What is it and do I need it?
The Fodmap diet is gaining popularity amongst the Hollywood crowd for helping to achieve a flatter tummy but really it was designed to help those suffering from more severe gut issues such as IBS, many of whom report marked improvements in their symptoms when following a low fodmap diet. Fodmap is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Monosacaccharides and Polyols. Basically this refers to types of sugars that are poorly absorbed in the intestines which some people are more reactive to. When these sugars reach the large intestine the bacteria in the gut can begin to ferment them which can cause bloating, pain and wind. Some people even find that they experience diarrhoea after consuming foods that contain these sugars. The fodmap diet is a diet that eliminates fodmap foods thereby reducing abdominal discomfort. In theory this all sounds wonderful however following a fodmap diet can be restrictive as it does limit many foods.
Fodmap foods to avoid include:
Grains – Barley, rye, wheat, semolina, couscous, bread, pasta, cake etc.
As you can see there are a lot of foods that contain these sugars and sticking to the fodmap diet as a way of life is restrictive. It may be beneficial to cut back on high fodmap foods if you are experiencing tummy symptoms whilst working on a gut healing programme and then gradually try reintroducing the foods and see how you go. Some people can react to certain fodmaps but it doesn't necessarily mean you will react to all fodmaps. Finding the ones that are your trigger is key. It is important to seek professional expert advice if experiencing gut issues and prior to following any new diet protocol.
Pros – Many people find relief from uncomfortable tummy problems such as IBS by following a low fodmap diet.
Cons – A very restrictive diet. Cutting out foods could put you at risk of nutritional deficiencies. If following a low fodmap diet it is important that you seek professional medical guidance to do it in a safe way.