FODMAP Intolerance: What Is It and How to Deal With It
Medical disclaimer: The information on this site, and in this specific blog, is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to making dietary changes.
If you've been feeling bloated and uncomfortable after eating, you may have FODMAP intolerance. In this article, we will discuss what FODMAP intolerance is and how to deal with the uncomfortable digestive symptoms that come with it. We'll also provide a sample list of foods that are high in FODMAPs so you can avoid them if necessary.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are found in many common foods. They are particular sugars and fibers that can be difficult to digest and absorb. When large servings of these carbohydrates are consumed, they can cause symptoms of intolerance, like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
What causes FODMAP intolerance?
FODMAPs are rapidly fermentable by the normal bacteria residing in our guts, a process that produces gas. FODMAPs can pull some extra water into the intestines. This is normal to a point. FODMAPs cause symptoms when our intestines become distended after eating more FODMAPs than we can digest and absorb promptly. People with IBS can find this very uncomfortable and can experience a bout of symptoms as a result.
How is FODMAP intolerance diagnosed?
Intolerance is the experience of symptoms by a patient. It is not something that your doctor can diagnose directly by ordering tests, though they may want to make sure that your symptoms aren’t the result of a disease process. If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS, you could consider working with a dietitian to see if you can figure out whether you are intolerant to one or more types of FODMAPs.
This is often done by following a FODMAP elimination diet process, in which you start by temporarily eating a low FODMAP diet to see if it helps, then reintroduce FODMAPs one type at a time to learn which ones are causing your gastrointestinal symptoms. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about whether you should try a FODMAP elimination diet, especially if your symptoms haven’t yet been evaluated or if you have any history of disordered eating behavior.
The low-FODMAP diet can be difficult to follow because it eliminates so many common foods. That's why it's important to work with a professional who can help you plan meals using low-FODMAP foods and find substitutes for high-FODMAP foods that you may typically eat.
How is FODMAP intolerance managed?
Once FODMAP intolerance is identified through the elimination diet process, your dietitian can help you develop strategies to manage it. This can often be done by choosing smaller portions of foods that are the source of the problem FODMAPs. You may come away with a short list of foods to avoid, but our ultimate goal is to manage symptoms in the least restrictive way possible.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is a chronic disorder of gut-brain interaction in which diet often plays a role. Low FODMAP diets have been shown to help up to 85% of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) get improvement in symptoms, which include abdominal pain along with either diarrhea or constipation. That uncomfortable abdominal bloating frequently responds well to a low FODMAP diet, too. Medical practice guidelines suggest trying low FODMAP diets for people with inflammatory bowel disease, too, if they have IBS-like symptoms even though in remission from their Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
High FODMAP Foods
Some common foods which can be high in FODMAPs, especially in large portions, include:
If you would like to see a full list of foods high in FODMAPs then click here.
Low FODMAP Foods
Some common Low FODMAP foods that are especially low in FODMAPs include:
- Lactose-Free Milk
Many foods can be low, medium, or high in FODMAPs depending on the serving size.
What is a Low FODMAP Diet?
If you have been diagnosed with FODMAP intolerance, your doctor or dietitian may recommend a low-FODMAP diet. This is a temporary diet that eliminates all high-FODMAP foods. The purpose of the diet is to allow your digestive system to rest and heal by eating only Low FODMAP foods for 2-4 weeks. After that period of time, you will slowly reintroduce high-FODMAP foods into your diet one by one to see how your body reacts. This will allow you to identify which high FODMAP foods you are sensitive to and allow you to personalize your diet to avoid those types of foods.
The low-FODMAP diet can be difficult to follow because it eliminates so many common foods. That's why it's important to work with a professional who can help you plan meals using low-FODMAP foods and find substitutes for high-FODMAP foods that you may typically eat. If you think you may have FODMAP intolerance, talk to your doctor or dietitian. They can help you get the information and support you need to manage your symptoms.
How To Make the Low FODMAP diet Easy
The Low FODMAP diet does not have to be difficult. ModifyHealth makes it super easy, by providing fully prepared Low FODMAP meals and optional dietitian support. Their service takes the shopping and cooking aspect out of the diet and lets you focus on the main goals of the diet, finding out your trigger foods.
When it comes to FODMAP intolerance, the best approach is to work with a professional as you temporarily avoid high-FODMAP foods. With a little bit of effort, you can successfully identify your FODMAP intolerances and manage your gastrointestinal symptoms.
If you are interested in learning more about ModifyHealth’s Low FODMAP meal plan and dietitian support, then click the link: Low FODMAP meal plan