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The FODMAP Diet: Does it Help with Losing Weight?


A FODMAP is a short-chain carbohydrate that can cause irritation in the digestive system for some people. This irritation can range from mild to severe, making it extremely difficult to maintain a normal, everyday life. The most common medical condition associated with FODMAPs is irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.

What Does FODMAP Stand For?

FODMAPs are the substances found in food that people are often sensitive to. These are found in differing quantities in a myriad of foods, making it necessary to follow an elimination diet to determine which part of the food may trigger symptoms. Not every person is sensitive to every part of the FODMAP spectrum.

F stands for fermentable, which is how the carbohydrates in foods are broken down by the bacteria found in the large bowel. These bacteria are necessary, which is why you may experience intestinal upset when they are out of balance. Fermentation causes gas to develop in the bowel and, in turn, may cause severe pain due to abnormal movement of the smooth muscle of the bowel.

The fermentation process occurs with all foods being broken down by the large intestine. Still, certain carbohydrates are not digested as easily as others, leading to the symptoms of conditions like IBS. Many FODMAP diet charts show which carbohydrate appears in what type of food.

The O stands for Oligosaccharides or sugar-chains made of individual sugars, which includes grains that contain gluten such as wheat, rye, and barley. These substances are not easily broken down by the body and remain to cause gas and bloating in the intestinal tract.

Another carbohydrate to eliminate is disaccharides, a double sugar molecule found in the natural sugars of milk and dairy products and the D in FODMAP. This is also called lactose. Many people with intestinal issues are sensitive to lactose, but only in certain forms and may not need to eliminate dairy from their diet.

The sugar found in many fruits and honey is called a monosaccharide, a single sugar molecule, and the M. Many people who have problems with this FODMAP carbohydrate may also have issues with glucose since many symptoms arise when fructose is available in a more considerable amount than glucose.

Polyols, or sugar alcohols, are the final small carbohydrate that causes abdominal distress symptoms and the last letter P in FODMAP. These substances are found in stone fruits but are also in many artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol. They do not impact blood sugar, but they are poorly digested in the intestinal tract, leading to symptoms.

If you find you need to follow a FODMAP diet for symptoms relief, you can still use Noom to start your weight-loss journey. It’s all about learning how to live a lighter life and that’s what Noom teaches.

Short Chain Carbs and the Bowel

Short-chain carbohydrates can vary in the body’s ability to process them properly. Since they are small molecules, they bring water into the intestinal tract by way of osmosis. This can cause the symptom of diarrhea as the bowel has too much water.

These molecules are also easily fermented by the body’s natural bacteria. A by-product is gas, and most people experience temporary flatulence. However, in some people with abnormal bowel processing, this gas is not adequately moved along the tract and causes a painful buildup of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane gas. This causes distension of the abdominal area and even pain as the intestinal walls are stretched.

What is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)?

Irritable bowel syndrome is when a person suffers from a series of symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and severe abdominal pain. Since it is a collection of different symptoms, it is considered a syndrome rather than a disease like ulcerative colitis. It appears to be unrelated to any one kind of food, though it can mimic some food sensitivity symptoms. It may also be called spastic colon since that is one of the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

IBS is painful and chronic and is usually accompanied by either constipation or diarrhea, which does not respond to typical treatments. Sometimes people can find themselves moving between both constipation and diarrhea. The diagnosis of this condition is made difficult by the variability of intermittent symptom severity. This condition can last for years, or a person may have it their entire life.

It is not known what causes this condition, so there isn’t any one kind of diet that will alleviate the symptoms. Symptom relief can be facilitated by adopting dietary restrictions to eliminate what foods may set off the condition.

What is the FODMAP Diet?

Before beginning the FODMAP diet, it is highly recommended that you talk with a dietician who is well versed in the process. This ensures that you continue to get the necessary vitamins and minerals from the allowed foods, or you are directed to supplements that can replace them until certain foods are added back into your diet.

What is the FODMAP diet used for? It is stressed that this diet is not necessarily a diet for life but should be followed as long as IBS symptoms are managed, and quality of life is not impacted by adding certain foods back into your daily routine.

The diet consists of three phases, which last between two and six weeks, depending on how long it takes to determine precisely which kind of FODMAP you are most sensitive to. The first phase is the most restrictive, where most foods are eliminated, and only low FODMAP alternatives are allowed.

