Developed at Stanford University to offer relief to those dealing with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, the Low FODMAP diet is taking off as a major trends, since it’s also recommended for anyone with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. While the diet doesn’t have any big weight loss benefits, it can relieve diarrhea, bloating and gas production.
Find out more about the benefits of this diet, the science behind it and the right way to try it when you’re dealing with digestive issues.
The Low FODMAP Diet Basics
The main principle of the diet is to get symptom relief by reducing carbs that tend to draw water into the stool. The Low FODMAP diet advises that you reduce your intake of these problematic carbs in order to eliminate their laxative and bloating effect. However, the way the diet works best is under the supervision of a dietitian, so don’t try it on your own without the help of a professional.
What are FODMAPs?
An acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, FODMAPs are found in everything from dairy and grains to fruits and vegetables, along with high fructose corn syrup. The Low FODMAP diet restricts foods high in these compounds, but it also recommends avoiding food combinations that result in high levels of them.
Oligiosaccharides – While the diet isn’t gluten-free, some of the grains rich in oligiosaccharides also have high contents of gluten, particularly wheat, barley and rye. Legumes like lentils and kidney beans, along with vegetables like onions, broccoli and leeks, and fruits like nectarines are also high in this type of carbs.
Disaccharides – Lactose rich dairy from milk and yogurt to cottage cheese should be restricted on the Low FODMAP diet.
Monosaccharides – Fruits and vegetables that are high in fructose are a problem, including apples and pears. Asparagus and honey should also be avoided.
Polyols – Found in fruits like blackberries and peaches, along with vegetables like cauliflower and avocado, polyols are also present in sugar alcohols and mushrooms in high concentrations.
How Does the Low FODMAP Diet Work?
Since you can get high FODMAP concentrations even while avoiding the wrong foods, this isn’t a diet that you should try on your own. The Low FODMAP diet isn’t completely gluten-free or dairy-free, but since there are restrictions that include these foods, it can be beneficial for people who suffer from lactose malabsorption and gluten sensitivity. After the initial phase of a few weeks with major restrictions, you’ll be advised by your dietitian to start including some high FODMAP foods back, in a controlled manner, in order to determine which have a big impact on your gastrointestinal problems and which can be consumed in moderation.
Timing Your Meals
The second major component of the Low FODMAP diet is the meal schedule. In order to get the most out of your diet, you need to allow for proper digestion, which means that all meals and snacks should be timed the right way. If you’re trying the diet, you need to allow of window of 3-4 hours, no more and no less, between your meals and snacks.
Why Do You Need a Professional?
Since the initial phase of the Low FODMAP diet can sometimes take up to six weeks, you need a dietitian’s help in more than one way. While you could avoid high FODMAP foods on your own, you’ll need expert help in making sure that you’re getting the proper nutrition while you respect the restrictions.
Will You Lose Weight Loss on the Low FODMAP Diet?
While the diet was not designed for weight loss, it’s up to you to make healthy choices when it comes to low FODMAP foods. You will get a quick result when it comes to bloating, but there are plenty of unhealthy FODMAP-free foods that may contribute to weight gain if you’re not careful.
Is It Hard to Follow?
The Low FODMAP diet isn’t very convenient, and it can increase your grocery bills. You’ll have to be careful to make the right choices when you eat out, and you’ll also have to avoid certain alcoholic beverages, including beer