so you're on a FODMAP diet..what next?
you may have noticed a low FODMAP diet has become increasingly common in recent years, even trending as a #hashtag on your favourite social media platform. but do you know what it is, and do you have to be low FODMAP forever?
what are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates found in certain foods, including wheat and beans.
studies have shown strong links between FODMAPs and digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhoea and constipation, and a diet that reduces FODMAPs provides incredible benefits for people with these common digestive complaints.
FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols". so way easier to say FODMAP, right?!
these are short-chain carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion. instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, they reach the far end of your intestine where most of your gut bacteria reside.
your gut bacteria then use these carbs for fuel, producing hydrogen gas and causing digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals (aka bloating).
FODMAPs also draw liquid into your intestine, which may cause diarrhoea.
and people who have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often are sensitive to FODMAPs also.
common FODMAPs include:
- fructose: a simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars.
- lactose: a carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk.
- fructans: found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
- galactans: found in large amounts in legumes.
- polyols: sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol. they are found in some fruits and vegetables and often used as sweeteners.
so if you've recently been told that a low FODMAP diet is the solution to reduce your symptoms, just know it's not a life sentence. the FODMAP diet is extremely restrictive and not sustainable long term.
who wants to live a life without fruits, veggies and rye bread?
restricting FODMAPS for a short period of time is extremely helpful for resetting your gut, but the long-term approach should be addressing the underlying cause which may be SIBO, dysbiosis (unhealthy levels of bacteria) or imbalanced microbiome. addressing these conditions with testing and working alongside your healthcare practitioner will help alleviate those annoying and difficult to live with gut symptoms, and most importantly, allow you to eat a healthy varied diet.
want more gut health tips? download our guide to beating the bloat and living with a happy belly.