Starting on a low FODMAP diet: what to eat and what to avoid

Eating low FODMAP foods is popular among people having problems with their gut and digestive system such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although some doctors will recommend a person with digestion problem to eat fibre-rich foods, not all fibre-rich foods are low FODMAP foods.

fodmap foods

The FODMAP food diet was first introduced by Australian gastroenterologists in 2005. According to their study, eating low FODMAP foods can result to reduction of IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation. Another study conducted by researcher’s at King’s College London also proves that this kind of diet works for 70% of people diagnosed with IBS.

What to avoid during a low FODMAP diet

People who try to do a low FODMAP food diet do not aim to lose weight but to ease their irritable bowel syndrome and other gut problems. This type of food can be intimidating at first, because several fibre-rich and healthy foods fall under the category of high FODMAP foods.

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These food groups represent a type of carbohydrates that are instantly fermentable and osmotically active short-chained carbohydrates. Examples of foods rich in FODMAP are those containing sorbitol, lactose, fructose, mannitol, galactooligosaccharides, and fructooligosaccharides.

As a guide, here are some foods you should avoid when you are on a low FODMAP diet:

  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Milk
  • Sporty and fizzy drinks
  • Bran cereals
  • Wheat products
  • Artichokes
  • Soybeans
  • Wine and beer
  • Leeks
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Avocados
  • Watermelon

How to start your low FODMAP diet

Starting on a low FODMAP diet is not as intimidating as it looks. There are several low FODMAP foods that are now easily available at several gluten free shop online and stores. All you have to do is study what types of foods are allowed in a low in FODMAP diet.

Here are some samples of low FODMAP foods:

  • Bananas
  • Chickpeas
  • Strawberries
  • Lemons
  • Blueberries
  • Green beans
  • Oranges
  • Potatoes
  • Ginger
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Kale
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Beef
  • Salmon
  • Lamb
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Quorn mince

FODMAP food elimination

It is best that you consult your physician before trying out any type of diet. Aside from totally banning high FODMAP foods from your diet, your physician may also suggest a FODMAP elimination. This type of approach will help you and your physician identify which FODMAP foods your digestive system can tolerate.

FODMAP elimination will require you to totally eliminate high FODMAP foods from your diet for a few weeks. After a few weeks, you will be reintroduced to high FODMAP foods one at a time. Your physician will monitor how your digestive system will react to specific high FODMAP foods. If a specific high FODMAP food is well tolerated by your digestive system, then you can consume such food minimally from time to time.

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