Have you heard the words “FODMAP diet” and not sure what it means or what it is used for?? FODMAP stands for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are carbohydrates that are found in common food items and contribute to gassiness, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The severity of these symptoms are dependent on each individual’s tolerance. The low FODMAP diet is a common diet that looks at food items that are high in fermentable carbohydrates and eliminates them from the diet. So whether you have annoying and difficult IBS symptoms or have multiple food allergies, following the low FODMAP diet will help you discover the types of foods that give you problems and will better help manage the symptoms.
A registered dietitian can walk you through the stages of the diet. We call the first stage of the diet the elimination phase. This is where you eliminate highly fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. The oligosaccharides include fructans and galactans. The fructans include food items such as wheat, onion, garlic, inulin. The galactans include food items such as beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts and soy. The disaccharides include the lactose containing products. This includes milk, yogurt, soft cheeses, ice cream etc. The monosaccharides include the food items that contain high amounts of fructose. This includes fruits, agave, honey, mangos, watermelon and high fructose corn syrup. The polypol group includes the sugar alcohols which are found in some fruits including apples, cherries, nectarines, some vegetables including mushrooms, cauliflower and some sugar substitutes that contain xylitol or sorbitol. After about 6-8 weeks of the elimination phase, you move into the reintroduction phase. This means that very slowly each fermentable carbohydrate group is reintroduced into the diet.
A registered dietitian will help you decide which foods are suitable for being successful with the low FODMAP diet. At the end of the day, the goal of the low FODMAP diet is to help individuals manage their GI symptoms.