Low FODMAP Diet (Beginner’s Guide)
Latest Updated 2019
People care less about their wellbeing and tend to eat all manner of garbage; trying satiate their insatiable lust for junk and unhealthy meals.
It is no surprise why the rate of malnutrition-related sicknesses are unbearable.
Although there are several dietary plans out there, most people end up bailing on those plans for a variety of reasons. On would be the fact the nutritional plan doesn’t work them (or so they think), but one thing they would have to understand, is that it takes time for any dietary plan to work.
Because people no longer stick to their dietary plan because they aren’t focused and determined, that is why dietarians try to spice up the nutritional schemes, and one of the spices that the dietarians proffer is FODMAP
What Are FODMAP?
FODMAP stands merely for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharide, monosaccharide and polyols. FODMAP is merely a collection of a particular kind of short-chain carbohydrate or foods with natural sugar, or food additives or supplement.
So in essence, FODMAPs are foods and additives with natural sugar that tend to add more energy to the body, whether in their physical form or a more diluted or supplemented form. We should try to understand the meaning of the acronym FODMAP.
F stands for Fermentable: Fermentable refers to foods that are broken down into more alkalotic molecules, by some bacteria. This breaking down is usually done in a large bowel, where the bacteria can thrive.
O stands for Oligosaccharides: Let me break down the word. Oligo refers merely to a few, while saccharides refer to sugar. These are molecules of independent and individual sugar, which comes together and form a chain.
D stands for Disaccharides: While oligo refers to few, di would mean only two, and saccharides stile stands for sugar. They are double molecules, but I am not entirely sure if they come together to form a chain or not. So all I know is that they are double sugar molecules.
M is a Monosaccharide: I think you’re beginning to get the picture. Mono would then be one while saccharides would remain sugar. So, therefore, monosaccharides will mean one sugar molecules. These molecules come together to form a chain.
A stand for And
Finally, P stands for Polyols: These are sugar alcohol that does not intoxicate but helps to boost some vital and essential processes in the body, like breaking down of food in the body (metabolism). Together these separate molecules come together to form the FODMAP diet.
Who is the low FODMAP diet for?
First of all, we should understand that this diet is a scientifically based diet, carefully engineered, and has a 95% chance of working out for most people.
For those who suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and IBD (irritable bowel disease), or maybe you have a severe GI that is recurrent, such as bloating, gas, abdominal distention, constipation, and diarrhea, then it is the ideal dietary plan for you.
For one, the FODMAP diet helps to reduce the functional gastrointestinal symptoms, for those IBS patients, especially where the diet is followed for 21 days without breaking.
Not that FODMAPs are not essential for the body, so it is not that you’re just going to cut them out, but it would be a prudent idea to eliminate them for at least 2-6 weeks, then introduce them back to the body rather slowly, to know which of the FODMAP’s sugar is the most digressing.
Before I leave this segment, emphasis should be made to the fact that, this dietary scheme is not a weight-loss diet and should not be treated as such; it is more or less a correctional diet.
Common FODMAPS and what to look for in the label
Reading a name of any product will help guide you to what you’re looking for and what will solve your problems better. So with that being said, it is essential that you read the labels of any product to reveal its contents and how it will work for you. Reading the labels of a low FODMAP is a mini-field of its own; diligent care should be used when reading the label.
There are many high FODMAP diets out there that are probably not so good for you. Most of these products are processed with high levels of sugar with the aim of enhancing the taste and texture of the product.
How to read the list of ingredients. The ingredients are usually always in their weight order; the first will typically be with the most significant quantity, while the last component will have the least volume.
Some of the high FODMAPs are
- Inulin or chicory root extract/fiber, which is gluten-free
- The high FODMAP sweeteners like honey, agave syrups, corn syrup, fruit sugar, to mention a few.
- Onion and garlic foods. Always check your labels to ensure there is no onion supplement of any kind in the product.
- Lactose like yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, milk solids, and even whey protein concentrates.
- Dried fruits like breakfast cereals and muesli bars.
