Should you be on a low FODMAP Diet?
The only answer to this is no unless you are being investigated for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
You may ask, "Why is the low FODMAP diet bad for me if I just want to lose weight?"
The low FODMAP diet is not a diet designed for weight loss. This is one of the reasons that you should not be on a low FODMAP diet. It should have been called a process or a program rather than a 'diet' because it is actually used as an investigative tool by health professionals for those who have suspected IBS. The low FODMAP diet takes your gut to a baseline so we can test what High FODMAP sugars may be giving your gut the IBS symptoms.
If you stay on the low FODMAP diet you will be reducing your gut's ability to digest foods. The low FODMAP diet is low in prebiotics which is food for your gut bugs. Those who go on a low FODMAP diet often find instant relief from their gut issues and don't want to go off it but you are not doing your gut any favours by staying on it. All you are doing is starving your gut bugs.
The low FODMAP diet is brilliant and should only be used for the purpose of medical nutrition therapy by a health professional to treat those with IBS. This is one of the reasons we here at HealthMap are trying to empower you to understand your own health and your gut.
The longer you stay on the low FODMAP diet the less diverse your gut community will become. We have seen this happen many times with clients and they come back after being on the low FODMAP diet for months or years and wonder why they don't feel great anymore.
What are FODMAPs and how do they react in your gut?
Watch this video by Monash University to understand more about FODMAPS and why they cause such issues.
If you have bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea and general feeling on unwell you may have problems digesting certain sugars or carbohydrates that are called FODMAPs.
FODMAPs are sugars or carbohydrates that are either slowly absorbed in your small intestine or not digested at all so they cause discomfort.
The FODMAP sugars or carbohydrates attract water into your intestine and are involved in fermentation in your large intestine which is done by your gut bacteria which ends in gas production. This production of gas can cause discomfort as it causes bloating and pushes out your intestines which can also cause hypersensitivity within your gut.
What does FODMAP mean?
Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS))
Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)
Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
Polyols (e.g. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitel and Isomalt)
Why would I need a low FODMAP diet?
The FODMAP diet is a short-term diet to help us diagnose what (if any) FODMAPS may be causing the symptoms you have been experiencing. There are three phases to the FODMAP diet.
Following the Monash University FODMAP protocol, there are three main steps to the FODMAP investigative process:
Phase 1: Low FODMAP diet (2-6 weeks)-using the Monash Low FODMAP App or book or both. Set the filter on the safe serving sizes-set sensitivity to HIGH to start with.
Phase 2: FODMAP reintroduction or rechallenging is where we introduce high FODMAP foods back into your diet so we know exactly which one is causing the symptoms. This step is also used to expand your diet and give you more diversity in your diet.
Phase 3: FODMAP personalisation which is designed to suit your individual FODMAP problem area.
What about Gluten? Isn’t it a FODMAP?
Gluten is not a FODMAP.
Gluten is a protein found naturally in Wheat, Rye and Barley. People who go on a gluten-free diet may feel better and have relief from their symptoms, however, it is usually not the gluten they have a problem with.
What appears to be a gluten intolerance problem is actually a problem with Fructans or GOS (FODMAPs) as these can also be found in the same foods as gluten. These foods are mentioned above under What are Oligosaccharides? section. By removing gluten from your diet you are also removing these FODMAPs and it is difficult to know who the culprit is.
If you think you have an IBS issue, want to understand the low FODMAP diet better or have been on the low FODMAP diet for some time and want to get off. Then book an online consultation with us and we can help you and your gut get your Mojo back.
Download a free FODMAP resource here.
All the information provided here, plus more, can be found on the Monash FODMAP website.