Phase 2 begins the reintroduction of foods, one FODMAP category at a time, to ensure that symptoms remain under control and determine exactly which part of the MAPs diet spectrum you respond/react to. This is done under the care of a dietician as well. It is recommended to keep a diary in which food is recorded to examine for sensitivities and other outside influences such as monthly cycles and stress, which also affect digestive health. This phase can be a six to eight-week process as challenges are introduced for different foods to determine how a person responds. This will help in the formation of a FODMAP diet sheet and of IBS food list.

The final phase is when the dietician examines reactions. Foods that were poorly tolerated are again challenged to determine the level of elimination. This phase allows more variety in the diet since only the foods and FODMAPs that are triggers should be eliminated. This can also lead to a rotation diet in which trigger foods are not eliminated, but can be brought back in and out of a diet as long as symptoms remain under control.

Who Would Benefit From the FODMAP Diet?

Many intestinal disorders occur that are not necessarily a disease or syndrome but may benefit from this elimination diet.

  • IBS
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO
  • Auto-immune conditions/diseases
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Frequent migraines that seem to be triggered after certain foods
  • IBD

Health professionals have noticed links between the consumption of carbohydrates and many different kinds of health issues. This diet can be especially helpful in discovering exactly which foods and in what quantity trigger undesired symptoms.

Suffering from many of the symptoms of GI disorders can cause people to radically change their diet and restrict foods in ways that cause them to either lose weight precipitously or make it difficult for them to gain weight. Eliminating and re-introducing these small carbohydrates can benefit people who suffer from foods that trigger symptoms, whether it be a physical reaction or the emotional distress that may cause a turn to food for comfort.

Since the FODMAP diet helps people eliminate trigger foods, it can also help those with Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and SIBO or small intestine bacteria overgrowth. The first phase will allow the intestinal tract to heal before beginning to slowly reintroduce foods and discover which food may cause a return of undesirable symptoms. This diet is not a cure for any disease but can be used in conjunction with pharmaceutical treatments to have fewer symptoms or lessening of severity in symptoms.

Did you know you can follow the FODMAP diet on Noom? Your personal coach will help you work through dietary concerns of all kinds throughout your journey.

List of FODMAP Foods by Letter

It is impossible to avoid FODMAPs altogether, even when using the diet with a dietician’s guidance, but you can avoid those high in FODMAPs and exchange for lower concentrations as you begin to reintroduce foods into your diet.

Oligosaccharides: Grains and beans, wheat, rye, legumes, vegetables like artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts, cabbage, fennel, garlic, onion, peas, and fruits like persimmon and watermelon.

Disaccharides: Lactose foods: regular and low-fat milk, yogurt, and soft cheeses.

Monosaccharides: Fruits like apple, clingstone peach, mango, nashi pear, pear, sugar snap pea, tinned fruit in natural juice, watermelon, honey, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, large amounts of fructose like that in large servings of dried fruit and fruit juice.

Polyols: Fruits like apple, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, prune, watermelon, blackberries, lychee, vegetables like cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas, sweeteners like maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol and artificial sweeteners ending in “-ol.”

Portion size on this diet is also essential, as the more you eat, the more you’ll consume high amounts of FODMAPs. So even over-consumption of foods on a low FODMAP diet list can result in symptoms. Noting how much of each food you eat will help determine triggers.

List of Low FODMAP Foods

Fruits

When consuming fruits, check if they are part of the IBS food list since different fruits contain different fructose amounts. When making meals from FODMAP diet recipes, be sure to choose approved foods on an IBS food list.

  • Bananas, unripe
  • Honeydew
  • Cranberry
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Clementine
  • Dragon fruit
  • Lingonberries
  • Guava, ripe
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemon and lime, including juice
  • Orange
  • Passion fruit
  • Pawpaw
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Plantain, peeled
  • Raspberry
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberry

Vegetables

  • Carrots
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bean sprouts
  • Broccoli, whole
  • Cabbage, common and red
  • Celery
  • Chickpeas
  • Chives
  • Choy sum
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant/aubergine
  • Fennel
  • Green beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Butternut squash
  • Ginger
  • Alfalfa
  • Kale
  • Sweet potato
  • Lentils
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Parsnip
  • Snow Peas
  • Pickled gherkins
  • Zucchini
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Scallions
  • Seaweed
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Spinach, baby
  • Squash
  • Sun-dried tomatoes – 4 pieces
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Water chestnuts
  • Yam

Meats

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Deli meat
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • Processed meat
  • Canned tuna
  • Fresh fish
  • Seafood

