Restrictive diets are the worst, but they can actually help pinpoint the cause of your problem.
This article on the low FODMAP diet can teach you how you should eat to ease your digestive issues, and once you’re pain-free, you won’t feel restricted for very long.
Did you know ?
The low FODMAP diet is an effective dietary approach to reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
If you have irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating, or other digestive issues that won’t go away, your doctor may have told you about the low-FODMAP diet.
What is it about ? It is not a diet for weight loss, although many people lose weight by following it, because it limits the consumption of many foods that encourage overeating. Doctors Peter Gibson and Susan Shepherd, from Monash University in Melbourne, are the originators of the low FODMAP diet.
FODMAPs are fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols, and they are present in most of the foods you are used to eating. Giving them up is hard, but it won’t be forever, and it just might ease your digestive ailments.
Most people can’t absorb FODMAPs very well, which means digested food stays in the gut, feeding bad bacteria, producing gas, bloating, and even constipation or diarrhea.
It’s very common, and it’s simply a result of the composition of these foods and what our bodies can handle. People who are particularly sensitive to these foods may experience symptoms severe enough to diminish their quality of life, or to cause them to avoid the food altogether, because they would rather be hungry than hurt.
The low FODMAP diet is a way to figure out which particular foods are problematic, so you know exactly what you can eat without feeling sick.
Foods high in FODMAPs
FODMAP foods are anything that contains fructose, lactose, galactans, and polyols — all carbohydrates, mostly sugars.
The foods listed below are high FODMAP foods, and should be avoided when following a low FODMAP diet.
- Agave syrup, sorbitol, honey, high fructose corn syrup, mannitol, inulin, xylitol, maltitol, isomalt, molasses and wine
- Artichoke, cabbage, onion, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, garlic, mushroom, okra, spring onion (white part), snow peas, beets, fennel, radicchio lettuce, cauliflower and dandelion greens
- Fruits like apple, peach, apricot, cherry, avocado, pear, nashi fruit, plum, mango, nectarine, prune, coconut, lychee and watermelon
- Milk (cow, goat and sheep), ice cream, custard, margarine, cream, yogurt, condensed and evaporated milk, chocolate and cheese
- Soy beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and baked beans
- Wheat and rye (to be avoided in large quantities)
That’s quite a long list, and you should also read all food packaging to make sure you don’t eat anything that contains these ingredients. It’s tempting to cheat, but cheating prevents your body from healing. The longer your body takes to heal, the longer you need to stay on the diet.
The plan is to cut out all FODMAP foods for six weeks – the six week period begins on the date of your last bite of FODMAP food. No withdrawal, no reduction. This gives the damage already done to your intestines time to heal.
After six weeks of eating foods without FODMAPs, see your doctor. He will assess if it’s time to move on or if you need more time to heal. Hopefully now, he’ll ask you to start reintroducing FODMAPs into your diet, one at a time, in small amounts. No more than one FODMAP per meal. That way, if you have symptoms, you’ll know what caused them.
When you’ve reintroduced all the FODMAPs, you’ll know exactly which foods are giving you trouble, and you can easily avoid them in the future. Some people find that only one or two foods cause them problems. Others may find that they need to avoid most FODMAPs to stay healthy.
Foods to eat
Reading the list of excluded foods has many people wondering what they can eat – don’t worry, there’s still a comprehensive list of low FODMAP foods.
- Wheat-free products, all gluten-free grain products, oats, rice, corn, quinoa, arrowroot, buckwheat and sorghum
- Lactose-free products, such as lactose-free ice cream and yogurt, sorbet, butter, jelly, hard cheese, brie and camembert
- Banana, blueberry, melon, honey, boysenberry, strawberry, lemon, grapefruit, raspberry, tangerine, grape, kiwi, lime, cranberry and pineapple
- Meat, chicken, fish, beef, shellfish, turkey, deli meats, canned tuna and eggs
- Cucumber, carrot, potato, tomato (avoid cherry tomato), bamboo shoots, ginger, spinach, bok choy, bean sprouts, eggplant, green beans, celery, pumpkin, sweet potato, lettuce, olives, zucchini, shallot / spring onion (only the green part), peppers, parsnips and parsley
- Almond milk, rice milk, nuts and nut butters, seeds, coffee and tea
- Golden syrup, maple syrup, glucose, aspartame, saccharin and sugar (sucrose)
Although a low FODMAP diet seems restrictive, it gives you plenty of options to choose from. Once you get used to not eating out of packages, you won’t need to feel deprived at all.
Leave a Reply