Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAPS) are all types of carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in certain dairy products, vegetables, fruit, grains, and pulses.
For some people consuming foods high in FODMAPs results in an increased volume of liquid and gas in the small and large intestine, resulting in IBS type symptoms such as bloating, gas and diarrhoea.
There appears to be a cumulative effect of FODMAP foods on symptoms. In other words, eating foods with varying FODMAP values at the same time will add up, resulting in symptoms that you might not experience if you ate each food in isolation. This makes the condition of FODMAP intolerance confusing and hard to pinpoint.
In my clinic I commonly see poor tolerance of two FODMAP sugars in particular – lactose and fructose. Opting for lacto-free dairy and cutting down fruit to just a couple of portions per day of low FODMAP varieties can often make a big difference to digestive discomfort. Onions and garlic are also two foods that in theory are seriously healthy, but in practice can cause many people with FODMAP intolerance huge discomfort!
So, a low FODMAP diet is not an exact science. Different people are more or less reactive to different FODMAP foods. In my clinic I use kinesiology muscle testing to see which the worst offending foods are. Elimination of these can often results in quick relief from symptoms!
If you are taking the DIY approach it may be prudent to eliminate all FODMAP foods for a trial of 1 month. If symptoms improve and are stable then reintroduce one food at a time and monitor results to see which foods are your major triggers.
Sample Low FODMAP Meal Ideas
- Oat porridge with lacto free milk
- Smoothie recipe: handful of coconut flakes, 10 macadamia nuts, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp flaxseeds, 1 tbsp coconut oil, handful of berries, half a ripe banana, 1 tbsp protein powder (I use hemp), 1 cup of water or lacto-free or dairy free milk. If you need extra sweetness add 5 drops of liquid stevia.
- Lactose free yoghurt or Coyo coconut yoghurt + half a chopped papaya + mixed chopped nuts
- Soft boiled eggs with buckwheat cracker dippers.
Lunch and Dinner Ideas
- Meat/fish with roast vegetables – potato, parsnip, courgette, peppers, butternut squash.
- Prawn or tofu stir fry with allowed vegetables and rice noodles – make your own stir fry sauce from tamari sauce, lime, dried chilli flakes, pinch of sugar, sesame seed oil, grated ginger, garlic infused oil – add towards the end of cooking and heat through.
- Salad with tinned salmon or grilled chicken or hardboiled eggs, mixed lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, grated carrot, olives. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice or Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Gluten free pasta cooked mixed with low FODMAP vegetables in a tomato based sauce. Add chicken or prawns, and parmesan cheese and fresh green herbs to serve.
Long Term Prognosis
Once FODMAP intolerance has been identified and an appropriate diet put in place to relieve immediate symptoms, the question to be considered then is “why”? What is causing your body to react to FODMAPs? Finding the answers to this question and addressing underlying causes is the key to long term resolution and reintroduction of a full and healthy diet. But that subject will have to await a future blog article!