Though no one likes to talk about it, roughly 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from digestive problems and while doctors have trouble diagnosing exactly what’s causing the issue, there is one way to ease symptoms and relieve pain, called a “low-FODMAP diet.” Essentially this is a way of eliminating foods that may be the likely culprit, to see if symptoms clear up as the result of this diet change.
Digestive problems can be linked to food intolerances or allergies that may be near-impossible to detect by blood work or an allergy “scratch” test. That’s why more medical professionals are suggesting anyone with issues try the low-FODMAP diet as a natural way to alleviate symptoms, before adding back in food groups one by one, to figure out which food group is the worst offender. Following a low-FODMAP diet has been effective in “up to 86% of patients with IBS find improvement in overall gastrointestinal symptoms as well as individual symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal distention, and flatulence following the diet,” according to a study.
The low-FODMAP diet has been used by medical professionals in recent years to help patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is a catch-all phrase for anything that causes gastro distress, or Celiac Disease, which is an allergy to gluten, the protein that is found in wheat products.
FODMAP, which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, are naturally occurring sugar molecules in the fruits, vegetables, and legumes that the body has trouble digesting.
Foods that need to be eliminated on a low-FODMAP diet include:
- wheat and rye
- legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils)
- dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
- onion, garlic, shallot, leek
- broccoli and cauliflower
- High-fructose fruits
- honey and agave nectar
- sugar-free sweeteners in diet soda and gum
In order to not eliminate everything all at once (and have little plant-based foods to choose from), doctors suggest eliminating one FODMAP food group at a time, such as not eating fruit one day and then cutting out dairy the next, until your body tells you what it is that has been causing the bloat and gastric distress. Here is the list of FODMAP foods to eliminate:
High-FODMAP foods to eliminate, one at a time:
- Fruits like apple, clingstone peach, mango, nashi pear, pear, sugar snap pea, tinned fruit in natural juice, watermelon, apricot, avocado, cherry, prune, lychee, nectarine
- Dairy: regular and low-fat cow, goat, and sheep milk; ice cream, Yogurts: regular and low-fat yogurts, soft and fresh cheeses
- Vegetables: artichoke, asparagus, cauliflower, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, fennel, garlic, leek, okra, onions, peas, shallots, mushrooms, snow peas
- Cereals: rye and wheat cereals when eaten in large amounts (eg, biscuits, bread, couscous, crackers, and…