FODMAP DIET: A Complete and Detailed GUIDE for Beginners

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Reading Time: 4 minutesIn this article, we shall be guiding you in detail, all about FODMAPs, the meaning of FODMAP, its causes and solutions for digestive symptoms. And the FODMAP diet (which includes the low-fodmap diets that are good for intolerant individuals and the high-fodmap diets you should avoid). You shall also have at your convenience, the complete lists of fodmap diet foods for IBS and its benefits.

The meaning of FODMAP

FODMAP is an acronym meaning fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols. They are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohol that are resistant to digestion.

FODMAPs occur naturally or as addictive in some foods. When an individual eats lots of these foods, they absorb down below the intestine, in the same environment where the gut bacteria reside. As this occurs, the gut bacteria then utilize these carbs in producing hydrogen gas as fuel and thereby given rise to digestive symptoms in majorly high sensitive individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Symptoms of FODMAPs for IBS in sensitive individuals

Many of these symptoms can be a result of the distention of the gut, which can make one feel like having a fuller abdomen. And even make your stomach look larger.

In general, an individual with IBS may be open to any of the following signs and symptoms:

Bloating: Most times, especially on individuals with IBS, they feel that their abdomen is fuller than it should be even as there is no increase in the size of the stomach. Some may still link it to excessive gas (flatulence). Whichever, it may be a signal.

Gas: When an individual experience excessive burping, belching, flatulence, it may be a sign of FODMAPs

Stomach or abdominal pain: This may be caused by contraction of the intestinal muscles or hypersensitivity to normal intestinal activities. It’s also a symptom for individuals with IBS.

Constipation: This is a condition where an individual has hard feces that are difficult to expel. It can also be a sign.

Diarrhea: FODMAPs are also osmotically active; therefore, they can cause diarrhea. They can carry water into your intestine and as such, increases the frequency of bowel movements or a greater looseness of stool. Based on individual body systems, diarrhea may either be acute or chronic.

Please note that high sensitivity to FODMAPs is not only common for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It can occur on any individual, even on a rare note. So do not be surprised if you start getting symptoms explained above since you can’t avoid foods rich in carbs (Beans, wheat, and their likes).

What are FODMAPs?

Here are lists of common FODMAPs:

Fructose: These are simple sugars found mainly in vegetables, fruits, and some sweeteners. Examples include: Fruits, (such as apples, pears, peaches, cherries, mangoes, pears, watermelon), and Sweeteners, (such as agave nectar and honey)

Fructans: You can find fructans in many foods. Example: vegetables and grains like rye, wheat, spelt, and barley.

Lactose: These are carbohydrates found in dairy products. Examples of dairy products are milk, yogurts, custard, pudding, ice cream, cottage cheese, mascarpone, ricotta cheese that we take.

Galactans: Galactans are found mainly in legumes in large amounts. Examples include chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and soy products. And some low amounts in vegetables, such as broccoli.

Polyols: Polyols are also referred to as artificial sweeteners. These artificial sweeteners include sugar alcohols like maltitol, xylitol, mannitol, and sorbitol found in sugar-free gums and mints, and cough syrups. They are found mainly in some fruits (apples, apricots, nectarines, blackberries, cherries, nectarines, pears, plums, peaches, and watermelon), and some vegetables such as cauliflower, snow peas, and mushrooms.

Dietary sources of the four groups of FODMAPs

Having listed above, the common FODMAPs and their food sources; Let us trace these sources to the four groups of FODMAPS below:

Oligosaccharides: These are Fructose (Vegetables and fruits), Galactans (legumes) and Fructans (Vegetables like garlic, onions, etc., and grains like wheat, rye, barley, etc.)

Disaccharides: The major carb source here is Lactose, which includes diets like yogurt, milk, and cheese.

Monosaccharides: Fructose is the main carb here. They include various fruit like figs and mangoes, and sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar.

Polyols: These include all artificial sweeteners contained in common fruits and vegetables like apples, apricots, watermelon, blackberries, cherries, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums, lychee, and sugar-free gums.

The Low-FODMAP Diet

FODMAPs are the chemical names of several sugars and carbs that are poorly absorbed into the small intestine. A low FODMAP diet helps in restricting, reducing, or removing certain foods that are high in FODMAPs, which are not safe for IBS. These food include some grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.

The low FODMAP diet was uncovered in Victoria by researchers at Monash University to help people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome manage their symptoms. Although FODMAPs don’t cause IBS to develop, they can trigger the symptoms in those people who have it.

In other to help individuals with IBS identify which foods to eat or avoid, researchers in Monash University discovered and distinguished foods that are low and high in FODMAPs. Hence the name “low-fodmap diet” and “high-fodmap diet” came into existence. You can download the food diet app developed by these researchers here.

