It is common for IBS patients to eat fiber and reduce gluten, but in this article we will present a new diet, the FODMAP diet.
What is its effectiveness, how is it applied, and to what extent is its effectiveness?
What does FODMAPs stand for?
The term FODMAPs stands for short-chain or easily fermentable carbohydrates that are not well absorbed by the intestine and go to the colon, where most bacteria live. These carbohydrates are used as fuel to produce hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide, and methane; This causes gas, stomach pain and bloating.
Its abbreviation refers to (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono- Saccharides And Polyols) i.e.:
- Monosaccharides: The simplest types of carbohydrates such as glucose, fructose, and galactose.
- Binaries such as: sucrose, lactose, and maltose.
- Polymers such as: glycogen, starch, and cellulose.
- Polyol: sugar alcohols such as: Sorbitol, Maltitol, and Xylitol, which are found in some sugar-free sweets, and are found in fruits that contain seeds such as: apples, avocados, and others.
In short, FODMAPs are certain types of carbohydrates, such as sugar, starch, and fiber.
What happens when you eat food with FODMAPs?
The majority of FODMAPs pass through the intestines unchanged. FODMAPs are difficult to digest and are classified as dietary fibres .
These compounds ferment when they reach the colon and are used by gut bacteria as fuel to produce hydrogen that leads to bloating and stomach cramps.
It happens to all people, but in people with IBS problems, the intestinal wall is very sensitive and the movement of food through the intestines is slow. The intestinal wall is stretched due to excess water and gas, resulting in the common symptoms of IBS.
The five types of FODMAPs
FODMAPs are divided into five categories as follows:
- Fructans: Found mainly in wheat, many vegetables (most notably garlic and onions), and inulin.
- Fructose: It is the sugar naturally found in many fruits, and honey.
- Galactans (GOS): present in legumes such as chickpeas and lentils.
- Lactose: The main sugar found in milk and dairy products. But some are allowed; To vary the lactose content in foods.
- Polyols: sugar alcohols found naturally in some fruits, such as: blackberries, and vegetables such as: cauliflower.
We often use them as artificial sweeteners.
What is a FODMAP diet?
The FODMAP diet was specifically designed for IBS patients by preventing some types of food, and the first to develop it were researchers from Monash University in Australia and Melbourne led by Peter Gibson, and they proved the effectiveness of the FODMAP diet in improving IBS symptoms.
The FODMAP diet is divided into a low-FODMAP diet and a high-FODMAP diet. In the case of IBS patients, it is recommended to avoid foods high in FODMAPs, and follow a low-FODMAP diet.
Examples of high-FODMAP foods – low-FODMAP foods:
|Type||High FODMAP food||Low FODMAP food|
|vegetables||Artichokes, broccoli, garlic, green peas, mushrooms, onions, and beets.||Green beans, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, and tomatoes.|
|the fruit||Apples, cherries, dried fruits, mangoes, peaches, and melons.||Grape, kiwi, mandarin, orange, pineapple, strawberry.|
|Dairy products||Milk, cheese, ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, and yogurt.||Almond milk, feta cheese, and lactose-free milk.|
|Protein||Some meats, poultry, seafood, and some processed meats.||Eggs, meat, poultry, and seafood.|
|cereal||Wheat bread, barley, biscuits and snack products.||Corn flakes, oats, quinoa flakes, rice, corn pasta, rice cakes, and wheat.|
|sugars||High fructose corn syrup, honey, and artificial sweeteners.||Dark chocolate, maple syrup, rice syrup, and table sugar.|
|nuts||Pistachio, cashew.||Peanuts, pumpkins, walnuts.|
It is essential to consult a doctor before starting any particular diet or diet.
How to apply the Low FODMAP diet
A low-FODMAP diet consists of 3 main phases and lasts only for a short period of time, and they are the following:
- Phase one: elimination
It is to prevent certain types of high-FODMAP foods for 6-8 weeks, to improve symptoms and begin to judge the type of food that causes you suffering.
- The second stage: the gradient
Once your IBS symptoms improve, you can gradually start adding the items you’ve been blocking at a rate of one item per week. With your doctor’s direction, you may discover that you are sensitive to just one or two carbohydrates or FODMAPs, but not all.
- The third stage: customization
This stage reveals the foods that cause your digestion problems, so you have customized your appropriate diet that gives you all the nutrients you need, while avoiding FODMAPs that cause IBS symptoms.
FODMAP diet benefits
Most of those who followed FODMAP recipes, especially IBS patients who followed the colon diet, say that it helped them to:
- Reduce symptoms of bloating, stomach pain and gas, and improve various digestive problems.
- Improving symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome without resorting to medication.
- Avoid SIBO , an overgrowth of small intestine bacteria.
Things to know before starting the FODMAP diet
Make sure you have IBS. Unfortunately, there is no confirmatory test for IBS, so it is recommended that you go to your doctor when you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Recurrent stomach pain at least once a day.
- Stool color change with the presence of mucous.
- Uncomfortable flatulence.
- Intestinal disorder between diarrhea and constipation.
- Iron deficiency anemia.
- Intestinal bleeding, severe pain after defecation.
- Try an Irritable Bowel Syndrome diet first. Like healthy eating, avoid fat, caffeine and spicy food.
- The time limit for applying the FODMAP diet must be adhered to; Because when you follow this diet you lose many nutrients.
Frequently asked questions about the FODMAP diet
What is the substitute for onions and garlic?
Many recipes rely on adding onions and garlic to flavor them, but since they are classified as high-FODMAPs, you can replace them with other herbs and spices such as: chives, chili peppers, mustard seeds, ginger, saffron, and turmeric.
You can also use garlic oil, because FODMAPs do not dissolve in oil, meaning that the flavor is only in the oil without FODMAPs.
Why are dried fruits high in FODMAPs and fresh fruits low in FODMAPs?
The drying process of dried fruits affects the dehydration and increases the concentration of sugars and FODMAPs present in the fruit. Some fructans (Fructans) were also found in dried fruits that are not present in fresh fruits.
Is protein low in FODMAPs?
All sources of animal protein are low in FODMAPs, such as: meat, chicken, fish, and eggs. They contain no or very little carbohydrates.
How many spoons of sugar are allowed?
A tablespoon or two of sugar is allowed during the day, and for patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it is necessary to reduce more and limit large doses.
Can FODMAPs be broken down by cooking?
Extremely high temperatures can break down FODMAPs, but we can’t rely on that because the result varies depending on the type of food and the temperatures used.
There isn’t enough research to discuss this topic, so for now, use low-FODMAP ingredients in your recipes.
Can vegans follow the FODMAP diet?
A vegetarian diet can be low in FODMAPs, but following a FODMAP diet with vegetarians can be difficult.
That’s because a plant-based diet relies on high-FODMAP legumes for protein.
However, there are still low-FODMAP protein options for vegetarians such as tofu, eggs, and most nuts.