THE LOW FODMAP DIET

THE LOW FODMAP DIET
WRITTEN BY R.D.N ANTONIO GÓMEZ

What is a FODMAP DIET?

The low FODMAP diet stands for:
Fermentable - Oligosaccharides (oligo –“few,” saccharide – “sugar”)
Disaccharides (“two sugars”)
Monosaccharides (“one sugar”)
And Polyols (another type of sugar are with a molecule of alcohol)
In other words, is a fancy and complex name just to refer to a diet low in fermentable and simple carbohydrates or sugars.

Carbohydrates = Sugars

From a nutritional-biochemical point of view, sugars are called carbohydrates and they have a huge misnomer, nutritionally speaking people tend to relate them to “food that makes you fat” and even in nutritional literature the labeling and sorting of these type of molecule are misleading.

The key point to understand is that carbohydrates encompass a huge array of molecules, from simple (low number of molecules) to complex (a greater number of molecules) and even from fermentable (soluble fiber or prebiotics) to non-fermentable (insoluble fiber), so as you can see, depending on the topic you can classify carbohydrates in many categories.

If you want a more detailed explanation of the types of classifications of carbohydrates (sugars) check our previous post “Sugar, friend or foe”.

 

Understanding FODMAP

Now that we have an idea of the different types of carbohydrates we need to understand its main role in the body, and that is “ENERGY”, and depending on the number of molecules of carbohydrates (or sugars) the more energy, the low FODMAP diet refers only to simple carbohydrates, in other words, the low number of carbohydrates molecules like Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, and Monosaccharides that ranges from 1 to 10 molecules of sugars, low energy foods.

Polyols are a type of sugar that can be found naturally in some fruits and vegetables but also be produced synthetically, they are also called sugar alcohols and used widely in the food industry as thickeners and sweeteners for commercial products, xylitol and sorbitol are popular sugar alcohols in commercial foods found in artificial sweeteners/sugar substitutes like Splenda.

Now that we have understood the basics we can now say that the objective of the low FODMAP diet is to LIMIT and/or AVOID food containing specific carbohydrates, being 4:

  • Oligosaccharides
  • Disaccharides
  • Monosaccharides
  • Polyols

Foods to limit or avoid in a low FODMAP diet

Foods that do not contain carbohydrates are not a concern like protein and fats, like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, butter, oils, and other types of food very high in protein and or fat with very little to none carbohydrates.

The next list provides a guide of the food you need to limit and/or avoid because they are HIGH in FODMAP.

  • Foods high in Oligosaccharides (up to 10 molecules of sugars) cereals and legumes like wheat, barley, rye, soy (any presentation), and beans. 

  • Food high in Disaccharides and Monosaccharides (1 to 2 molecules of sugar) dairy, vegetables, and fruits like any lactose based milk, yogurt and cheese, beets, broccoli, cabbage, apple, pears, and watermelon.

  • Food high in Polyols (sugar alcohols) mainly in candies like popsicles and artificial sweeteners.

Purpose of the low FODMAP diet (Expert Opinion)

The low FODMAP diet is a regime often prescribed in clinical nutrition in hospitals to patients after a digestive tract surgery and/or for diagnosed patients with digestive disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or functional abdominal pain, the aim for the diet is to decrease symptoms such as excessive gas, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or constipation by limiting or avoiding fermentation in a non-healthy digestive tract.

By no means is a diet that should be implemented by everyone, like any other diet, there’s no such thing as a “better” or “superior” style of diet, the best diet is the one that works best for each person, everyone is different so a diet should always be prescribed by a registered Nutritionist, based on blood work, physical examination and an extensive medical query the best nutritional strategy is tailored.

“All diets can work as a point of reference, if you are experiencing symptoms like constipation, excessive gas, bloating or any gut discomfort consult with a Nutritionist this type of diet, our Quinoa Cereals line up are an allowed cereal in a low FODMAP diet with zero artificial sweeteners and high in protein making it a great option to optimize your health.”

 

 

 

For more information about IBS visit:
http://www.ibsgroup.org 
For more research on the diet visit: 
https://www.monash.edu/medicine/ccs/gastroenterology

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