Are FODMAPs The Cause Of Your Dietary Problems?
These carbohydrates aren't yet well known, but for more and more people they are the cause of their long-term dietary discomfort. But what are FODMAPs, and what can you do about them?
WHAT ARE FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates: specifically fermentable oligo-, di- and mono-saccharides, and polyols or FODMAPs for short. These carbohydrates are fermented in the intestine, and increase the volume of liquids and gas.
While most people easily digest FODMAPs, others aren't so lucky, and suffer from symptoms like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, pain and gas. These symptoms are common to a wide range of different intolerance and diseases, so finding a cause can be difficult.
What foods contain FODMAPs?
Common foods like bread, milk and other dairy products contain high levels of FODMAPs, which explains why people often suspect themselves of being gluten or lactose intolerant. But FODMAPs also appear in high levels in fruit and vegetables like asparagus, garlic, onion, apples, pears, peaches and legumes.
Foods that are low in FODMAPs include bananas, oranges, hard cheese, meat, fish, tofu, rice, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds.
While you can't remove the FODMAPs from food, the way the food is processed can affect the FODMAP levels. For example, pickling and canning food may lower levels (as the FODMAPs transfer to the surrounding water).
What is the low FODMAP diet?
If you suspect that FODMAPs might be the cause of your digestion problems, simply cutting them out is not the answer, as this could easily lead to an unbalanced and unsustainable diet.
Monash University in Australia have developed a research-based app to help people follow and manage a low FODMAP diet.
The app includes a database of high and low FODMAP foods as well as helpful tips and hints like using garlic infused oil in cooking, instead of actual garlic.
If you think a low-FODMAPs diet might be good for you, be sure to consult your doctor and a registered dietitian before making any drastic changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Find a registered Dietitian in your region:
- US: http://www.eatright.org/programs/rdfinder/default.aspx 'Find a Registered Dietitian'
- Canada: http://www.dietitians.ca/Find-a-Dietitian.aspx
- UK: For FODMAP-trained Dietitians see http://www.kcl.ac.uk/medicine/research/divisions/dns/projects/fodmaps/faq.aspx or see www.nhs.uk 'How can I find a registered dietitian or nutritionist?'
- Australia: www.daa.asn.au 'Find an Accredited Practising Dietitian' Area of Practice 'Gastrointestinal (bowel/stomach disorders)'
PSST! Do you really know the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?
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Chef Tips and Tricks
These quick and easy chicken quesadillas are the perfect, last-minute family dinner!
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup of chives, chopped
- 1 tsp. of Mexican spice mix
- 4 Tortillas
- Salt, to taste
- Put shredded chicken breast, tomato sauce, chives, and mexican spice mix in a bowl and mix together.
- Lay out the tortillas. Place a slice of cheddar in the center, and cover with the chicken mix.
- Fold up tortillas, and heat in a frying pan until golden.