The low FODMAP diet is one of the most satisfying diets I talk to clients about. It helps them understand what foods worsen their gut problems. I had a lady recently say that she hasn’t been feeling this well for years, with low FODMAP foods reducing her ‘gastric’.
The symptoms of IBS (or irritable bowel syndrome) include diarrhoea, constipation and bloating. It is an embarrassing and difficult problem to live with. Cutting down on fried foods, pastries and alcohol helps, as does stress management, exercise and drinking plenty of water. The low FODMAP diet can offer people even more help to reduce gut problems.
FODMAP stands for
FODMAPs are simply short-chain sugars which are fermented in the large bowel. (Saccharide = sugar).
If a lot of these sugars are eaten at once, the problems begin! Fermentation of these sugars can create gas build-up in the large bowel, leading to problems like bloating and constipation. At other times these sugars attract water causing diarrhoea. A low FODMAP diet temporarily excludes foods high in these small sugars.
High FODMAP foods include onion, garlic, pears, apples, legumes (like baked beans, lentils and chick peas), and lactose in milk and yoghurt. Keeping a food diary helps people remember how food affects them over time. Wheat can also cause problems for some people but I never suggest someone stops eating wheat until they have had a blood test for coeliac disease.
Low FODMAP foods include bananas, mandarins, oranges, raspberries, strawberries, the green part of spring onion, garlic-infused oil and lactose free milk and yoghurt.
There is a helpful app by Monash Uni available and a great book by Dr Sue Shepherd which explains FODMAPs well, with plenty of recipes- check them out! And of course, see me or another Accredited Practising Dietitian for more information!
Leanne is an experienced dietitian who is passionate about helping people eat well.