Are you tired and confused on why you feel bloated after eating some dairy products, fruits or certain types of vegetables and grains? Well, have you heard about FODMAPs?
FODMAPs stand for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. They are groups of short-chain carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains, fruits, and sweeteners. Depending on the state of your digestive tract, you may be able to digest and absorb these types of carbohydrates or not. With poor absorption of FODMAPs, rapid fermentation can occur as they stay in the gut - leading to bloating, abdominal pain or distention caused by excessive fluid and gas accumulation.
People with autoimmune conditions, IBS, IBD, celiac disease, SIBO, malfunctioning GLUT2 and GLUT5 transporters (important for glucose absorption) or other types of issues that make it hard for the lining of the gut to absorb FODMAPs may need to temporarily reduce them or forever eliminate them from their diet; due to the goal of this article we cannot go over in depth on how these conditions impact your ability to absorb FODMAPs.
For now, some technical reasons why you may not be able to absorb FODMAPs include the following conditions:
- You don’t have luminal enzymes that hydrolyze the glycosidic bonds contained in carbohydrates.
- You don’t have or have very few brush border enzymes (ex. lactase).
- Your epithelial transporters (fructose, glucose transporter 2 [GLUT2), and glucose transporter 5 (GLUT5)] are not working very well.
For some people, going on a gut healing program that includes nutrient dense foods and lifestyle changes that support stress management, movement, and circadian rhythms is enough; gut healing programs can include The Perfect Health Diet, AIP, or Weston Price Diet. For people with serious damage or certain genetics, working with a functional doctor, taking antibiotics, or long term elimination of these types of carbohydrates and starches (another type of complex carbohydrate) may be the best option. I recommend working with an experienced nutritional practitioner and a doctor trained in functional medicine to figure it out where you may fall on this spectrum. For the rest of this article, I will focus on foods that have FODMAPs and foods that have low amount of FODMAPs.
FODMAPs are found in foods with the following carbohydrates:
Lactose: found in dairy products - including cow, sheep, and goat milk
Fructose: many types of fruits (ex. apples), dried fruits, honey, and fruit juices or fruits canned in juice or syrup.
Fructans: bread, pasta, couscous, onions, shallots, scallions, garlic, barley, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, pistachio, artichoke, inulin or chicory root
Galacto-oligosaccharides: Soy milk, soy protein isolate, miso, veggie-burgers, dried beans and peas, lentils, butter/lima beans, humus, large amount (more than 1 cup per day) of coffee
Polyols: artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and maltitol; apples, plums, cherries, pear, cauliflower, sweet corn, snow peas, mushroom
What can I eat?
FRUITS (in moderation)
Bananas, blueberry, cantaloupe, carambola, durian, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwi,
lemon, lime, orange, passion fruit, pawpaw, raspberry, strawberry, tangelo, and
Golden syrup, maple syrup, glucose, sugar (sucrose), molasses, treacle, other artificial sweeteners not called polyols or ending in “ol.”
Lactose-free milk*, rice milk*, Lactose-free yogurts, hard cheeses, and lactose free gelato*, oat milk*, and rice milk*. *Check for additives that may contain FODMAPs.
Hard cheeses, brie, and camembert.
Olive oil and ghee.
bamboo shoot, bok choy, cpasicum, carrot, celery, chives, choko, choy sum, corn
eggplant, green bean, lettuce, parsnips, pumpkin, silverbeet, spring onion (green part
only), spinach, sweet potato, yam, zucchini, kale, romaine lettuce, radishes,and squash.
basil, chili, coriander, ginger, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano,
parsley, rosemary and thyme.
Gluten-free bread or cereal products, 100% spelt bread, rice, oats, polenta, arrowroot, millet, psyllium, quinoa, sorghum, and tapioca.
There are plenty of more food options that may fit into a low FODMAP diet, but I wanted to include the ones I found selected in the research articles and educational organizations I read. For a more comprehensive list, you can download an app from Monash University.
As always, double check with your health practitioner to make sure a low FODMAP diet is appropriate for you.
If you have more questions, I offer private sessions in San Francisco, over skype or the phone. Please contact me here.
Wong, W. M. (2016). Restriction of FODMAP in the management of bloating in irritable bowel syndrome. Singapore Medical Journal, 57(9), 476–484. http://doi.org/10.11622/smedj.2016152
Uno, Y., & van Velkinburgh, J. C. (2016). Logical hypothesis: Low FODMAP diet to prevent diverticulitis. World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 7(4), 503–512.
Fedewa, A., & Rao, S. S. C. (2014). Dietary fructose intolerance, fructan intolerance and FODMAPs. Current Gastroenterology Reports, 16(1), 370. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11894-013-0370-0
Magge, S., & Lembo, A. (2012). Low-FODMAP Diet for Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 8(11), 739–745.