Low-FODMAP Diet for GI Symptoms

FODMAP is an acronym for a group of carbohydrates that are fermented by the gut bacteria that are in your intestine. In a healthy gut environment, this is a good thing. But for a person who has digestive distress or bacterial overgrowth, it can lead to accelerated fermentation, which can cause bloating and other GI symptoms.

The acronym stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.

If you have bacterial overgrowth, foods high in FODMAPS can lead to rapid fermentation by bacteria in the colon, which produces gases such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. And that creates abdominal distention, abdominal pain, and uncomfortable flatulence.

These short-chain carbohydrates will tend to be poorly absorbed in your small intestine. If a person has small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which can contribute to irritable bowel (IBS) symptoms, the bacteria in the small intestine will ferment these carbohydrates and increase gas production. In those who do not have SIBO, these carbohydrates move on to and get absorbed in the colon, where they are fermented and can have an osmotic effect, creating an imbalance of water in your large intestine.

The most common symptoms that people have before they create a healthier gut microbiome are gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Because the symptoms vary so much, I suggest working with a dietitian or a health care practitioner who is able to identify whether FODMAPs might be an issue. You may have general IBS symptoms, but often a root cause of IBS is SIBO, bacterial overgrowth, food sensitivities, or a leaky gut. Temporarily moving to a low-FODMAP diet can be useful for some people who have IBS, SIBO (most accurately diagnosed with a breath test), and inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease.

The foods to avoid, which are generally going to be the highest in FODMAPs, would be vegetables like cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, Brussels sprouts because they can be a little difficult to digest. Fruits like apples, pears, peaches, watermelon, and dried fruits. The dairy category includes cow and goat milk and yogurt. Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans. Grains like wheat, rye, and barley. And then sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup.

What you can eat:

  1. Fruits like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, banana, rhubarb, lemons, limes, and oranges.

  2. Vegetables like arugula, dandelion greens, collard greens, bok choy, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach, and squash.

  3. Black, brown, and wild rice 

It's also important to mention that managing your stress levels are crucial to improving your gut health. The gut and the brain works together to create a healthy and prosperous body.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute as medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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