Fodmaps: The Diet You Never Knew Could Cure Your Tummy Troubles

No, its not some strange military maneuver or a new food map (ha); its the latest, cutting-edge treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Basically, the FODMAPs approach is a diet, a way of eating. Eating a low FODMAP diet means avoiding certain foods that can cause gas, bloating, constipation and all of the other lovely symptoms those of us with IBS know so well. But whats with the weird name? FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides, and Polyols. The name was created by Australian researchers who realized that a low FODMAP diet helped up to 75% of their patients, says Patsy Catsos, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian with a private practice focused on gastrointestinal health. She is the author ofIBSFree at Last! Second Edition(2012) and the editor of . Patsy explains that examples of FODMAPS include: Lactose (also known as milk sugar, found in milk, yogurt and ice cream) Fructose (also known as fruit sugar, found in fruit, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and agave syrup) Sorbitol, mannitol, and other -ol sweeteners (found in certain fruits and vegetables as well as some types of sugar-free gums and candies) Fructans (a type of fiber found in wheat, onions, garlic and chicory root) GOS (a type of fiber found in beans, hummus and soy milk) Catsos adds that the novelty of the FODMAP approach is recognizing how the big picture [of overall diet] can be used to create a strategy for managing IBS symptoms.I struggle with IBS myself, and I first became aware of the diet by reading the healthy living blog Hungry Hungry Hippie . 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. sneak a peek here

Beating IBS with the low-fodmap diet

You may still be sensitive to one or more of the other fodmaps and need to identify them, preferably with the assistance of your registered dietitian. 3) Monosaccharides a) Free Fructose Because fructose has a low glycaemic index (GI), it may be added to foods and drinks that make claims about "Low-GI" or "Sugar-free" (which is not allowed according to the SA Labelling Regulations seeing that the product still contains a sugar called fructose, even if it does not contain a sugar called sucrose!). Sports drinks and most sweetened cold drinks in countries such as the USA also contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). According to Prof Slavin the following foods are also naturally high in fructose: apples, pears, mangoes, cherries, watermelon, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, sugarsnap peas and honey. 4) Polyols a) Erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol, polyglycitol syrup In general only one third of these carbohydrates is absorbed in the intestine and they therefore pass into the bowel where they are fermented by the colonic bacteria. These polyols are naturally found in apples, pears, cherries, prunes, avocado and mushrooms. Because they are so difficult to absorb, polyols have been used as sweeteners in diabetic and slimming products for many years. In addition, they are added to most sugar-free chewing gums. If you chew sugar-free gum that contains polyols as a sweetener you may well be causing a massive buildup of abdominal gas - from the fermentation of the polyols in your chewing gum and from swallowing air when you chew. Try cutting out chewing gum for a week or so to see if this does not relieve the flatulence. The pros and cons Prof Slavin was careful to point out the following: The various compounds that are classified as fodmaps have different physiological effects and should not be lumped together If you suffer from IBS, do not try cutting out all the fodmaps from your diet because you may only be sensitive to one of the categories If possible, get the help of a registered dietitian to help you figure out which one of the fodmap categories you are sensitive to and what steps you need to take to prevent deficiencies if you do need to cut out a whole food group such as milk and dairy Keep in mind that even if you are sensitive to one category of fodmaps that the other categories may have very beneficial effects and should not be cut out (see below). Fodmaps have many beneficial properties which Prof Slavin listed for us: Reduced energy values (4.2 to 14.7 kJ/gram) compared to sucrose (17 kJ/gram) Low GI Don't cause tooth decay Prebiotic effects (i.e. use this link