Digestive problems are extremely common these days.
I’m talking about conditions like reflux, IBS and Crohn’s disease.
I’ve been shocked by what you’ve told me, though, regarding the care you receive from your medical practitioner.
And, this story is repeated over and over.
You tell me stories of being sent home with a packet of pills, not knowing how to change your diet, or even if it’s worth trying to change.
That is completely and utterly shocking, and not the solution you need to treat the root cause of your digestive problems.
At the very least you should have been given some basic information by your doctor regarding diet, and then referred on to a specialist dietitian.
Trust me, your condition can and will be helped by changing the way you eat.
And I’m not talking about a “maybe” or “perhaps” here, a change in your diet certainly will help.
Obviously, I’m not suggesting you can “cure” the problem completely with diet. But, you can most certainly ease your symptoms.
So, rather than overlooking the need to make changes to your diet, I urge you to embrace these changes, and see it as the beginning of a new way of eating for you.
I’m excited to share the FODMAPs diet with you today, because it offers a promise of relief from your symptoms.
For IBS, the low FODMAPs diet has a proven success rate of over 75 percent.
That’s an amazing success rate, when you compare it to standard diets, with have only a 30 percent success rate.
For more severe conditions like Crohn’s disease, for example, research indicates the low FODMAPs diet can reduce symptoms and offer significant relief to most sufferers (it does not affect inflammation in the digestive tract, though).
So, What Are FODMAPs?
The first time you hear the term “FODMAPs” you’d be forgiven for dismissing it as some kind of bizarre new fad, but hear me out!
The FODMAPs diet isn’t another scam.
It was produced by dietitian and researcher, Dr Sue Shepherd. Sue is a leading expert in the area of coeliac disease and IBS.
Her diet has been published in medical journals, and is now recommended as one of the most effective dietary therapies for IBS.
That’s a pretty big deal!
Need more proof? One study concluded;
The low FODMAP diet provides an effective approach to the management of patients with functional gut symptoms. The evidence base is now sufficiently strong to recommend its widespread application.
The term FODMAPs is a clever abbreviation (or acronym) which stands for:
- Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galactans)
- Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)
- Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
- Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)
I know this may seem complicated at first glance, but please bear with me, it’s not as complex as it appears.
Basically, FODMAPs are molecules found in the foods you eat.
Why FODMAPs Can Be Problematic
In those with digestion problems, these FODMAPs in your food are either partly or poorly absorbed causing major issues in the gut.
Some FODMAPs, such as fructose, lactose and polyols are partly absorbed. Other FODMAPs, such as fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides are poorly absorbed.
When they arrive in the large intestine they act as a food source to the bacteria present there.
The bacteria digest/ferment these FODMAPs, causing symptoms such as bloating, excess wind, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both, and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.
FODMAPs are also highly osmotic, which leads to increased water in the GI tract, further adding to the bloated feeling and other problems.
Think of a loaf of bread rising… it changes from a flat, dense lump of flour and water to a light, fluffy mound with plenty of air inside because it’s being fermented by the yeast.
Now imagine that happening in your gut, and you’ll understand why FODMAPs can cause so many intestinal symptoms.
If you have IBS, these symptoms will be all too familiar to you.
How the Low FODMAPs Diet Works
The basic concept of the diet is to reduce your intake of high FODMAP foods for a period of about 5-6 weeks as a test to see if your symptoms improve.
Some notice an improvement in their symptoms within one week. However, you should keep following the diet for a full 5-6 weeks, before assessing if it is effective for you.
After that time you can begin to reintroduce one test food at a time back into your diet again.
If you react to a food, this will help you to work out your tolerance levels for that food, or group of foods.
By going through the elimination diet and re-introduction period, it will give you a clear idea of which FODMAPs you can tolerate, and which ones you can’t.
You may find that you can, in fact, tolerate a little of these foods, as long as you don’t overdo things.
Without undergoing the initial restrictive period, you would never have been able to work that out, so it really is worth the short-term restriction.
Please note, the low FODMAP diet is not a life long diet. The aim is to be able to manage your symptoms better.
High FODMAPs Food List
The following list is not complete, but it will give you an idea of the type of foods that may be causing you problems:
- Excess fructose: honey, apples, mango, pear, watermelon, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids
- Fructans: artichokes (globe and Jerusalem), asparagus, beetroot, chicory, dandelion leaves, garlic (in large amounts), leek, onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), raddicio lettuce, spring onion (white part), wheat (in large amounts), rye (in large amounts), inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides
- Lactose: milk, ice cream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yogurt, margarine, soft unripened cheeses (eg ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone)
- Galacto-oligosaccharides: legume (eg baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans), lentils, chickpeas
- Polyols: apples, apricots, avocado, cherries, lychee, nectarines, pears , plums, prunes, mushrooms, sorbitol (420), mannitol (421), xylitol (967), maltitol (965) and isomalt (953)
3 Helpful FODMAPs Diet Resources
This diet is probably unlike anything you’ve tried before, so getting your hands on some good resources will really help you get to grips with everything.
Here are 3 to get your started…
1. FODMAPs Diet Infographic
I’ve created this infographic to help you digest all of the information:
If you want to use this infographic on your website, email me and I’ll share the embed code with you.
2. FODMAPs Diet App
The Low FODMAP Diet App can be downloaded from iTunes.
This will be really helpful, particularly in the early days, to enable you to get to grips with which foods are high or low FODMAPs.
3. FODMAPs Diet Book
I also recommend that you get your hands on a copy of the book, The Complete Low FODMAP Diet by Sue Shepherd and Peter Gibson.
And, don’t forgot to seek out the help of a dietitian to guide you in making these changes to your diet 🙂
So, what do you think of the FODMAPs diet? Are any of the high FODMAP foods already on your ‘avoid’ eating list?