Could I be intolerant to FODMAPs?

Could I be intolerant to FODMAPs?

Up to one in five people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – ie. a lot! There's not really a "cure" for IBS but the FODMAP diet is the best proven way to manage the symptoms – 75% of people see an improvement!

The FODMAP diet is pretty complex so let's break it down. 

 

What are FODMAPs?

Firstly, what the heck are FODMAPs? Put simply, they're a group of carbohydrates that are found in quite a lot of foods. 

FODMAP is an acronym for:

  • Fermentable
  • Oligosaccharides (Fructans & Galacto-oligosaccharides)
  • Disaccharides (Lactose)
  • Monosaccharides (Excess Fructose)
  • ‘and’
  • Polyols (Sorbitol & Mannitol)

 

Where are FODMAPs found?

A LOT of foods contain FODMAPs – usually healthy ones too. Most foods are only high in 1-2 of the FODMAPs, never all of them. 

Some examples of foods and the FODMAPs they contain:

  • Apples – fructose, and mannitol
  • Watermelon – fructose, fructans, AND mannitol (probably best to avoid)
  • Onions – fructans
  • Asparagus – fructans and fructose
  • Mushrooms – mannitol, and fructans
  • Beetroot – GOS and fructans
  • Avocado – sorbitol
  • Milk – lactose
  • Wheat – fructans

As you can see, it's quite complex. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can eat that are surprisingly low FODMAP, such as:

  • Fruit: dragon fruit, oranges, kiwi fruit
  • Veggies: cucumber, kale, potatoes, carrot
  • Dairy: most cheeses (yay!) 
  • Grains: rice, oats, quinoa

 

How do I know if I'm intolerant to FODMAPs?

If you experience IBS symptoms, there's a good chance you're intolerant to FODMAPs (given the low FODMAP diet helps 75% of sufferers). 

1. Bloating and stomach aches

When FODMAPs aren't properly digested in your intestine, they're fermented by gut bacteria which produces gas. This gas causes the intestinal wall to expand which leads to bloating and stomach aches. 

2. Healthy eating seems to trigger reactions

Unfortunately, FODMAPs are most commonly found in healthy foods – fruit, veggies, and grains. If you feel worse after eating healthy food (when you'd probably expect to feel better) your issue could be FODMAP intolerance!

3. You can't figure out what's causing the symptoms

Unlike gluten or lactose intolerance, FODMAPs are in so many foods so it's often hard to identify what exactly is causing the issue. It's even harder because FODMAPs accumulate throughout the day (known as FODMAP stacking) so your symptoms might be caused by a combination of foods. 

4. You go to the toilet too often or not enough

Some people find themselves rushing to the toilet after ingesting FODMAPs, others can't go for days! Neither of these is normal and could be a symptom of IBS.

 

How does the FODMAP diet work?

Good news, the FODMAP diet does not mean eliminating all FODMAPs forever – your diet would be incredibly limited, which isn't good for your gut health. 

Instead, it involves identifying your specific triggers (most people aren't intolerant to all of them) and eliminating only those from your diet. 

There are three phases of the FODMAP diet:

  1. Elimination: this step should be followed for 2-6 weeks and involves removing all high FODMAP foods from your diet (symptoms should resolve)
  2. Reintroduction: this step takes 6-8 weeks and involves reintroducing foods one at a time to determine which specific FODMAP groups trigger symptoms and which do not
  3. Personalisation: this step involves establishing a longer-term personalised diet without trigger foods

 

Are Fodbods safe to eat on the FODMAP diet?

Fodbods are safe to eat during all phases of the FODMAP diet. As they have the FODMAP Friendly Certification, you know they've been independently tested and certified as low FODMAP.

Whenever you see the FODMAP Friendly and Monash FODMAP logos, you know the product is low FODMAP in that serving size. 

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