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Is a Low-FODMAP Diet Right For You?

By Kate Gardner

For most of us, digestive issues are sometimes unavoidable. But for many, they can be an ongoing battle that seriously limits quality of life. These people may have a variety of digestive problems, from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to Crohn's disease. Since digestive problems are often triggered by what we eat, there are a number of diets out there aimed to reduce symptoms. One of these diets goes by the funny name of FODMAP. 

FODMAPs

No, FODMAP isn't a sort of Muppet. According to Healthline.com, FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols. That's a mouthful, so it's no wonder they go by FODMAPs instead. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates. These carbs are: 

  • Fructose - This simple sugar is found in fruits and vegetables 
  • Lactose - This is the sugar found in milk and other dairy products 
  • Fructans - Fructans pop up in grains, like wheat 
  • Galactans - Galactans are carbohydrates found in legumes (beans) 
  • Polyols - These are the sugar alcohols, like xylitol, that are often used as sugar substitutes 

The problem with FODMAPs is that they can be hard to digest and cause a variety of digestive symptoms in those who are sensitive to them. 

Low-FODMAP Diet

A low-FODMAP diet might be able to help digestive symptoms, but it can be difficult to get started because high-FODMAP foods are everywhere. VeryWellHealth.com has several suggestions if you want to try a low-FODMAP diet. 

  • Get help - As with any specialized diet, help from a professional can make sure you're getting enough nutrients. 

  • Write it down - Keeping a record of what you've eaten and any symptoms can help you identify foods that bother you. 

  • Be prepared - When cutting out FODMAPs, an app or book that lists low-FODMAP food choices is a must. As well, low-FODMAP cookbooks can help you replace your old meals with diet appropriate versions. 

  • Cut it out - Once you're ready, stop eating all high-FODMAP foods. You'll be in this stage for a while (two weeks to two months) as you try to eliminate symptoms. 

  • Add it back in - Once you're in a good place, symptom-wise, you can start to add higher FODMAP foods back into your diet. Go slow and only add back one food at a time so that you can see if it causes your symptoms to return. 

Research

Research indicates that a low-FODMAP diet can be helpful in relieving digestive symptoms. This is especially true for patients who have been diagnosed with IBS. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think a low-FODMAP diet is something you'd like to try. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. 

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