Benefits of the Low-FODMAP Diet

Researchers have discovered that about 14% of people living in the United States have IBS, with a majority of them untested. And also, about 75% of people living with IBS can benefit from a low-FODMAP diet.

In this retrospect, facts have proven that:

⁠— A low-FODMAP diet helps in removing high-FODMAP foods for IBS.

⁠— They also play an indispensable role in the reduction of IBS symptoms encountered during digestion – functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). And help improve the quality of life significantly.

Having known these facts above, here are eight (8) more significant benefits of a low-FODMAP diet:

1) A Low-FODMAP diet restricts your system from the regular passing of gas.

2) There will be a rapid reduction in belly bloat. Hence, making you feel yourself instead of feeling full and heavy all the time.

3) It brings comfort to an IBS person by reducing the numerous times they visit the toilet in a day as a cause of diarrhea.

4) Low-FODMAP diet help stop or reduces constipation.

5) It helps an intolerant individual Feel less pain in the abdomen.

6) Some proofs recommend that it can be beneficial for people with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

7) It relieves stress and anxiety, thereby creating positive psychological benefits to IBS.

8) There is an increase in self-esteem. Knowing you are healthy is enough factor to boost your self-esteem by 99.9%

MORE ARTICLE ON NUTRITION: The components, functions, and Sources of food

Complete list of FODMAP foods

Lists of Foods You Can Eat on a Low-FODMAP Diet

There are neither definitive nor exhaustive lists of foods you can eat on a low-FODMAP diet. However, we shall try to detail as many as possible the complete list of fodmap foods

Here are the best 101 lists of common low-FODMAP foods for IBS

  • Vegetables:
  1. Bean sprouts
  2. Alfalfa sprouts
  3. Bell pepper
  4. Carrots
  5. Bok choy
  6. Green beans
  7. Green spring onion
  8. Lettuce
  9. Cucumber
  10. Radishes
  11. Zucchini
  12. Tomatoes
  13. Bamboo shoots
  14. Ginger
  15. Eggplant
  16. Chives
  17. Olives
  18. Yams
  19. Parsnips
  20. Turnips
  21. Potatoes
  22. Celery
  23. Spinach
  24. Kale
  25. Sweet potatoes
  26. Squash
  27. Water chestnuts
  • Fresh fruits:
  1. Oranges
  2. Grapes
  3. Honeydew melon
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Banana
  6. Grapefruit
  7. Blueberries
  8. Kiwi
  9. Lemon
  10. Strawberries
  11. Lime
  12. Oranges
  13. passionfruit
  14. Raspberries
  15. Mandarins
  • Dairy (Lactose-free dairy products):
  1. Brie
  2. Feta cheese
  3. Camembert
  • Non-dairy kinds of milk:
  1. Coconut milk
  2. Rice milk
  3. Almond milk
  4. Lactose-free milk
  5. Lactose-free yogurt
  6. Hard cheeses such as feta and brie
  • Protein:
  1. Beef
  2. Pork
  3. Chicken
  4. Fish
  5. Eggs
  6. Soy products, e.g., tempeh and tofu
  • Grains:
  1. Oats
  2. Rice bran
  3. Oat bran
  4. Gluten-free bread: Sourdough spelt bread
  5. Gluten-free pasta which includes:
  6. Rice
  7. Corn
  8. Quinoa
  9. White rice
  10. Corn flour
  11. Sorghum
  12. Tapioca
  • Drinks and beverages:
  1. Tea and coffee (mix with only non-dairy creamers or milk)
  2. Water
  3. Fruit juice (not from concentrate)
  • Nuts and seeds (fewer than 10-15 per each serving for nuts):
  1. Almonds
  2. Peanuts
  3. Macadamia nuts
  4. Walnuts
  5. Pine nuts
  6. Pumpkin seeds
  7. Sesame seeds (except pistachios, which are very high in FODMAPs)

Lists of Foods High in FODMAPs you MUST avoid

If your system is intolerant to FODMAP symptoms listed above, here are 101 lists of high-FODMAP foods for IBS you must avoid in your dietaries

  • Some vegetables:
  1. Cabbage
  2. Peas
  3. Onions
  4. Garlic
  5. Okra
  6. Asparagus
  7. Broccoli
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Artichokes
  10. Snow peas
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Leeks
  13. Sweet corn
  14. Beetroot
  15. Celery
  16. Fennel
  17. Brussels sprouts
  18. Shallots
  • Fruits:

“Dried” and “Stone” Fruits like:

