What are FODMAPs? FODMAPs are a group of small chain carbohydrates (sugars and fibers) that are commonly malabsorbed in the small intestine. FODMAPs are abundant in the diet and can be found in everyday foods such as: wheat, barley, rye, apples, pears, mango, onion, garlic, honey, kidney beans, cashew nuts, agave syrup, sugar free gum, mints and some medicines, to name a few. Up to 75% of those who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) will benefit from dietary restriction of FODMAPs. Research has shown the low FODMAP diet improves gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms (gas, bloating, pain, change in bowel habits) related to IBS.
What is the low FODMAP diet? The low FODMAP diet is a 2-6 week elimination diet that involves removing high FODMAP foods from the diet to assess whether FODMAP rich foods are triggering your GI symptoms. The low FODMAP diet is a learning diet rather than one that you stay on forever. The goal of the diet is to help you determine your personal dietary triggers. After the low FODMAP elimination diet phase, a dietitian will guide you on how to re-introduce FODMAPs, in a methodical manner, to assess your tolerance to various FODMAP containing foods. Many people will find they can liberalize their FODMAP diet restrictions and only need to restrict some high FODMAP foods. The low FODMAP diet should be implemented with the help of a FODMAP knowledgeable dietitian to help you navigate the many nuances of the diet and to help you develop a personalized, well-balanced eating plan.
Kate Scarlata is a Boston-based Registered and licensed dietitian as well as a York Times Best Selling author with 25+ years of experience. Kate specializes in the low FODMAP diet and digestive health conditions including IBS, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in her private practice in Medway, Massachusetts.