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Introduction to the FODMAP Diet

The FODMAP Diet – though it has a funny name – is an excellent resource for people struggling with a number of digestive conditions. Not intended for weight loss, this strict dietary regimen is a tried-and-true strategy for identifying trigger foods that may be problematic for your digestive health.

Curious about the FODMAP diet? Take a look at who can benefit, what the diet involves, and how it can help individuals create their ideal diet.

What is FODMAP?

First things first – how’d it get that funny name? FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Wow, that’s a mouthful! In everyday terms, this refers to short-chain carbohydrates, or sugars.

The small intestine tends to have difficulties absorbing these carbs. For some, eating certain foods with these short-chain carbs can result in big digestive issues, like cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and painful or excessive gas. These are common symptoms for people diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and/or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

What is the Purpose of the FODMAP Diet?

This diet is NOT intended for weight loss. Rather, the FODMAP diet is an advanced strategy that helps individuals with IBS and/or SIBO identify the precise foods that are causing digestive distress.

The FODMAP Strategy

The method behind the FODMAP diet includes eliminating all foods that are high in FODMAPs for 2-6 weeks. This allows the body to reach a baseline with fewer symptoms. Then, the individual can slowly introduce those restricted foods one at a time to identify which items are triggering the digestive issues. Once those problem foods are identified, the person can avoid eating those foods and enjoy eating the other FODMAP foods without worrying about triggering their IBS or SIBO symptoms.

Following the FODMAP Diet

Though somewhat tedious, the FODMAP diet is an excellent way to get personalized insight into the body’s unique dietary needs. It’s common for people with IBS or SIBO to have different problem foods, so a one-size-fits-all dietary plan is not always the best or most practical solution. The FODMAP diet allows people to pinpoint the food items to avoid in a methodical way, putting the power and knowledge in their own hands.

High FODMAP foods to eliminate:

• Dairy-based products like milk, yogurt and ice cream

• Wheat-based products like bread and cereal

• Beans and lentils

• These vegetables: onions, garlic, artichokes, and asparagus

• These fruits: apples, cherries, peaches and pears

Some of the items on this list may come as a surprise! Though many of them, like apples and beans, are often considered healthy food choices, they are still high FODMAP items. Not sure what to eat after reading this list? Take a look at the next list, which can be used as a foundation for your diet when starting out.

Low FODMAP foods that are okay to eat:

• Eggs

• Meat

• Certain cheeses like cheddar and feta

• Dairy alternatives, like almond milk •

These grains: rice, quinoa and oats

• These vegetables: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and zucchini

• These fruits: grapes, strawberries, oranges, pineapple, and blueberries

The FODMAP diet can be a good tool for individuals with digestive problems. However, it can be a tricky diet to tackle alone! Talking to a nutritionist or personal dietician can help you take on the FODMAP diet with greater confidence.

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