1. WTF is a FODMAP?
Answer: The acronym means: Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols.
2. So again, WTF is a FODMAP?
Answer: They are specific types of carbohydrates: A monosaccharide is a one-sugar unit, disaccharide is a two-sugar unit, polyols are sugar alcohols. These carbohydrates are poorly absorbed by the small intestine, small and osmotically active, and rapidly fermented - see point 4 below.
3. What is a low-FODMAP diet and who's on it?
Answer: This diet isn't a catchy, trendy one, like say... Gluten-free, but there's evidence that a diet low in FODMAPs improves the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS sufferers (about 1 in 7 people!) exhibit recurring GI symptoms including gas, bloating, bowel pain and discomfort, diarrhoea, and/or constipation. A new U.S. study of patients with IBS and diarrhea found greater improvements for those on a low-FODMAP diet. FODMAP research and diet development took place at Monash University in Australia.
Answer: People can't absorb FODMAPs, so they move from the small intestine to the large intestine, taking water with them (they are osmotically active). In the large intestine, these carbohydrates meet the resident large intestine bacteria. The bacteria "eat" the carbohydrates, this is called fermentation. A byproduct of fermentation is, you guessed it, gas! People with IBS are very sensitive to the feeling of distention caused by fermentation and gas production.
5. What foods are high in FODMAPs?
Answer: Pretty much every food group has foods within them that are both high and low in FODMAPs. See table below.
|High and low-FODMAP foods. http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/low-high.html|
Answer: There is some research suggesting people who think they have a gluten or wheat "sensitivity" may actually have IBS or similar symptoms to those suffering from IBS. Research shows people with these "sensitivities" would actually benefit from a low-FODMAP diet rather than the trendier "gluten-free" diet (1, 2, 3).
So, there you have it. What FODMAPs are, what a low-FODMAP diet is, and who benefits from being on such a diet.
Should you want to try a low-FODMAP diet, I strongly advise seeking an accredited dietitian who specialises in such diets (see links below.) These dietitians will ensure your diet continues to provide you with sufficient nutrients, vitamin, and minerals, monitor your progress, and guide you through adding back potential FODMAP foods.
In Australia, find an accredited dietitian here: http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/find-an-apd/
In the USA, find a registered dietitian here: http://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert