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