What is a FODMAP?

The term FODMAP is an acronym used to describe a group of rapidly fermentable and osmotically active short-chain carbohydrates.

What does FODMAP stand for?

  • F-ermentable (meaning they are quickly broken down (i.e fermented) by bacteria in the large bowel)
  • O-ligosaccharides (fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) such as wheat, onion, garlic, beans)
  • D-isaccharides (lactose such as milk, ice cream)
  • M-onosaccharides (fructose such as apples, pears, honey)
  • *AND*
  • P-olyols (sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and mannitol (mushrooms, apricots, gum)

What role do FODMAPs play when it comes to IBS symptoms such as gas/bloating & diarrhea?

It is important to note that FODMAPs do not cause IBS, but may exacerbate symptoms in those that have it. Only those *diagnosed* with a GI disorder with a recommendation from their healthcare team should utilize the Low-FODMAP diet for symptom management.

FODMAPs can wreak havoc for those with both IBS (both IBS-C and IBS-D) since they pull water into the small intestine which can lead to both bloating in those with IBS-C or diarrhea in an individual with a fast moving intestine.

They are also fermented quickly in the gut, which can cause gas and leads to stretching in your intestine (i.e BLOAT) in those with a sensitive GI system.

How do you find out which FODMAPs you are sensitive to?

Australian researchers from Monash University created the dietary approach known as the Low FODMAP diet, which is a 3 phase nutritional approach.

The initial phase is the elimination diet, where all high FODMAP foods are eliminated. The initial phase typically lasts anywhere from 2-6 weeks depending on when relief of symptoms occur. If symptoms are not relieved then continuing the diet would not be recommended.

If symptoms are improved then it would be appropriate to move onto the next phase known as the re-introduction or challenge phase which involves a systematic reintroduction of FODMAP rich foods to help the IBS patient identify their personal triggers.

The last phase is the integration phase, when tolerated high FODMAP foods are added back to the everyday diet in accordance with the patient’s tolerance. 

Something very important to note is that the use of a low FODMAP diet is meant to be followed for a short period of time with an emphasis on the reintroduction phase.

In general, FODMAPs are part of a nutritious diet and healthy individuals should not fear these foods (AT ALL) and should continue to enjoy their benefits.

To be sure that you still meet your daily nutritional requirements, it is always important to work with a professional such as a Registered Dietitian before you eliminate or restrict everyday foods from your diet.

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*Disclaimer: Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider and/or Mental Health Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific health or any medications, herbs or supplements you are currently taking and before implementing any recommendations or suggestions from this Website. Please consult your nutritionist or physician before making any drastic changes to your diet.