How to Become a High-FODMAP Investigator

How to Become a High-FODMAP Investigator?

Before beginning my low FODMAP diet, I was referred to a dietician. We discussed the diet and potential problems. If you are considering following the low FODMAP diet I would recommend talking to a dietician, they provide a lot of support, and help you to make sure you’re following it correctly.

Most of the information provided below is from the information I was given. You can find some of this here, and how to gain more information. There is a lot on the internet about FODMAP’s and the diet – give it a google!

Why do FODMAPs cause symptoms?

  • FODMAP foods aren’t absorbed in the small intestine, and so pass along the gut to the large intestine. Bacteria there ferment FODMAPs, which may result in bloating, wind, and altered bowel habits.

When is the low FODMAP diet used?

It’s typically used as a tool in managing IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and other digestive disorders. It helps to remove the gut symptoms (bloating, wind, abdominal pain and altered bowel movements (constipation, diarrhoea) associated with these digestive disorders.

What are FODMAPs?

  • Fermentable
  • Oligo-saccharides (fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides)
  • Di-saccharides (lactose)
  • Mono-saccharides (fructose)
  • And
  • Polyols (sugar alcohols)

For 8 weeks, you follow a low FODMAP diet as strictly as possible (the elimination phase), with the aim of improving your symptoms (I noticed a massive improvement – I didn’t realise quite how ill I felt after eating certain foods until I didn’t have those feelings anymore!).

After the 8 week elimination phase, you reintroduce foods containing FODMAPs to identify which you are able to tolerate (The reintroduction phase). This allows you to work out which you are most sensitive to, giving you more flexibility (more on this later!).

Major sources of FODMAPs

For a more complete list, see here

  • Fructans
    • Wheat and rye
    • Various fruits and vegetables (see the list linked above – includes onion and garlic – one of the trickiest parts to avoid, especially eating out!)
  • Galacto-oligosaccharide (G0S)
    • Pulses and legumes
  • Polyols
    • Various fruits and vegetables
    • Sugar free chewing gum and mints
  • Fructose
    • Various fruits
    • Honey and agave nectar
    • More than 100ml of fruit juice or smoothie
  • Lactose
    • Milk
    • Yoghurt

Note – butter is low in lactose, as are some cheeses.

All meat, poultry, fish and eggs are low FODMAP.

It’s important to ensure you eat enough fibre on the low FODMAP diet (daily requirement in the UK is 18g). However, be careful to introduce high fibre foods into your diet slowly, as sudden increases can cause IBS symptoms.

You should also aim to drink 2 litres of fluid (water is best!) a day.

Reintroducing FODMAPs

Reintroducing FODMAPs is very important. It identifies which FODMAPs you are most sensitive to, allows you to establish how much of a high FODMAP food triggers symptoms and makes your diet more healthy.

The procedure I follow when reintroducing is as follows:

Day 1 – Eat the suggested food and portion size, preferably in the morning to allow symptoms time to develop.

Days 2 and 3 – symptoms may not develop quickly, or may develop all at once. Use the same food as day in each case.

If you have symptoms after day 1, depending on the severity you either stop the challenge or continue. If symptoms are severe, you would stop the challenge and revert back to a low FODMAP diet. If they are small, continue, to see if they increase as the FODMAPs accumulate in the body.

After day three, you wait for until you have no symptoms again (if you had any!), and then commence the next challenge.

My reintroductions so far:

  • Lactose
    • 125 ml semi-skimmed milk each day for 3 challenge days.
    • Read about my lactose reintroduction here.
  • Fructans
    • Garlic
      • 1/4 of a cooked clove of garlic in a low FODMAP meal for 3 challenge days.
      • Read about my garlic reintroduction here.
    • Onion
      • 1 tablespoon of cooked onion in a low FODMAP meal for 3 challenge days.
      • Read about my onion reintroduction here.
    • Wheat
      • 1 slice white or wholemeal bread for 3 challenge days.
      • Read about my wheat reintroduction here.
  • Fructose
    • 1 teaspoon of honey for 3 challenge days.
    • Read about my fructose reintroduction here.

High-FODMAP Investigator

following foods are known to be high in FODMAPs and avoiding them for a short period of time can therefore ease symptoms:

  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cherries
  • Celery
  • Dairy
  • Garlic
  • Honey
  • Leeks
  • Lentils
  • Mango
  • Mushrooms
  • Nectarines
  • Onions
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Sweetcorn
  • Watermelon

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