FODMAP - What is it? Why Should You Know About It?
At some point in our lives we'll experience physical discomfort owing to our diets. If you enjoy the odd indulgence like me then donuts, cakes, street food, pizza & all manner of snacks are on the table. Unfortunately, at some point all this excess will catch up with you. At which point you may visit your GP complaining of a range of symptopms. During your visit you'll be advised to reduce your sugar, reduce your saturated fat, reduce gluten, try going vegan, and then some. Essentially you'll be advised to remove any number of elements from your diet that cause inflamation of internal organs, IBS, heartburn, constipation, abdominal cramping, muscle spasms, and various other horrible conditions. Once you establish the element that doesn't agree with you, you'll end up making a dietary lifestyle change to remove it or if your lucky, just cut back. The speed at which you'll find yourself making these choices all depends on what you do beforehand. You can prolong your ability to eat what you want, when you want but the work starts when you're young. Being care free is great! I love it, but planning for the future is also a wise choice & those who execute this planning effectively get to have their cake & eat it! & LETS FACE IT, WE ALL LOVE CAKE! so be smart, get glued up and stay healthy for a long as possible!
SO WHAT IS FODMAP?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyol. These are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars, Starches & fibers) that the small intestine absorbs poorly which can lead digestive distress when consumed. FODMAP foods draw water into your digestive tract which can make you bloated. If you eat too much of them they can sit in your gut and ferment. NOT GOOD!
Fructose: Fruits, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, agave
Fructans: Wheat, onions, garlic
Galactans: Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and soybeans
Polyols: Sugar alcohols and fruits that have pips or seeds, such as apples, avocados, cherries, figs, peaches, or plums
Who is likely to benefit from a low FODMAP Diet?
Anyone diagnosed with the following disorders!
Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (FGID)
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
Certain auto-immune conditions
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Other health issues triggered by certain foods
Bear in mind that IBS or any other form IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) isn't strickly having the shits, or for people of a more senior age, and it can effect anyone at any age in a number of ways, this means any irritation across the entire digestive system. That could mean stomach pain, intestinal pain, colonic pain even esophageal pain. All with a spectrum of severity from mild to totally debilitating. Sadly these disorders also have huge impact on mental health. You may have any number of these conditions & not be aware. Especially if the pain or discomfort is acute and you decide to live with it. Which isn't advisable at all. Any kind of physcial pain should be taken seriously and investigated to establish the the root cause. This is, afterall what your nerves are for. Your body's own signalling system telling something isn't right.
HOW TO SAFEGUARD YOURSELF
In order to protect yourself from developing inflammatory or intolerance induced symptoms from these short-chain carbohydrates you just need to limit your intake of high FODMAP foods. Doing so before the problem starts means you'll ensure your digestive system is preserved long into your lifetime. Speak with any health expert and they'll tell you the major issues as you get older start with the gut. Once this region of your body becomes compromised the whole body follows, & thats bad news! The tricky part when it comes to a low FODMAP diet is that many of the high FODMAP foods are quite nutritious & actually help contribute towards the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Therefore a low FODMAP Diet simply means moderating your intake and observing which foods trigger a sensitivity in your own body. Once you narrow it down you can eat foods that may be high FODMAP & beneficial to your health simply because your body doesn't have a problem processing it. Sounds Complex? Well, it can be, but most things worth doing aren't easy & if you're serious about good health then you'll take an interest in learning what fuel works best with your body.
So here's your extensive guide to high & Low FODMAP Foods.
LOW FODMAP VEGETABLES
Alfalfa Arugula/Rocket Asian & Collard greens Aubergine/Eggplant Beans, green Beansprouts Beetroot (1/2 cup) Bell peppers/Capsicum Broccoli Brussels sprouts (2-4 sprouts) Cabbage Carrots Celery and celeriac Chard/Silverbeet Chilli, red or green Corn (1/2 cob max)
Courgette/Zucchini Cucumber Edamame beans Fennel bulb or leaves Ginger and Galangal Kale Lettuce and Endive- all types Mushrooms- tinned, shimeji, oyster Okra Olives, green or black (15 small)) Potato- regular Potato- sweet potato (1/2 potato) Pumpkin/Squash- kent/Japanese
Pumpkin/Squash- butternut (1/2 cup) Radish Rhubarb Scallion/Spring onion (green tops) Seaweed/nori Snow peas/Mangetout (5 pods) Spaghetti squash (1 cup) Spinach, baby and English Tomatoes- Turnip, Swede, Rutabagas Water chestnuts Yam
HIGH FODMAP VEGETABLES
Asparagus Artichokes Cauliflower Garlic Leek (white bit) Onions Mushrooms- all other types Peas Scallions
spring onions (white bit)
LOW FODMAP FRUITS
Banana - Firm/green
Cantaloupe (1/2 cup)
Coconut-desiccated (1/2 cup)
Grapes all types
Lemons & Limes
Pineapple (1 cup)
HIGH FODMAP FRUITS
Apples Apricot Avocado (very small quantities may be tolerated) Bananas, ripe Blackberries Cherries Grapefruit Mango Nectarine Peaches Pears Plums Raisins and sultanas
LOW FODMAP CEREALS, GRAINS & FLOUR
Amaranth Arrowroot Flour Bread, gluten-free Bread, true sourdough (no yeast) Buckwheat flour
Cacao powder (2 tsp)
Cereal- gluten-free, no honey/dried fruit
Corn flakes Corn/maize flour
Corn tortillas Muesli, fruit-free
Oats, rolled (1/2 cup)
Rice krispies (rice bubbles) Spirulina Tapioca flour Teff Wheatgrass powder
HIGH FODMAP CEREALS, GRAINS & FLOUR
Barley Besan flour Cereal, muesli or granola with wheat or dried fruit Chick pea flour Coconut flour Rye flour Soy flour Wheat and rye flour, includes bread, cakes, biscuits, cookies, muffins.
