What are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs, stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are different types of carbohydrates that act as a food source to bacteria that live in the large intestine. When they are not absorbed properly, they are fermented or not digested well, resulting in symptoms of IBS. Common high FODMAP foods include apples, pears, mushrooms, onion, garlic, bread and milk. Following a diet that is low in FODMAPs helps relieve symptoms of IBS.
IBS is a condition which results in abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, excessive wind and bloating (or any mix of these). Unfortunately, unless triggers are known, symptoms may occur anytime. For people who suffer from IBS, this can be especially frustrating in business meetings, when they’re needing to pass wind but can’t, or are sitting on the train and have to get off a stop or two early to find a bathroom, or feeling embarrassed at social events because they’re so bloated they look pregnant (even when they’re not). If you haven’t ever experienced this, it may seem trivial, if you have, you know that IBS is certainly something to worry about!
Where do FODMAPs fit in?
The key purpose of the low FODMAP diet is to help determine triggers of IBS. Research has shown this diet to be the most effective way of managing IBS. By removing high FODMAP foods, and including only low FODMAP foods you can determine if symptoms improve.
How to manage long term
The strictly low FODMAP diet is recommended to be followed for 2-4 weeks, then a series of food challenges is suggested, to help determine which FODMAPs are your your individual triggers. Cutting out whole food groups or types of food long term is unnecessary in most cases; as most people with IBS are able to reintroduce high FODMAP foods and maintain good symptom control. Understanding your triggers makes it easier to make informed food choices.
To ensure long term gut health, reintroducing foods which are rich in prebiotics that provide food for the healthy bacteria in your gut, is important. Many of these prebiotics are found in high FODMAP foods and long term avoidance of these may affect the health of your bacteria, and your gut.
About Chloe McLeod
Chloe McLeod is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Sports Dietitian passionate about motivating Australians to create positive relationships with food and educating them on making holistic health changes so they live the best lives they can. To book a consultation visit her website: www.chloemcleod.com