One in ten people suffers from chronic digestive issues. Many never receive a diagnosis.
While common, digestive issues are not always discussed because of their uncomfortable nature. If you suffer from painful cramps, low energy, loss of appetite, and chronic gas, you are not alone. There is help for chronic digestive concerns!
A low FODMAPs diet can help you identify your triggers and start on the road to recovery. This diet has proven results for those suffering from a variety of chronic digestive diseases.
Eliminating complex sugars can provide relief to your body and mind. Are you ready to make simple changes to your diet and start to feel better soon? Read on for the break down of FODMAPs and how this diet can ease common digestive symptoms.
What Are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for several types of carbohydrates or sugars. The letters stand for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.
These sugars take longer to absorb in the intestine. This results in gas and uncomfortable bloating. These symptoms are amplified for those with a sensitive gut as a result of IBS, Crohn’s, or other gut diseases.
A diet low in FODMAPs is often used to calm IBS or IBD flare-ups. The diet eliminates certain food groups that are high in these types of sugars. Removing these sugars or carbohydrates can give your intestines a chance to heal itself.
How Can the FODMAPs Diet Help Me?
If you suffer from chronic digestive issues, starting a low FODMAP diet can help reduce symptoms. The elimination diet allows you to identify which foods are causing your gut the most harm.
The diet was first developed by researchers at Monash University and targeted those with IBS. Those suffering from bloating, gas, or disruptive bowel movements find success in starting a diet low in FODMAPs.
There are three steps in the low FODMAP diet; elimination, reintroduction, and maintenance.
You remain on a low FODMAP diet for a certain period. You can start to reintroduce certain food groups and test how they are impacting your gut health. The length of time needed on the diet varies depending on each person’s reaction to the diet.
Tips for Starting a Low FODMAPs Diet
If you are thinking of starting a low FODMAP diet, it is always best to consult with your physician first. Once you have the all-clear, starting such a restrictive diet can be confusing and difficult. These are some simple tips to make the transition easier.
Foods to Avoid
While there are plenty of things left on the foods to eat list, the avoid list includes common ingredients that may be difficult to eliminate. Onions, garlic, and all their varieties are off-limits on this diet. Fruits such as apples, bananas, and many berries are also not allowed.
Avoid wheat and wheat-containing products because they are high in harmful sugars. Many sweeteners and processed foods that contain sugar substitutes are also eliminated.
Cut dairy products containing lactose. Lactose is a sugar that is difficult to break down for most people. This includes cheese, milk, and yogurt products.
Foods to Include
While many popular ingredients are not allowed, there is still a variety of foods to eat while you are on this diet. Getting the hang of what is allowed and what isn’t is tricky at first. Soon you’ll be a pro at knowing which foods are low and high in FODMAPs.
Many fruits and vegetables are still allowed such as broccoli, squashes, and even potatoes. Melons, certain berries, and citrus are still encouraged on a low FODMAP diet.
Many types of meat and fish products are still up for grabs while on this diet. The recommendation is to avoid spicy meats or sausages.
Gluten-free bread is a great alternative to wheat bread. Other grains like corn and oats are still available to eat. Seeds and rice are still allowed as well.
Garlic oil is a great substitute for fresh or powdered garlic which is not allowed. The infused oil provides the flavor without the sugars from the plant itself!
While it may seem intimidating at first, this diet can give you a chance to make some of your favorite dishes gut-friendly. Feel free to experiment with gluten-free recipes or new spices that give similar flavors without the pain and bloating later.
Many packaged foods have hidden sugars that you will need to avoid. Read labels thoroughly and you may be surprised at what is allowed.
There are meals and dishes ready-made that are perfect for low FODMAP. Finding prepackaged foods that fit within the diet, can be a great way to reduce your time spent in the kitchen.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a symptom and food journal while on this diet can help you track trigger foods and the severity of symptoms. Many physicians will recommend this step even before starting an extreme diet like this to compare before, during, and after.
This step is especially useful when you start re-introducing foods. You can track how that food affected you and for how long. If you get in the habit now, you can keep up with the journal while you move to the maintenance phase.
Long term food tracking can be helpful for those with gut issues to continually identify potential triggers and changes to your gut.
This is not a quick or easy process. Many people remain on the low FODMAP diet for three to six weeks before beginning to reintroduce high FODMAP foods.
Even when you do begin reintroducing foods, it may take time to slowly introduce some of your favorite foods. Trust the process and know that many people have seen success before you.
Use a Low FODMAP Diet to Improve Gut Health
Now you know a little more about how the food we eat interacts with our gut. The low FODMAPs diet is designed to help give the gut and insides a break while you focus on healing.
If you suffer from chronic digestive symptoms, you don’t have to go it alone. Check out our other blogs for more insight on managing symptoms and alternative treatments.