The low-FODMAP diet was created by an Australian dietitian/nutritionist, Dr. Sue Shepherd, to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in her patients. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides Disaccharides Mono-saccharides And Polyphenols. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that can be hard for some people to digest and absorb.  Usually the reason for the difficulty in absorbing these carbohydrates is as a result of an infection in the gut. The diet looks at lowering the intake of these foods as they easily ferment in the gut, leading to uncomfortable side effects that may exasperate IBS symptoms. Lowering the intake of FODMAP foods may provide an opportunity to manage symptoms for some patients. And usually it is temporary, from six months to a year.

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The low-FODMAP diet starts out with an elimination of all FODMAP foods for 6 weeks to 6 months, followed by a gradual reintroduction phase, up to the point where it is tolerable to the patient. Below is a comparative list of high FODMAP foods and low-FODMAP foods. Not all FODMAP foods negatively impact everyone, so it is a good idea to work with a nutritionist well versed in the FODMAP diet so that you can find your unique way forward.

Higher FODMAP Foods

  • Apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, cherries, canned fruit, dates, pears, peaches, watermelon, raisins, prunes, mangoes
  • Fructose, honey, HFCS, xylitol, sorbitol, any sugar alcohol (usually end in ‘ol’)
  • Milk, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream cheese, whey
  • Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, beet, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic*, fennel, leaks, mushrooms, okra, onions*, peas, shallots, celery
  • Beans, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans, split peas
  • Wheat, barley, rye
  • Beer, wine, soft drink, milk, soy, fruit juices
  • Pistachios
  • Mints, gums, chocolates

Lower FODMAP Foods

  • Bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lemons, lime, mandarins, oranges, raspberries, strawberries
  • Maple syrup, molasses, stevia
  • Lactose-free dairy products, hard cheeses
  • Alfalfa, bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger, green beans, kale, lettuce, chives, olives, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Corn, oats, rice, quinoa, tapioca
  • Water, coffee, tea, fresh fruit and vegetable juices
  • Almonds, cashews, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds
  • Meats, fish, eggs
  • Fats and oils
  • Herbs and spices

It is important to note that FODMAP foods do not cause IBS, but for some, they may magnify IBS symptoms. In general, FODMAP foods are part of a healthy diet. However, if you have IBS, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), digestive troubles, or are sensitive to FODMAP foods, adopting a low-FODMAP diet may be helpful in reducing your symptoms. You may have less gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and stomach pains. This diet can be difficult to adopt and follow, and it is recommended you employ a dietitian or nutritionist to help you along your path and to be your support system.

 

Yours in Health,

Kelsey

Bastyr University Student Intern

 

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