Health & Food

Do You Have IBS? FODMAPs May Be the Culprit

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I’m on a diet. It’s not a weight loss diet, and it’s not some stupid cleanse diet or whatever, it’s a diet for my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and it’s been a lifesaver. I posted my IBS story here (this was before I had learned about the low FODMAPs diet for IBS), and I posted a bit about the low FODMAPs IBS diet here. As it turns out this diet is becoming more and more popular throughout the world, and recently my favorite magazine; Today’s Dietitian, wrote an article all about it.Ever since I’ve been on this diet I have felt about 1000 times better, and my quality of life has increased tremendously, so I’m not surprised that other people are slowly starting to find this out as well. Imagine going your entire life with constant bloating and gas. It’s not fun (not for me or anyone around me…..). Now I can finally say my gas is under control, and all I did was change my diet! Food really is the best medicine, but I guess it can also be your worst nightmare. Here are some important points from the article in Today’s Dietitian;

What are FODMAPs?

They are short-chain carbohydrates that tend to be malabsorbed in those with IBS. The acronym stands for:

Fermentable

Oligosaccharides

Disaccharides

Monosaccharides

And

Polyols

Why are these foods considered “trouble foods” for those with IBS?

The short-chain carbohydrates tend to be malabsorbed in those with IBS (and even those without it, but the side-effects aren’t as bad for most people). The malabsorbed carbohydrates typically end up undigested in the colon, where gut bacteria happily ferment it and thus produce gas and bloating. Not fun.

What are some foods that contain FODMAPs and which those with IBS should avoid?

You will likely find hundreds of different food lists of “foods to avoid” on the internet, which could quite possibly lead to confusion (some people have told me this). The article in Today’s Dietitian, as well as the booklet you can order (see the right side of my blog) seem to be very consistent. I have stuck with these lists.

FODMAPs exist in some very commonly consumed foods, which is why many people with IBS have trouble figuring out the exact cause of their discomfort (I’ve heard this before, “everything I eat causes a problem!!”) .Here are some examples of problem foods;

Fruits: Apples, pears, peaches, mangoes, dried fruits

Vegetables: artichoke, asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onion, beetroot, chicory root (Inulin), beans and soy products (don’t want to give up your beans and soy? BEANO can help with these!)

Grains: Wheat, rye

Sweeteners: Sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, malitol, HFCS, agave, honey

Spices: Garlic (garlic is found in many, many foods, and unfortunately it tends to cause the most severe issues in those with IBS).

** Visit this link for a more complete list (scroll down all the way once you get to the site), or order one of the helpful booklets on the right side of my blog (Or check out my latest blog post for more helpful resources) **What are some foods that those with IBS canenjoy instead of some of their favorite fruits, veggies, grains, and dairy products?

Fruits: Blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, oranges, bananas

Vegetables (**Most of these can only be eaten in limited quantities**): Squash, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant (although eggplant does give me, personally, some problems…)

Grains/Starch: Quinoa, rice, oats, popcorn

Sweeteners:  Stevia, sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup

Spices: Cinnamon, pepper, salt, cumin

Please feel free to ask me any questions about my own journey adapting to the low FODMAPs approach to IBS management, or any other questions you might have! I’ll tell you upfront that it was very difficult at first, and still is (especially when I’m out to dinner or at a dinner party) but the difference it has made in my life makes it all worthwhile. The most difficult part about this diet (for me) has not been giving up wheat, but giving up onion and garlic. I just love onion and garlic! I now have to read all ingredient labels very carefully, as garlic and onion seem to appear in many sauces, specifically ALL spaghetti sauces (but alas, I’ve found one safe brand, and a couple great recipes for sauce)

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