LOW FODMAP PASTA, RICE AND NOODLES
Noodles, Noodles, rice
Pasta, gluten free
Quinoa, all typles
Rice, all typles
HIGH FODMAP PASTA, RICE AND NOODLES
Cous cous Gnocchi Pasta Noodles- egg, udon,
LOW FODMAP DAIRY & ALTERNATIVES
Cheese-cottage & ricotta
Coconut milk - small quantities
Yogurt-plain lactose free
Milk - Lactose-free
Soy protein milk
HIGH FODMAP DAIRY & ALTERNATIVES
soy bean milk
LOW FODMAP MEATS & EGGS
Fish - including smoked or Gluten-free battered
Cold cuts/ deli cuts (without high FODMAP ingredients added)
Chickpeas - canned & rinsed (only in tiny amounts)
Lentils - canned & rinsed
Lima & mung beans
Tofu - frim not silken
HIGH FODMAP MEATS, EGGS, LEGUMES AND SOY PROTEIN
Processed meats with
Most bean mixes
LOW FODMAP NUTS AND SEEDS
Almonds Brazil nuts Hazelnuts
HIGH FODMAP NUTS AND SEEDS
LOW FODMAP SWEETENERS, SAUCES AND CONDIMENTS
Mint sauce & jelly
Sweetners: Stevia & Splenda
Soy, fish & oyster sauce
Sweet & sour sauce
Vinegar-apple cider, malt, balsamic, red wine
HIGH FODMAP SWEETENERS, SAUCES AND CONDIMENTS
Gravy mix (most)
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Jam (organic strawberry & marmalade is acceptable)
Maltitol and mannitol
Pasta sauces - containing sorbitol and xylitol
LOW FODMAP SWEETs & TREATS
Dark Chocolate 85% cocoa
Plain cookies & biscuits
Plain ready salted crisps
HIGH FODMAP SWEETs & TREATS
Crisps containing onion or garlic powder
LOW FODMAP ALCOHOLIC & NON ALCOHOLIC DRINKS
Drinking chocolate - cocoa, cacao
Coffee without milk
Fresh cranberry juice
Fresh orange, lemon, lime, tomato
Spirits - gin, vodka & whiskey
Tea - Black, green, dandelion, peppermint
HIGH FODMAP ALCOHOLIC & NON ALCOHOLIC DRINKS
Apple & Pear Cider
Sodas with HFCS
Some herbal tea
LOW FODMAP HERB, SPICES & OILS
All herbs, spices & oils are low FODMAP
All fats & oils are low FODMAP
WHERE TO START?
With so many ingredients it may seem overwhelming. But it's actually extremely simple. Just make a note the ingredients you typically buy that are on the list of high FODMAPs, and then swap them with a low FODMAP option.
If there are foods you simply can't swap with a low FODMAP alternative then stick with them and observe how your body responds to the reduction of the other surrounding FODMAP foods. This way you should be able to eat what you want since you've drastically reduced your bodies FODMAP levels. If you still find yourself in discomfort it may be good to start with the major contributers. So i've listed them below to make things easier. Start by removing these
Major FODMAP contributers.
Wheat - The biggest culprit because like dairy it's a major element of the western diet. It's in everything!
Garlic - Another major player in the western diet. dried garlic is the worst! Fresh - not so bad
Onion - Once again a major player in the western diet and hard to avoid, but avoid you must
Apples - Shame this one! Apples are chock full of fructose. Aim to eat less than 80g at a time
Asparagas - Contains three types of FODMAPs! fructans, fructose and mannitol
Baked Beans - The galacato-oligosaccharide FODMAPs in beans & other legumes causes major gas!
Chewing Gum - Check the ingredients for sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol or isomalt
Barley - Similar to wheat it's ubiquitous througout the western diet.
Milk/Yogurt/cheese - A major source of lactase
Honey - super high in fructose
Chai tea, chamomile tea, Dessert Wine - Made from ingredients that cummulatively create High FODMAP content
WHAT TO MAKE OF IT ALL?
Foods rich in FODMAPs aren't bad for you. As you'll see from the list above, some of these foods are highly beneficial to your health. The primary reason to become clued up about FODMAPs is because some of us will be sensitive to certain Foods and this give us an explanation and a methodology to heel & learn more about our own bodies. Especially if you experience any number of the above listed symptoms, or if you're diagnosed with any of the digestive disorders or diseases listed above. By following a process of:
- Restriction - Remove certain foods and replace them with alternatives from the same food group for 6/8 weeks
- Reintroduction - Bring back the food groups that were removed one week at a time to establish you sensetivity
- Personalisation - Once you know what foods don't agree with you, find out what nutrients they provide and source those nutrients from an alternative food from the same group.
NOW YOU HAVE THE PERFECT DIET FOR YOUR BODY!