What is FODMAP? It’s not a misspelling of “food” and has nothing to do with any map.
FODMAP is actually an acronym that represents different types of compounds in foods. When these compounds, or molecules, are reduced or eliminated from the diets of some individuals, symptoms of several digestion-related disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome may improve or disappear.
The acronym FODMAP stands for:
This collection of compounds — the FODMAPs — are what are known as short-chain carbohydrates. Some people have a hard time digesting these short-chain carbohydrate compounds.
If you or someone in your family has a hard time digesting these compounds, they can ferment in your lower large intestine (your bowel). The fermentation process pulls in water from your lower gastrointestinal tract (lower GI tract) and produces gasses such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. All this can cause your intestine to stretch and expand.
As you can guess, this stretching will cause a lot of discomfort in the lower GI tract.
People who have periodic or regular lower GI discomfort might benefit from a low FODMAP diet. This type of diet reduces the compounds that can ferment in your system and create that uncomfortable gas build up.
Conditions that a low FODMAP diet may be helpful controlling include:
Before trying a low FODMAP diet, check with a registered dietitian or your health care provider. There may be other reasons for lower GI discomfort, such as celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, a poorly balanced diet, excessive stress or inadequate fiber, fluids or exercise.
A dietitian or health care professional may have another treatment option that could address your issues.
To determine if a low FODMAP diet is the right treatment, you may be asked to keep a food diary and track:
With this information, you and your provider can start to narrow down the foods that may be a problem for you and steps you can take to further reduce any lower GI issues.
With a low FODMAP diet, you’ll want to cut back or stop eating these high FODMAP foods:
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