Have you ever wondered why certain seemingly healthy foods always seem to be on the no eat list for healthy eating plans or challenges? Take avocados for example. They are a fruit that is high in fructose (sugar) and has high amounts of sorbitol, which if you read last week’s blog, you may recognize as a sugar alcohol, or polyol. Avocados therefore have a high FODMAP score.
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. It is an acronym that covers several types of short chain carbohydrates that many people have trouble digesting or cannot digest at all. When foods with a high FODMAP rating reach the intestines, the gut bacteria turns them into hydrogen gas. They also draw in water, which can lead to diarrhea.
Eating low FODMAP foods has been shown to be beneficial to those who suffer from the following issues:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Other forms of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (FGID)
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Certain auto-immune conditions/diseases like (potentially) rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or eczema
- Fibromyalgia or other health issues you’ve noticed are triggered by certain foods
- Frequent migraines that appear to be triggered after certain meals
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Even if you just feel bloated, constipated, or have stomach cramps or diarrhea after eating, it might be prudent to see if what you just ate is on the FODMAP bad list. The goal with eating low-FODMAP foods is to consume foods that are easily and fully digestible.
Here is a graphic showing many types of foods and how they fall on the FODMAP list.
This is another list geared more toward Paleo eating.
There is a FODMAP diet, which isn’t really a diet, but more of a test or experiment. The FODMAP diet has you eliminate all foods that tend to cause negative effects in a high percentage of people. You do this for 3-8 weeks to cleanse your system. Then, you reintroduce foods from the 5 different FODMAP groups below, one group at a time and see how your body reacts. So, for instance, after your elimination period, you may add some fructose fruits for 2-3 days and evaluate how your body reacts. You then might try some dairy and so on. By the end, you should have a list of foods that upset your system, and you simply avoid or limit the consumption of those foods.
The lists shown above are far from all inclusive. If you have question about a food not on the list, just Google your food and FODMAP to see where it falls.
The FODMAP diet is not meant to be a long-term eating plan, nor is it necessary for everyone to completely avoid FODMAP foods. Everyone’s body is different and if you rarely experience digestive problems and are eating a healthy diet, drive on with what you’re doing. However, even those who eat healthy can have their system thrown out of whack by certain foods, and it is good to know what those foods are.
Instead of paying for what you eat in the way of pain and discomfort, it’s worth your time to talk to Amanda or your doctor to see what changes you can make. And, always re-evaluate your diet before taking a pill. Eliminate the bad foods rather than suppress their effects with medication.