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What Are FODMAPs?

Posted By: Leena Mahtani

What Are FODMAPs_Blog

If you struggle with conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you may have already heard or read the abbreviation “FODMAPs”. Some of you were probably handed a leaflet about what a low-FODMAP diet looks like – but you still have no idea what that means, or why you need it.

So what are FODMAPs, anyway?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols. A low FODMAP diet restricts the intake of fermentable carbohydrates like fructose, lactose, and wheat-based foods. It’s a diet that steers clear from dairy and gluten-rich products for a good reason.

Typically, the people who follow a low-FODMAP diet are looking to ease the annoying symptoms of syndromes like IBS and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), which may include bloating, excessive gas, constipation, and diarrhea. If you’re one of those people, you know full well how specific foods can wreak havoc in your gut.

The not-so-fun news: In the beginning, a low FODMAP diet should severely restrict dairy products, breads, pasta, cereal, and even certain fruits and vegetables.

The great news: a low FODMAP diet is an elimination process. A three-part elimination process, to be more specific. It’s also fair to call it an “experimental” diet.

According to Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Hazel Galon Veloso, M.D., patients should start by restricting all high-FODMAP foods. After two to six weeks, they should start slowly reintroducing previously restricted foods to their diet, and try to identify the ones their gut will “reject”. After the restriction and reintroduction process, patients should then be able to enjoy the unproblematic foods as usual.

This is proof that every organism reacts differently to a range of foods – even gluten and dairy, which are considered globally problematic. In order to follow a balanced diet, it’s your job to find which foods can be nourishing to you while still being gentle on your digestive system.

It goes without saying that any diet should be supervised by a medical professional for accountability and great results. That way, it’ll be easier to track your habits and stay disciplined during the restriction phase!

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