  1. Apricots
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Plums
  5. Blackberries
  6. Mangoes
  7. Prunes
  8. Apples
  9. Pears
  10. Boysenberries
  11. Cherries
  12. Figs
  13. Dates
  14. Applesauce
  15. Watermelon
  16. Canned fruit
  • Beverages:
  1. Beer
  2. Soft drinks with high-fructose corn syrup
  3. Milk
  4. Fortified wines
  5. Soy milk
  6. Fruit juice concentrates
  • Legumes:
  1. Beans
  2. Lentils
  3. Chickpeas
  4. Baked beans
  5. Kidney beans
  6. Some soy products
  • Grains:
  1. Barley
  2. Rye
  3. Wheat such as:
  4. Cereals
  5. Bread
  6. Crackers
  7. Pizza
  8. Pasta
  9. Tortillas
  10. Waffles
  11. Pancakes
  12. biscuits
  • Dairy products that contain lactose such as:
  1. Cow’s milk
  2. Soft cheese
  3. Goats milk
  4. Yogurt
  5. Ice cream
  6. Ricotta cheese
  7. Custard
  8. Pudding
  9. Sheep milk
  10. sour cream
  11. Mascarpone
  12. Cottage cheese
  13. Whey protein supplements
  • Nuts:
  1. Cashews
  2. Pistachios
  • Sweeteners and artificial sweeteners such as:
  1. High fructose corn syrup
  2. Xylitol
  3. Mannitol
  4. Honey
  5. Sorbitol
  6. Agave nectar
  7. Maltitol
  8. Isomalt (found mainly in sugar-free gum and mints, and cough syrups)
  9. Maple syrup
  10. Stevia
  11. Molasses
  • Drinks:
  1. Alcohol
  2. Coconut water
  3. Sports drinks

IN SUMMARY

If you are intolerant, avoid most foods that contain Lactose, Fructose, Fructans, GOs, and polyols. Also, avoid marinades, breadcrumbs, and sauces/gravies that may also be high in FODMAPs. Also, note that these lists of foods low or high in FODMAPs are indefinite. However, symptoms may vary by individual, and as such, the body system may react negatively to diets low in FODMAPs while responding positively to the foods high in FODMAPs as against the structure of these lists.

RESEARCH SOURCES:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON FODMAP DIET

  • What happens when you eat these FODMAP foods?

Since FODMAPs doesn’t absorb in the small intestine well like regular foods, it thereby increases the amount of fluid in the bowel for intolerant individuals and thus causing the emergence of digestive symptoms like Bloating, Constipation, Gas, Stomach or abdominal pain, and Diarrhea.

Although not everyone is intolerant to FODMAP diets, studies have shown that these symptoms are more common in individuals with IBS. These diets are foods filled with carbs and sugar alcohol that are resistant to digestion.

  • What are the causes of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to researchers, has no definite cause. Although, studies have proven that stress is a major contributing factor, and the kind of diet one consumes can also have a significant effect.

  • Who should observe a Low-FODMAP Diet?

1) A low-FODMAP diet is prepared mainly for IBS alone.

2) If you are having digestive symptoms and a specialized doctor or dietitians prescribes that you observe certain dietaries like this for a time frame.

  • How to do a Low-FODMAP Diet?

When you start noticing some of the symptoms for IBS, there could be other causes than what you eat. Anyways, you are advised to observe a low-FODMAP diet to ascertain the cause of your problems.

When you want to do a low-FODMAP diet correctly, here are 6 steps you must follow:

1) Quit the intake of all high-FODMAP foods for a few weeks or more

2) As you are restricting these diets, keep being observant in other to know the foods your body system is intolerant. There are many high-FODMAP foods, so if you want to get the perfect result, you have to eliminate as many of them as possible.

3) After these weeks of consistent elimination, You will so realize a drastic reduction in symptoms if your problems were as a result FODMAPs.

4) Now, you should start re-introducing some of these foods you eliminated one after the other (giving some interval of space after each introduction). This is to enable you to discover the exact food causing your symptoms.

5) If you realize that a particular type of food triggers these symptoms and affects your digestion, be advised to avoid it permanently.

6) Lastly, to ensure you don’t place yourself on unnecessary dietary restrictions and avoid self-medication, it’s recommended that you seek the advice of a specialized dietitian or doctor.

  • I am a Vegetarians, can I do a Low-FODMAP Diet?

Yes, you can! There are lots of protein-rich vegetarian foods suitable for a low-FODMAP diet. But be advised to get the counsel of a dietitian if you happen to be a vegetarian with IBS.

  • Where can I get more lists of these foods?

This food diet app developed by Monash University will guide you more in this selection. Download the app from your respective app stores.

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