FODMAP Diet – A Way to Eliminate or Reduce IBS Symptoms

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FODMAPIf you experience IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating, then you know the serious impact that it can have on your quality of life. One in five Americans suffer from IBS and many also experience anxiety or depression along with their painful digestive symptoms. But, did you know that a dietary approach can eliminate or significantly reduce IBS symptoms?

Following a low FODMAP diet has been clinically shown to provide an effective approach to managing IBS/functional gut disorders. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols.

An Australian research team developed this dietary approach and it is considered the primary management strategy for IBS in Australia. FODMAPs are specific types of carbohydrates (short-chain carbohydrates), which are incompletely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, they stay in the small intestine where bacteria feed on them and produce byproducts and waste materials. These carbohydrates also exert an osmotic effect, which increases fluid movement into the large bowel. The fermentation and osmosis caused by these undigested carbohydrates contribute to IBS symptoms and can also lead to an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria and fungi in the small intestine.

Below is a basic overview of the FODMAP diet. Because it can be such a big diet change for most people, I highly recommend seeking the guidance of a skilled nutritionist. He/she can help create an initial food elimination plan, reintroduction, as well as a long term diet plan. Beyond following the FODMAP diet, it is necessary to address bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and optimize digestive function with supplements such digestive enzymes and probiotics.

Helpful resources include:

http://www.ibsdiets.org/fodmap-diet/fodmap-food-list/
http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

The Complete Low-Fodmap Diet, Sue Shepherd and Peter Gibson. 2013. New York, NY: The Experiment LLC.

FODMAP Diet

Fruits

High-FODMAP (Avoid)
Apples
Blackberries
Avocado
Cherries
Mango
Pear
Watermelon
Low-FODMAP(Eat)
Blueberries
Cantaloupe
Grapes
Oranges
Pineapple
Lemon
Strawberry

 

Vegetables

High-FODMAP (Avoid)
Garlic
Onions
Artichoke
Asparagus
Mushrooms
Low-FODMAP(Eat)
Carrots
Eggplant
Chives
Kale
Potato
Zucchini
Green beans

Legumes

High-FODMAP (Avoid)
Chick peas or lentils cooked from dry beans
Black beans
Red kidney or small red beans
Borlotti beans
Butter beans
Navy beans
Soybeans
Black-eyed Peas
Low-FODMAP(Eat)
Tempeh
Tofu

 

Dairy / Dairy Alternatives

High-FODMAP (Avoid)
Buttermilk
Cream cheese
Cream
Ice cream
Milk
Yogurt
Sour cream
Low-FODMAP(Eat)
Butter
Cheeses (2 oz. or less)
Brie, Cottage, Feta, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Swiss
Lactose Free Milk, Yogurt, Kefir
Rice/Oat Milk
Tofu/Tempeh
Eggs 

 

Grains and Starches

High-FODMAP (Avoid)
Wheat (bread, breakfast cereal, pasta/noodles, couscous, crackers, cookies)
Rye (bread, crackers)
Barley
Low-FODMAP(Eat)
Arrowroot
Buckwheat
Cornmeal
Cornstarch
Millet
Oats (oatmeal, steel cut, oat flour)
Popcorn
Potatoes
Quinoa
Rice
Sorghum
Tapioca
Mung bean pasta
Gluten-free pasta
Rice noodles
Wheat-free soba noodles (buckwheat)
Gluten free breads, cookies, cakes, crackers

 

Beverages

High-FODMAP (Avoid)
Chicory-based coffee substitutes
Low-FODMAP(Drink)
Black or green tea
Coffee
Most herbal teas
Herbal infusions

 

Nuts

High-FODMAP (Avoid)
Pistachios
Cashews
Medium-FODMAP(Eat in Moderation)
Almonds (up to 10)
Hazelnuts (up to 10)
One handful daily of all nuts and seeds
2 TBSP of nut or seed butters (peanut butter, tahini, almond butter) 

 

High Fiber Foods

High-FODMAP (Avoid)
Wheat Bran
Inulin (found in high fiber food products)
Fructo-oligo saccharides (found in some probiotic supplements, some yogurts, and some probiotic rich drinks)
Low-FODMAP(Eat)
Chia Seeds
Flaxseeds
Oat Bran
Psyllium Seeds
Rice Bran
Chestnut

 

Sweeteners

High-FODMAP (Avoid)
Agave, Honey
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Sugar Alcohols: Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol
Low-FODMAP(Eat)
Glucose
Maple Syrup
Sucrose (table sugar)

 

Photo from here, with thanks.

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