Do you often suffer from bloating, gas or uncomfortable feeling in the stomach after eating? Many people think that this is due to cruciferous vegetables, beans or some other type of food that they eat and they cannot pin it down. It’s possible it is not due to a single food but instead due to FODMAPs! FODMAPs are certain carbohydrates that are found in food. The specific FODMAPs in the diet include these types of carbohydrates:

  • Fructose
  • Lactose
  • Fructans
  • Galactans
  • Polyols

When any food that contains one of these carbohydrates is consumed it can cause diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating or cramping if one is sensitive to FODMAPs! FODMAPs pull water into the intestines and they are not always digested or absorbed well. This results in fermenting in the intestinal tract, which causes the undesirable symptoms listed above.

So what can you do about it? If you suspect that you have sensitivities to FODMAPs then try out the low FODMAP diet. By consuming foods that contain low amounts of the listed carbohydrates you will no longer feel the negative symptoms. Here are foods that you should try to avoid if practicing the low FODMAP diet.

  • Foods high in high fructose corn syrup
  • High lactose dairy (i.e. buttermilk, creamy sauces, custard, ice cream, milk & sour cream
  • Grains made with wheat, barley and/or rye
  • High fructose fruits such as apples, applesauce, blackberries, dates, mango, stone fruit, pears and watermelon
  • Artichokes, cauliflower, mushrooms and sugar snap peas

This list is not comprehensive of all foods that should be avoided but it gives you a good place to start. Check ingredient lists when grocery shopping and choosing recipes to make for the week. If the foods contain any of the carbohydrates listed or any of the specific foods on the high FODMAP list above then avoid those foods! Try this for 6 weeks and see if you notice any difference in your symptoms. If you do notice a difference then you likely have sensitivities to one or more of the FODMAPs listed. This does not mean that you have sensitivities to them all. One at a time you can slowly add these FODMAP foods back into your diet and see which ones are the cause of distress. Only avoid those that cause undesirable symptoms! Flat bellies here you come!!

Resources:

The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet Department of Gastroenterology, Monash University

“Extending Our Knowledge of Fermentable, Short Chain Carbohydrates for Managing Gastrointestinal Symptoms” Nutrition in Clinical Practice June 2013

“A FODMAP Diet Update: Craze or Credible?” Nutrition Issues in Gastroenterology December 2012

“Evidence Based Dietary Management of Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms: The FODMAP Approach” Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology February 2010