables including blackberries, cauliflower, watermelon that are high in Mannitol, Isomalt, Maltitol, Sorbitol, and Xylitol (found in toothpaste and chewing gum)

In some people these carbohydrates produce gas due to fermentation in the gut, and draw water into the intestines causing bloating and loose stools. Fermentation in the gut is normal, but the symptoms arise for people with IBS who have a hypersensitive gut.

 

What CAN you eat on the FODMAP diet?

 

Lots of vegetables and fruits are still available to you like red peppers, courgette, green beans, pumpkin, parsnips, kiwi, blueberries, sweet potato etc. You can also eat meat, oats rice, some nuts and some low lactose dairy.

 

How to do the low-FODMAP diet

 

It’s a very tough diet to manage because it’s so restrictive, and you need to ensure you’re eating a balanced range of nutrients. I don’t recommend anyone trying to manage a dietary changes this big on their own, always work with a nutrition professional.

Think of the low FODMAP diet as a diagnostic tool that is intended to identify food triggers for symptoms of IBS rather than a way of life. In some cases if can allow some healing in the gut so we can reintroduce as much food back into your diet as possible. The low FODMAP diet should not be followed long term because it is too restrictive. The microbes in our gut need fibre and diversity. It’s more healthy for us to eat as varied a diet as possible.

To do this the diet is conducted in 3 phases:

  1. Low FODMAP Phase – 2-6 week
  2. Re-challenge Phase – reintroducing each of the FODMAP groups in a strict way, with washout period in between each group
  3. Adapted low FODMAP Phase – personalise your long term diet and gut health

 

Should you do a low FODMAP diet?

 

It’s important that your digestive symptoms have been checked out by a doctor. If you’re constantly getting constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and pains there could be other diagnoses that your doctor might make so get yourself checked out. These could include coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease or colonic cancer.

If you have IBS and want to try making changes to your diet, there are simple changes you can try before a FODMAP diet such as

  • cutting out processed foods especially high fat foods as these can contribute to a leaky gut
  • remove alcohol from your diet
  • restrict caffeine – 1-2 cups of tea or coffee because caffeine can irritiate the digestive system
  • drink water – aim for 8 glasses a day
  • if you’re sensitive to dairy or gluten try cutting either of these out for 4-6 weeks to look for any difference in your symptoms
  • look at your stress levels
  • ensure you’re getting enough sleep – aiming for 8 hours a day

To get support with making any changes to your diet please get in touch – I can help you find the right diet for you!

I'm Anna Mapson, a registered Nutritional Therapist (DipCNM, BANT, CNHC) and creator of online courses:

Goodness Me Nutrition is all about helping you get the best digestion and diet that works for you. Join my mailing list to stay in touch. 

Improve Your Gut Health - Beat Bloating

Gut Health And The Immune System

Do you feel like you’re constantly run down? Always getting a cold or feeling under the weather? It could be worth looking at your gut health, even if you don’t have any digestive symptoms. Around 70% of our immune system is in the gut, so it...

Nutrition Research – Emulsifiers & Your Gut Health

Emulsifiers - New research in mice that certain types of common food additives can impact the gut permeability, and microbiome, as well as affecting anxiety behaviour.I'm a registered Nutritional Therapist and creator of the 7 Day Gut Reset online course...

Diabetes Diet – How To Eat Well With Diabetes

Firstly let’s break down what we mean by diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is where the pancreas fails to produce insulin due to an autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic cells, and insulin injections are required regularly. People are mostly diagnosed with this...

Nutrition Myth – Eat little & often to lose weight

Is it best to eat lots of small meals to keep up my metabolism?Often I hear people saying they need to eat little and often to keep up their blood sugar balance, and if they don't eat they feel terrible. This used to be me - I was well known for being 'hangry' if I...

The Berry Benefit – how blackberries, blueberries raspberries are good for you

There are lots of benefits to eating berries, but eating them can be messy. You know how blackberries stain your fingers (and clothes!)? The pigment in the berries which stains us, is from something called anthocyanins. These give dark coloured berries their gorgeous...

Do you have social jet lag?

Are you struggling to keep awake this morning after a lovely bank holiday weekend? Did you have to drag yourself out of bed for work after a fun weekend? Maybe you have social jet lag.  Changing our patterns of sleep and eating can cause weight gain, increased insulin...