The Low FODMAP Diet – Managing a Sensitive Stomach

You’re probably thinking to yourself… “What does FODMAP even mean?!” FODMAP is actually an acronym. It stands for:

Fermentable

Oligosaccharides

Disaccharides

Monosaccharides

And

Polyols

If you have a background in chemistry/biochemistry (or food science like me :) ) you will probably notice that these are all types of carbohydrates. If not, here is a broken down definition of each one:

Oligosaccharides are chains of 3-10 simple sugars. This includes foods that contain fructans and galactooligosaccharides.

Disaccharides are made of 2 sugar molecules linked together. Lactose is a disaccharide that is naturally found in dairy products.

Monosaccharides are most “broken down” and simple form of sugar molecule. Fructose is a monosaccharide that is found in some fruits and vegetables.

Polyols are sugar alcohols. These may be natural (found in some fruits and vegetables) or man-made (artificial sweeteners added to sugar-free gum, sugar-free candy, some protein bars, and low-calorie ice cream such as “Halo Top”). Examples of polyols include maltitol, sortibol, xylitol, and erythritol.

In summary, FODMAPs are the short-chain carbohydrates that tend to ferment in our stomach and GI tract. For some people, this fermentation process may create gas, like a helium balloon! The Low FODMAP Diet is often suggested for patients who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is characterized by chronic symptoms such as abdominal discomfort or pain, bloating, gas, and abnormal bowel movements (constipation/diarrhea). IBS is often referred to as a “functional gut disorder” meaning that these individuals have a perfectly normal looking GI tract (based on results from a procedure called a colonoscopy), but suffer from the symptoms mentioned above. The Low FODMAP Diet is typically recommended by doctors or dietitians who specialize in gastrointestinal (GI) issues.

The Low FODMAP Diet was developed by researchers at the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.1

Note – If you have NOT been formally diagnosed with IBS, please visit your doctor first, to rule out any other possible diagnoses! The Low FODMAP Diet is quite specific and restrictive, and following the diet unnecessarily could mask symptoms of serious GI disorders such as Irritable Bowel Disease or Celiac Disease.

If you HAVE been diagnosed with IBS, please feel free to book an appointment with us at Shift Nutrition. We would love to assist you in developing an eating plan to reduce your GI symptoms. Happy gut = happy life :)

References

  1. https://www.monashfodmap.com/about-fodmap-and-ibs/

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