Low-FODMAP diet can help individuals with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), claims researchers according to a new study.
Individuals with IBS suffer from diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating and this natural treatment can help to eliminate these health issues.
What is the low-FODMAP diet, and where did it come from?
First things first: FODMAP stands for “Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Monosaccharides, And Polyols.” Translation: “FODMAP” foods are carbohydrates, and specifically carbs that are somewhat notorious for causing digestive issues. So, a low-FODMAP diet starts with cutting out foods that are high in these pesky carbs.
Compared to other dietary plans, this diet is lesser-known. At its core, this diet “follows a very specific eating plan that cuts out and reintroduces foods to ease and improve digestive issues” like IBS.
IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS affects at least 6 to 18 percent of people around the world. This digestive condition causes changes in the frequency or form of bowel movements and lower abdominal pain. Diet, stress, poor sleep and changes in gut bacteria may all trigger symptoms.
However, triggers are different for each person, making it difficult to name specific foods or stressors that everyone with the disorder should avoid.
Common IBS symptoms include:
- Pain and cramping
- Gas and bloating
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Changes in bowel movements
- Food intolerance
- Difficulty sleeping
- Anxiety and depression
Healing digestive issues with low-FODMAP diet
“FODMAP” foods are carbohydrates. Specifically, these carbs are linked to digestive issues.
In 2005, a team of gastroenterologists at Monash University in Australia developed the FODMAP diet to help people diagnosed with IBS. The researchers came up with the diet when they determined that certain IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation could be significantly improved by eliminating high-FODMAP foods from your diet.
In the study, the researchers found that FODMAP carbohydrates often attract water into the intestine. As the liquid interacts with the gut bacteria in your large intestine, it triggers a fermentation process which then produces gas. This gas causes the painful symptoms of IBS.
Cutting high-FODMAP foods from your diet means you also prevent them from being fermented by bacteria and producing gas. This simple change can significantly improve the quality of life for people with the many symptoms of IBS.
Dr. Vincent Pedre, a gut health specialist and the medical director of Pedre Integrative Health, shared that this diet improved symptoms in at least 68 to 76 percent of IBS patients. He added that the diet is also beneficial for others with gut conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
The first step of the diet is determining which foods are high in FODMAPs and avoiding them.
If you’re considering the low-FODMAP diet as a natural way to manage your IBS symptoms, here are the foods that you should eliminate from your diet:
- Vegetables – Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, corn, fennel, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, onion, and snow peas.
- Fruits – Apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, figs, mangos, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, and watermelons.
- Legumes – Beans, chickpeas, edamame, and lentils.
- Grains – Barley, rye, and wheat.
- Nuts – Cashews and pistachios.
- Dairy – Fresh and soft cheeses, ice cream, milk, sour cream, and yogurt.
- Sweeteners – Agave, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and sugar alcohols (e.g., maltitol, sorbitol, and xylitol).
During the first three to eight weeks of the low-FODMAP diet, you should eat only low-FODMAP foods. Take note that the diet doesn’t require you to avoid high-FODMAP foods for the rest of your life, you just need to restrict your intake for several weeks then gradually reintroduce some high-FODMAP foods.
Here’s a list of low-FODMAP foods that you should eat while following this diet:
- Vegetables – Arugula, bell peppers, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumber, eggplant, kale, lettuce, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.
- Fruits – Blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, orange, pineapple, and strawberries.
- Grains – Quinoa, oats, and rice.
- Meats, fish, eggs – You can consume these protein sources while following the low-FODMAP diet.
- Nuts and seeds – Almonds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and walnuts.
- Dairy – Hard cheeses and non-dairy alternatives.
- Sweeteners – Brown sugar, pure maple syrup, stevia, and white sugar.
- Fats and oils
Trying the FODMAP diet
Many high-FODMAP foods are nutritious, but you need to avoid them in the first couple of weeks for this diet since a lot of people have sensitivities to this type of carb.
This diet will reduce your intake of dietary fiber. You may need a fiber supplement like rice bran or oat bran to address this.
The diet begins with the elimination phase where you need to cut all high-FODMAP foods from your diet for three to eight weeks.
When you slowly reintroduce high-FODMAP foods to your diet, keep a food diary to track anything that gives you digestive issues.
Nutritionists recommend reintroducing individual food groups. Try consuming grains for one week, then take note of how they make you feel. For the next week, add dairy, and so on. Doing this will make it easier to identify any of your problem foods.
Conclusion: If you have IBS or digestive problems try this treatment with a low-FODMAP diet, it is natural and can help you.If the health issue still exists consult with a doctor.