Now, I don’t want to bombard you all with science - just because I find it interesting doesn’t mean you will too. Thing is, I think it’s important sometimes to look at certain things in a scientific way to understand them more.
Last time I mentioned the low FODMAP diet which I’m currently undertaking to try to get my IBS under control.
For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a diet that was created by researchers at the Monash University in Australia. They found that these FODMAPs are poorly absorbed by the bowel and therefore stagnate causing bloating, wind, irritation of the bowel and in turn constipation and diarrhoea.
FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. (Try saying that ten times when you’ve had a skinful!). These are basically carbohydrates that the body struggles to process. All carbohydrates are broken down into sugar (glucose) to fuel your body, but certain types can cause irritation in the gut and can exacerbate symptoms of IBS.
The four main FODMAP groups are as follows:
Certain foods are very high in their respective FODMAPS and should be excluded or avoided for 6-8 weeks to try to reduce the inflammation in your gut. This is NOT a long term solution to IBS or any other type of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), but a good way of starting to assist in getting IBS under control. As symptoms begin to improve, you can start to re-introduce foods. By doing this and monitoring your reactions to these foods, you can see if there are particular food items that may be a trigger for your symptoms which you can therefore avoid on a long term basis.
Examples of high or very high FODMAPS that should be excluded to begin with are onions, garlic, wheat, honey, lactose (found in milk), apples, baked beans, cauliflower, mushrooms and a lot of sweeteners such as molasses, sorbitol and xylitol (this is found in a lot of chewing gums and mints).
Excluding complete food groups long term is unwise as your body needs a balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in order to function to its optimum level.
In the next few posts I will be giving you some low FODMAP recipes and also discussing other ‘fad’ diets and how these might affect your body.