What is FODMAP?

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If you regularly suffer from a bloated tummy or abdominal pain, then you could have a problem with FODMAPs. These are a collection of foods, found in modern western diets, which have short chain carbohydrates.

Some people have difficulty absorbing these types of carbohydrates in the small intestine. In this case, when FODMAPs pass through into the large intestine they become fermented by bacteria and cause bloating, constipation and flatulence. The acronym ‘FODMAP’ derives from ‘Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols’.

Symptoms of FODMAP

Now is probably a good time to mention that just because you sometimes get gas, you may not have a problem with FODMAPs. In fact, most people usually don’t as they are in such everyday foods as apples, pears, sweet corn, cow’s milk, ice cream, wheat breads and some types of nuts. See this list of low and high FODMAP foods by Monash University for more examples.

However, for a small percentage of people, painful and debilitating digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are a daily reality.

Can a low-FODMAP diet help?

Luckily the low-FODMAP diet devised by Monash University has been found to help symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders and irritable bowel syndrome. This diet restricts high-FODMAP foods for a period of two to six weeks under the supervision of a dietician. Then certain foods are reintroduced gradually to test tolerance. It is not a life-time diet as following a strict low-FODMAP diet can reduce beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Types of low-FODMAP meals

Below are some examples of low-FODMAP meal ideas as recommended by the Monash University low-FODMAP diet. For more information on the low-FODMAP diet visit:   http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/:

Breakfast – Toast with gluten-free or spelt bread, spreads like vegemite / strawberry jam (sweetened with sucrose) OR cereal like oats or porridge, tea or coffee with lactose-free milk, low FODMAP fruit.

Lunch – Ham/salad, tuna/salad, cheese/salad, egg/lettuce sandwich on gluten-free or spelt bread, low-FODMAP vegetable soup, salad with meat and dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

Dinner – Meat/fish/tofu plus low FODMAP vegetables/ salad plus potato/rice/gluten-free pasta/rice noodles.

Snacks – low-FODMAP fruit, lactose-free yoghurt, gluten-free biscuits and cakes.