The FODMAP diet is used to help alleviate gastro intestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. The diet was developed at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are all types of carbohydrate molecules that some people have trouble digesting and can cause the symptoms mentioned above. So high FODMAP foods are removed from the diet to see if they help alleviate these symptoms. What is almost counter intuitive though is that many of the offending foods, those high in FODMAPs, are healthy foods such as onions, garlic, asparagus, cauliflower and celery.
If symptoms are alleviated while on this diet the question becomes, why can’t these foods be digested and absorbed? One reason is the lack of enough good gut bacteria. So if you are following the FODMAP diet, it is also very important to improve your gut health as the ultimate goal is to be able to eat the high FODMAP foods with no distress. Many high FODMAP foods are prebiotic foods which are foods that feed our good gut bacteria. They are removed however to see if symptoms are alleviated. But there are many prebiotic foods that are allowed on the diet. While wheat is to be avoided, grains such as corn, brown rice and oats are allowed, as are potatoes and small amounts of corn. These contain resistant starch, an important prebiotic.
It is important to remember that the only reason to avoid these foods is to see if it helps you with symptoms. Follow the plan while working on your gut health. You may need to include specific supplements as well. When you feel better, try adding a food that you have been avoiding back in to your diet and see if it bothers you. If it doesn’t, then it does not need to be avoided any more. Continue in this manner with all of the foods that you have eliminated adding them back one at a time with several days in between.
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