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All about FODMAPs

All about FODMAPs

What's the deal with FODMAPs?

You’ve probably heard of lactose intolerance or fructose malabsorption. These types of malabsorption are very common, but did you know that the acronym ‘FODMAP’ covers these 2 types of dietary intolerances, plus another 2 types?

‘FODMAP’ stands for ‘Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Dissacharides, Monosaccharides & Polyols’; the names of different groups of poorly-absorbed short-chain sugars, including not only fructose and lactose, but also molecules called fructans, galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and sugar alcohols, like sorbitol and mannitol.

It may not be as simple as lactose or fructose malabsorption causing your gut ache. There could in fact be various FODMAP culprits causing your gut issues.

Read on to find out more about 

Could FODMAPs be the culprits for my gut grief?

When consumed in food or drink, FODMAPs can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine, continuing their path along the gastrointestinal tract until they reach the large intestine, where these 2 things happen:

  • The FODMAPs are readily fermented by bacteria in the large bowel, contributing to gas production there.
  • FODMAPs are highly osmotic, which means they attract water into the large bowel, which can result in increased bowel actions, and/or alterations in normal bowel habits.

These 2 processes can tripper symptoms like flatulence, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation or a combination of both.

What does a FODMAP diet involve, and is it for me?

There are 3 phases of the FODMAP diet. They are outlined below:

  • The first phase is where high FODMAP foods are strictly eliminated for 2-6 weeks, while gut symptoms are monitored.
  • The second phase is where high FODMAP foods are slowly reintroduced to determine tolerance to different FODMAPs. This phase involves trialling all FODMAPs.
  • In the third phase, the diet is liberalised and modified to suit individual levels of tolerance.

It is very important that all phases of the FODMAP diet are guided by the expertise of a specialist FODMAP expert dietitian.

The low FODMAP diet has proven the most effective way to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with up to 75% of patients following the diet experiencing symptom relief.

A low FODMAP diet is now recommended as a preferred treatment for IBS, and is integrated into clinical guidelines, and implemented by experts & leading medical establishments worldwide.

Speak to your doctor or dietitian today, to see if a low FODMAP diet can benefit you.

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