FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, all of which represent sugars (short-chain carbohydrates) that are poorly absorbed by the small intestine and cause digestive discomfort in certain people, including:
Nausea and/or pain
Poor stool consistency
How does a low FODMAP diet works?
As explained above, the aim is to reduce the amount of FADMAP foods.
This is done in a three steps :
First, you restrict from eating all high FODMAP foods for 2 to 6 weeks.
Next, you reintroduce a different FODMAP food every three days, to find the ones causing you trouble.
You stay away from foods causing you symptoms and you can repeat these steps in about 2 to 3 months as changes can appear as you repair your gut.
Foods allowed on the FODMAP diet
Trigger Foods are different for everyone, however affected people should avoid high FODMAP foods that bother the gut, of which here’s a couple examples :
Wheat/Rye/Barley-based products such as bread or cereals.
Dairy-based milk, yogurt and ice cream
Legumes, Beans, Lentils, Cashews, Pistachios
Certain vegetables, such as artichokes, asparagus, mushroom, onions & garlic,
Certain fruits, such as apples, mango, cherries, pears, peaches, watermelon.
High Fructose corn Syrup, honey, Sugar free Confectionery
As an alternative, meals can be prepared around these low FODMAP foods :
Eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, tempeh
Some cheeses such as Cheddar, Camembert, Brie and Feta,
Almond milk, Soy milk, Lactose free milk
Dark Chocolate, Maple Syrup, Table sugar
Peanuts, pumpkin seeds, Walnuts
Grains like rice, quinoa and oats
Vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and cucumbers
Fruits such as strawberries, oranges, grapes, kiwi and pineapple
You can always ask your doctor or nutritionist for complete list of FODMAP foods.
So should you adopt this diet?
A Harvard Medical School publication in 2022 reaffirms that the FODMAP diet improved IBS symptoms in up to 76% of patients that tried it.
Consequently the people most concerned affected by this should consult a doctor or a nutritionist who will make sure they are implementing it right while maintaining a healthy nutrition.
It is also important to note that this diet is associated to weight loss. Consequently, individuals who are already at a low weight or those not wanting to loose weight, should probably avoid trying this diet on their own since it eliminates so many foods at once.
What can a doctor do for you?
Most people inquiring about FODMAP or dietary changes do so in the context of IBS and SIBO symptoms. Doctors can use others therapies such as antibiotics for SIBO, or laxatives and low-dose antidepressants for IBS symptoms. Stress management techniques can also help.
If you’re wondering what approach you should have about your gut symptoms, or if you’ve been diagnosed with IBS, take the time to speak to a doctor or dietician to discuss the possibilities.