For low FODMAP, consider the following on their label
- Soy milk from hulled soybeans
- Gluten-free sweeteners like the apple juice concentrate.
These are just a few tips you could follow to buy a healthy and digestible FODMAP product that will work for you.
Who should follow a FODMAP diet?
Following the FODMAP diet may be hard at first but eventually, the persons following it will not only get to appreciate the diet but also get to enjoy it. As for who should follow the diet, there are a variety of persons who are to follow the diet.
After doing thorough research in Canada as to the persons who can follow the FODMAP diet, the studies showed that IBS patients and patients with an abdominal and bowel disorder should follow this diet strictly. The same studies showed the FODMAP diet relieved at least five million candidates; these candidates were shown to have followed the diet strictly.
For those patients with severe GI concerns, they should not be exempted from this diet. Although you should consult your doctors and registered dietitian as to the right action and right FODMAP diet plan for you before you go on ahead with the plan, you should understand a few things.
The idea behind this diet is for people with a very severe case of digestive issues; they can benefit from it immensely. If you don’t have any form of digestive problems, then don’t try this diet
How to Follow a FODMAP Diet
Following the FODMAP diet is not a piece of cake but it’s not a do or die affair either, the primary thing to understand is that you would have to be consistent with the FODMAP plan.
Because of the processing of foods, many of these foods now have a high level of FODMAPs. But to effectively carry out a FODMAP diet, then it is pertinent to eliminate the consumption of high FODMAPs throughout the diet, which will only last for weeks at the most.
The diet will not work, where you decide only to carry on eating others. For a useful result, you’ll have to eliminate the entire consumption of high FODMAP meals. When you successfully avoid the consumption of high FODMAPs for a few weeks, you can then begin to add some of these meals back, but it is a slow and gradual process, so one food at a time. When you do this, you’ll know which of the high FODMAP was causing the symptoms in the first place, so that you can avoid them altogether.
Doing this exercise may be not only exhausting, but also confusing and pretty complicated, so you’ll need to consult a registered dietitian or a doctor, and seek professional advice as to the best kind of diet that is good for you. With their help, you’ll be able to know the sorts of low FODMAPs available to you and have to apply them.
When you’re fully equipped with what kinds of high FODMAP meals to avoid, you’ll no longer have to be trying out all sorts of dietary plans and making the unwanted nutritional restriction that may even be bad for. They are some test you can also do to know which meals are fructose and lactose so you could avoid.
Benefits of a low FODMAP diet
They are some essential benefits of the FODMAP diet (other than the fact that it brings relief point which we will discuss soon enough) that you’ll want to know about, that may even influence for the better to join the FODMAP diet.
There are two significant benefits of the FODMAP diet; the rest will be subsumed under these two subheadings.
- Reduced digestive symptoms:
One of the reasons to do the FODMAP diet is because you have some irritating discomfort in your bowel or belly. This kind of pain can affect you and may lead to some severe complications that may ultimately lead to death. It is possible, however, to avoid this fate entirely.
For those who have the IBS or IBD, or gas, or intestinal inflammation, or whatever the case may be, when you follow the FODMAP diet, it will not only reduce the symptoms, but it will also tell you the exact food that is causing the problem that you may be able to avoid it altogether.
- Increased quality of Life:
Sickness, ailments, diseases, these are significant hindrances to living a productive life. Let us follow the succession; without your health, you can’t work or have any social life, and if you can’t work, you may not have the cash to fund your social life, you’re mates will carry on with their lives without you.
This ailment then will lead to depression and dependence, and before long, the dependent will become tired and leave you. You need the FODMAP diet if you want to have the best out of life, mentally and physically. The FODMAP diet will give you comfort and increase the quality of your life from eating healthily.
Examples Of High And Low FODMAP Food
Just in case you haven’t been following, there are two kinds of FODMAPs; the top and the low FODMAP. It is preferable that you follow the FODMAP dietary scheme, which more often than not, deals with low FODMAP meals. There are some lists of high and low FODMAP foods above, but a detailed example will suffice
- Low FODMAP
Nut and seed. These kinds of fruits are farm products have low FODMAP. Some of these fruits include cashews, almonds, pine nuts, macadamia, peanuts and sesame seeds.
