What’s all the fuss about FODMAPs? If you eat certain foods and find that you suffer afterwards, figuring out the FODMAP diet may be worth your time and effort. FODMAP (pronounced “fod-maps”) is simply an acronym standing for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.
Breaking Down FODMAPs:
F - Fermentable foods that are broken down in the large intestine, often causing gas.
O - Oligosaccharides, containing “oligo” meaning “few” and “saccharides” meaning “small sugar chain molecules.” Wheat, barley, legumes, artichokes and milks made from soy, rice or coconut are considered oligosaccharides.
D - Disaccharides contain “di” meaning “two” saccharides. Milk, cheeses and yogurts are examples.
M - Monosaccharides only contain “mono” or “one” saccharide. High-fructose corn syrup, honey, agave and juices from apples, pears or watermelon are examples of monosaccharides.
A - And
P - Polyols are sugar alcohols -- they are not intoxicating. Peaches, plums, cherries, mushrooms, cauliflower and sugar-free gum are examples of polyols.
FODMAPs are carbohydrates. When they are not properly digested, they can ferment in the bowel causing bloating, gas or diarrhea. Research suggests that people suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can benefit from a FODMAP elimination diet to reduce gas, bloating and stomach pain. Common high FODMAP foods that may trigger these symptoms include onions, garlic, asparagus, celery, sweet corn, apples, pears, mango, watermelon, peaches, plums, cow’s milk products (milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream), legumes and pulses, rye and wheat products (breads, cereals, pasta, crackers), sugar free gum, cashews and pistachios.
Although it may sound like a fad diet, the FODMAP elimination diet is considered a medical nutrition therapy. It is intended to be exploratory and temporary, lasting only two to six weeks. The diet eliminates all foods containing FODMAPs and systematically reintroduces them in a way that reveals the foods not tolerated by the individual. It is important to consult a healthcare practitioner or a dietitian who specializes in low-FODMAP diets before starting the diet to rule out Celiac disease or other conditions and to ensure that all of your nutrients are being met. Click here to find a FODMAP dietitian in your area.
Written by: Allison Thummel, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
1. Journal of Gasteroenterology and Hepatology
2. Monash University