Paula Christofakakis, Dietitian at Lifecare Malvern.
FODMAPs – what is it?
Abdominal pain, gas, bloating, constipation – do any of these sound familiar?
These symptoms may not just be the result after consuming a large meal.
More and more people are presenting with gut related concerns and food intolerances which can affect your quality of life.
Where do FODMAPs fit in?
FODMAPs are found in everyday foods and refer to fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which are sugars that can often be poorly absorbed in the small intestine.
FODMAPs are fermented by intestinal gut microflora resulting in gas production, which contributes to other IBS symptoms such as bloating, wind, abdominal pain and constipation.
For most people these sugars don’t cause any problems but some of us don’t digest them well.
The low FODMAP diet restricts high FODMAP foods (listed below) and was developed by a team of researchers to help reduce and manage these IBS symptoms with one study showing it to provide relief in 56% of patients with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis (Gearry et al JCC 2008).
Examples of some high FODMAP foods include:
- Fructans – wheat, rye, barley, onion, garlic, artichokes
- GOS – legumes, cashews, pistachios
- Lactose – milk, yoghurt, ice cream, custard
- Fructose – Apples, pears, watermelon, cherries, boysenberries, mango, asparagus, sugar snap peas, honey
- Sorbitol – apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, blackberries, sugar-free gum and mints
- Mannitol – mushrooms, cauliflower, snow peas
How can a dietician help?
Education on the Low FODMAP diet takes time, and an experienced dietitian can provide individualised treatment specific to an individual’s symptoms.
Patients can work together with a dietitian to develop meal plans, shopping guides and options when dining out.
Reduction or removal of high FODMAP foods from the diet with slow re-introduction to suit each individual’s needs and symptoms, can be managed by a dietitian in the context of achieving a nutritionally adequate diet.
Are you in need of a dietitian after reading this article? Find a Lifecare dietitian near you. Please note that dietitians are only available at selected clinics.