FODMAPs: The Diet You Never Knew Could Cure Your Tummy Troubles
Experts dont believe certain foods cause IBS, but rather that foods high in FODMAPs may trigger symptoms when you have IBS. A Low FODMAP Diet: What the Science Says The first clinical trial on FODMAPs was published in 2006 by Australian researchers. They put 62 people with IBS who were fructose intolerant on a low FODMAP diet for an average of 14 months and found that 74 percent of participants saw an improvement in abdominal symptoms. More recent studies have had similar results. One published in 2013 in the International Journal of Clinical Practice followed 90 people with IBS as they ate a low FODMAP diet. Most participants saw improvement in abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. The concept isnt all that new, however. Doctors have known for a long time that patients who avoided almost all carbohydrates those who went on a high-protein Atkins diet, for instance would see a significant reduction in symptoms in the short-term, said Pankaj Jay Pasricha, MD, chair of the American Gastroenterological Associations Neurogastroenterology and Motility Section and director of the Center for Neurogastroenterology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Low FODMAP Diet: What to Avoid A low FODMAP diet is all about avoiding the foods that are likely to make IBS symptoms act up. Fruits and sweeteners high in fructose: fresh apples, mangos, watermelon, pears, nashi (Asian pears), and juice made from these fruits; canned fruit; dried fruit; foods with sweeteners made with fructose or high fructose corn syrup; and honey. Dairy products containing lactose: milk from cows, goats, and sheep ; custard; ice cream; yogurt; and soft cheeses such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, mascarpone, and ricotta. Foods with fructans: vegetables such as onions, garlic, leeks, fennel, shallots, spring onions, artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggplant, and okra; cereals, breads, and baked goods containing wheat and rye; couscous and pasta; fruits such as custard apples, persimmons, and watermelon; and chicory root, dandelion, the food ingredient inulin, and pistachios. Legumes containing galactans: baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and soybeans. Fruits, vegetables, and sweeteners containing polyols: fruits such as apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, cherries, longons, lychees, nashi, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, and watermelon; vegetables such as cauliflower, green bell peppers, mushrooms, and sweet corn; and sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, maltitol, and xylitol found in diet soda and diet drinks. Low FODMAP Diet: What to Eat Next, put together a meal plan from foods low in FODMAPs that shouldnt trigger IBS symptoms.
Bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation can all be IBS symptoms [REX] One of the latest methods of doing this is using the FODMAP diet. This NHS-approved programme is gaining in popularity, but changes some of our thinking on what ‘good’ foods for us are. Because of this it’s recommended you only start the diet with the help of a dietician or your GP. [The facts about IBS] Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest Laboratories, which specialises in food intolerance testing and has created a new diet programme specifically to combat IBS explains: “IBS varies hugely between individuals so it’s never a case of one diet fits all, which is why it’s really important to be supervised if you decide to remove FODMAP foods from your diet.” “In trials we’ve run at YorkTest, we saw a significant improvement in symptoms in patients who stuck to their prescribed diet. “Many people with IBS just aren’t aware that with a little help, they can often find simple dietary solutions to ease their symptoms.” Though packed with nutrients, broccoli can cause problems for IBS patients [REX] What is FODMAP? Standing for the rather complicated Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, FODMAP foods contain types of carbohydrate and sugars that are not successfully broken down and absorbed by the small intestine. This means they are badly digested and arrive in the large intestine, where they act as a food source for bacteria, soak up water and produce gas, leading to pain, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation – classic IBS symptoms. The idea of removing FODMAP foods is to take away these carbs and sugars that your body has trouble digesting, and it’s been found to make a difference in 70 per cent of cases. [Stretches to improve digestion] FODMAP foods Fruits: Apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, cherries, concentrated fruit juices, dates, dried fruits, figs, lychees, mango, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, tinned fruit in natural juices, watermelon. Alternative fruits: Banana, bilberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cantaloupe/honeydew melon, cranberries, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries. Vegetables: Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, mushroom, onion, leeks, sweetcorn. Alternative vegetables: Carrots, celery, cucumber, lettuce, peas, peppers, olives, spinach, tomatoes, courgettes, parsnips, squashes, sweet potato. Pulses: Lentils, chickpeas, beans (including baked beans, kidney beans and soya beans) Cereals: Wheat, bulgar wheat, rye, barley Alternative cereals: Rice, oats, millet, polenta or quinoa. FODMAPs are found in many foods so get expert help before you cut them out [REX] Others to avoid: Milk products (switch to lactose free or avoid entirely, particularly if you have an intolerance show up in testing), sweeteners such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol – instead try small amounts of sugar, golden or maple syrup. Saccharin and aspartame can also be tolerated.
Beating IBS – could the FODMAP diet be the answer?
Its author (and fellow IBS sufferer and nurse),Elise Dieden, says she was hesitant to treat her IBS with medication: After a few months of looking into FODMAPs, I decided to give it ashot. The symptoms certainly matched mine and everything I read feltlike it was personally directed at me. She continues: I did a two week elimination phase (no FODMAPs) inSeptember 2011andsince then Ive been maintaining (with a low FODMAPs plan). I havebad days where I slip up, but its much easier now that I know why Imhaving GI problems and how to fix it. Having the knowledge to correctthe issue and feel better is so empowering. I no longer getfrustrated with my body because the painful symptoms arent random. Idefinitely feel like discovering FODMAPs has made the biggestdifference in improving my GI health. Sounds great, right? So why arent more people trying a low FODMAPs diet to treat their IBS? Well, mainly because its largely unknown here in the United States. Patsy Catsos herselffirst became aware of the diet five years ago, in 2007: I developed my own materials based on what I could glean from the medical literature trickling out of Australia, and they were an immediate success in my practice. Some patients were ecstatic with the way they felt after just a few days on the diet, and I got better at identifying good candidates. Some patients described the difference as amazing, like night and day or said they finally knew what it was like to feel normal. Diets low in lactose and fructans (hello, gluten-free craze!) are pretty well-known and popular here. Patsy says that if youre already eating a lactose-free or gluten-free diet and you continue to have uncomfortable GI symptoms, you may be a good candidate for a low-FODMAP trial: If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity and are still experiencing bouts of GI symptoms, even when you are eating a gluten-free diet, FODMAPs might be responsible. Wow, who knew?