All the kinds of meats, eggs, or fish. But if they have an added high FODMAP ingredient like wheat or fructose corn syrup, then avoid it. All oils and fats are low in FODMAP Most of the herbs and spices out there are low FODMAP and is right for you.
Fruits like banana, cantaloupe, blueberries, grapes, grapefruits, lemon, kiwi, lime, mandarin, just melon (not watermelon) passionfruit, oranges, strawberries (without cream) and raspberries, are also low FODMAP Artificial sweeteners and lactose-free dairy products such as hard cheese are low FODMAP products.
- High FODMAP
Fruits like, apples, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, canned fruits, dates, figs, pears, watermelons, are just a few high FODMAP fruits. Fructose, honey, syrups xylitol, are some high FODMAP sweeteners.
Lactose filled dairy products like cow, goat and sheep milk, ice cream, sour cream and soft and fresh cheeses are but a few high FODMAP dairy products. Most vegetables and legumes like beans, Brussel, cabbage, chickpeas, kidney beans, cauliflower, garlic, okra, onion, soybeans mushrooms, peas, and shallots are some examples of high FODMAP foods.
IBS and studies that support a low FODMAP diet
IBS stand for Irritable bowel symptoms. These symptoms are as a result of the reaction your bowels get from taking some high FODMAP meals, which is probably harmful to their bodies. It is good to point out that the bowel symptoms could also cover gas and gastrointestinal disorder.
The main idea of the low FODMAP diet is to control and complete eradicate the symptom and to figure out the cause of the sign and avoid it all together.
It is instructive to know that FODMAP foods can trigger the IBS in the first place, but they are high FODMAP meals, so they tend to cause more damage. When this high FODMAP a poorly absorbed by the small intestine, they usually pass through the large intestine and create two significant events;
Since bacteria ferments the food in the bowel, they will contribute to the gas production and;
FODMAP being osmotic, attract water to the large intestine which will then alter the speed of the bowel movement. These two events on their own will result in bloating and distension, abdominal pain and constipation or diarrhea. Since high FODMAP causes most of these symptoms, low FODMAP was scientifically designed to treat dietary dysfunction.
So many studies show how much the Low FODMAP diet treatment works primarily with patients with IBS. When you see a label with the tag FODMAP friendly, it means it is a low FODMAP product and is right for you. For those with the bowel, abdominal or belly distress, it is pertinent that you follow the low FODMAP diet. The low FODMAP diet helps you eat healthily and eliminate food that is harmful to the body. So rather than eat a blackberry or an apple, eat a strawberry or an orange, they are also healthy. The idea of the FODMAP diet is not to eliminate your eating plan, but to control the level of fermented meals you take into your body.
Do I need help from a dietitian?
It is indispensable that you ask the advice of a dietitian or a medical doctor. Always meet medical personnel before you embark on dietary plans. Dietitians will help you choose the best kind of nutritional program that you can work with. They will also tell you the ways and techniques you will employ when you want to start a dietary plan. They will instruct you on the pace you’ll need to take and the steps you’ll need to make to a successful diet.
They are a sort of guide that will guide you through the dietary phase. They ensure that you stick to your plan faithfully. So to answer your question, again; yes, you need the help and GUIDANCE of a dietitian.
There is no better way to stay healthy than to take deliberate steps towards staying healthy. There has to be a conscious effort to leave right, have healthy lifestyle choices, know what you eat, have regular checkups and most of all, treat your body as a temple.
The low FODMAP diet is only a treatment for those who are patients to IBS and other abdominal dysfunctions, it is not for those who do not have any issues, and it is advisable that those who do not have this problem should not do on the diet.
Again to stress this point, although it is a diet, please do not consider it to be a weight loss diet, try to know how it works before you go on a diet.