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What Is a Low-FODMAP Diet?

What Is a Low-FODMAP Diet?

FODMAP is a funny name, but it refers to hard-to-digest carbohydrates that can be a major cause of dietary distress in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or functional abdominal pain. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides, and polyols.

FODMAPs can trigger digestive problems like gas, bloating, and stomach pain. They’re found in a surprisingly wide array of foods, many of which you probably eat daily or often. 

A low-FODMAP diet, greatly reduces your intake of these carbohydrates to help ease digestive problems. Research shows that a low-FODMAP diet is especially effective in reducing the flare-ups and intensity of IBS.

At Digestive Disorders Associates — with offices in Gambrills, Chester, and Annapolis, Maryland —we can help you determine if a low-FODMAP diet is right for you.

If so, here’s what to expect with the diet and our guidance in following it. 

Where are FODMAPS found?

FODMAPs are present in varying levels in many common foods. When you start a low-FODMAP diet, we’ll bring awareness to the following four groups:

Oligosaccharides

Fructans and galactans are oligosaccharide carbohydrates that are off-limits on a low-FODMAP diet. Fructans are found in foods like wheat, rye, brussels sprouts, bok choy, and cauliflower. Galactans are present in legumes, beans, and some root vegetables, including onions and garlic.

Disaccharides

Lactose is the main carbohydrate in disaccharide-containing dairy foods. This group includes milk, cottage and ricotta cheese, ice cream, and yogurt. 

Monosaccharides

Honey, agave nectar, figs, and mangoes are just some foods with monosaccharides. Foods with monosaccharides are usually high in the carbohydrate called fructose. This group includes apples, honey, and watermelon. Broccoli, asparagus, and artichokes also contain monosaccharides. 

Polyols

Polyols are present in certain low-calorie sweeteners (like sorbitol) and certain fruits and vegetables, including blackberries. 

Why are FODMAPs a problem?

FODMAPs aren’t a problem for everyone. Usually, they only affect people with bowel disorders like IBS.

FODMAPs are usually high in fiber or compounds that bring along water when them move from the small intestine to the colon. The increase in water in your digestive tract can make you feel exceptionally full and bloated. The extra water can also lead to diarrhea.

FODMAPs often take longer for your system to digest, so they ferment while in your intestines -- leading to gas. Your gut bacteria has to work extra hard to break down these carbohydrates. In sensitive people, the stomach distension that results triggers the nerves in the area to send pain signals to the brain -- so you end up with a stomachache. 

Creating a low-FODMAP diet

It takes some planning to follow a low-FODMAP diet, but if you struggle with abdominal distress, the work is worth it. Our experts at Digestive Disorder Associates are ready to help, too. We can provide you with a list of foods that are acceptable to eat and even help you with meal planning. 

Sample meals may include:

We can help you ease your digestive distress with dietary changes and other lifestyle and medical treatments. Come see us!

Call any of our offices in Gambrills, Chester, or Annapolis, Maryland, or use the online tool to schedule an appointment. 

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