Dr. Starpoli's Blog

What is a FODMAP diet and why is it used?

Posted by Anthony A. Starpoli, MD on Feb 6, 2015 9:00:00 AM

blender-resized-600"Fermentable Oligo-saccharides Di-Saccharides, Mono-saccharides Polyols, or FODMAP, is a low FODMAP diet created by Susan Shepherd and Peter Gibson. FODMAP are carbohydrates that are unable to be absorbed by the small intestine.

Why is this diet used?
It is estimated that one in five individuals have this issue, which is why this diet was designed to help individuals control their symptoms by adhering to a low FODMAP diet. A study was performed in order to see if a low FODMAP diet actually reduced symptoms associated with FODMAP carbohydrates. In 50% of the patients who suffered from IBS, symptoms improved. Patients who are without a colon showed a decrease in loose stools.
Because individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders cannot absorb these carbohydrates, they experience rather unpleasant side effects.

Side effects from consuming foods containing FODMAP carbohydrates:

  • Gas (including flatulence)
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Constipation

Those that adhere to a low FODMAP diet do not consume foods that are high in fructose, polyols, lactose and galactins. A low FODMAP diet aids in reducing the above symptoms.

What is allowed on the low FODMAP diet?

  • Lactose free dairy
  • Gluten free and spelt grains
  • Meat that does not contain high fructose corn syrup
  • Fruits (tangerine, rhubarb, bananas, cantaloupe, blueberries, cranberries, kiwi, honeydew, grapes, mandarin, lime, lemon, pineapple and raspberries).
  • Drinks (fruit and vegetable smoothies made with the allowed foods, tea and coffee).
  • Condiments (pickles, butter, chives, mayonnaise, jelly, jam, salsa, pepper, salt, pesto, soy sauce, seeds and vinegar).
  • Vegetables (sprouts, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, pumpkin, radishes, potatoes, seaweed and squash).

As you can see, a low FODMAP diet can greatly reduce your symptoms and can get you back on the road to living life comfortably and happily.