Starches

  • Crackers, plain
  • Wheat-free bread and pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Gluten-free bread and pasta
  • Bulgur
  • Buckwheat
  • Chips, plain / potato crisps, plain
  • Corn flour
  • Cornflakes
  • Coconut – milk, cream, flesh
  • Tortillas
  • Oats
  • Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
  • Polenta
  • Popcorn
  • Potato flour
  • Pretzels
  • Rice and rice cereals
  • Seeds:
  • Starch, maize, potato, and tapioca
  • Sorghum
  • corn chips

List of High FODMAP Foods

Fruits

  • Grapefruit
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Plums
  • Avocado
  • Blackberries
  • Boysenberry
  • Custard apple
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Goji berries
  • Mango
  • Persimmon
  • Nectarines
  • Pawpaw, dried
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Tamarillo
  • Watermelon

Vegetables

  • Garlic – avoid entirely if possible
  • Onions – avoid entirely if possible
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Baked beans
  • Ripe bananas
  • Legumes
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Fermented cabbage
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Mung beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Sugar Snap peas
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Red kidney beans
  • Soybeans/soya beans
  • Split peas
  • Scallions, white part

Meats

Starches

  • Wheat containing products (be sure to check labels)
  • Almond meal
  • Amaranth flour
  • Barley
  • Bran cereals
  • Bread made with wheat, barley, or rye
  • Cashews
  • Couscous
  • Einkorn flour
  • Freekeh
  • Gnocchi
  • Granola bar
  • Muesli cereal
  • Pistachios
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt flour

FODMAP Diet Recipes

As with any diet, it seems like everything in the grocery store is full of the very things you can’t eat. However, there are many alternatives to favorite meals using gluten-free flours, lactose-free milk, and fructose-free foods. With some research and planning, following this elimination diet does not have to be overly tricky.

Feel free to adapt the following recipes to fit into your weight-loss plan. On Noom, you don’t have to eliminate any foods, you just learn what foods are better and how much you should be eating – and that’s just the start.

Low FODMAP Recipes

Here are six recipes to get started with that follow the low-FODMAP approach.

Breakfast Options

Blueberry Pancakes

Preparation – 5 minutes

Cooking/Baking Time – 15 minutes

Ingredients to Shop For:

  • 1 cup gluten-free pancake mix
  • ¾ cup of lactose-free milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup natural, fresh blueberries
  • Canola oil

Steps to Prepare:

  • Break open and mix the egg first in a mixing bowl so that the yolk is completely broken.
  • Add in ¼ cup of lactose-free milk and keep mixing.
  • Slowly incorporate the pancake mix, add in more milk if needed.
  • Add the vanilla and blueberries.
  • Heat a large skillet with plenty of room to make multiple pancakes.
  • Add a small amount of canola oil to coat the skillet.
  • Once hot, pour in the pancake mix in three or four spots on the skillet with a ladle.
  • Fry the pancakes on one side until firm and crisp, then flip and cook the other side.
  • Serve with natural maple syrup and natural butter.

Breakfast Bake

Preparation – 20 minutes

Cooking/Baking Time – 45 minutes

Ingredients to Shop For:

  • 2 lbs ground beef, pork, turkey, or sausage
  • 3 cups grated potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup gluten-free pancake mix
  • 2 cups lactose-free milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic-flavored olive oil
  • Canola oil or cooking spray
  • Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste

Steps to Prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
  • Heat garlic-flavored olive oil over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Brown meat in a skillet, then drain and scrape into the baking pan.
  • Add the potatoes and one-half of the cheese. Mix it all up.
  • Take a second mixing bowl, put in the eggs, milk, pancake mix, and the condiments. Mix it all together thoroughly.
  • Pour the mix over the meat and potatoes in the baking pan.
  • Put the pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Pull the pan out, sprinkle on the remaining cheese, and bake for another two to three minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes. Then serve and enjoy.

Lunch Recipes

A Lime & Tilapia Dish

Preparation – 15 minutes

Cooking/Baking Time – 1 hour and 30 minutes

Ingredients to Shop For:

  • 1 lb tilapia fish fillets
  • 1 potato, sliced into thin strips
  • ½  cup carrots
  • ½  cup zucchini
  • ½  cup lime juice
  • ¼  cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic-flavored olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • One tablespoon of natural maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning (check the ingredients to avoid FODMAP)
  • Lime wedges
  • Canola oil or cooking spray for baking

Steps to Prepare:

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Grease a baking sheet with oil or spray.
  • Mix the olive oil, water, lime juice, maple syrup, cilantro, taco seasoning in a mixing bowl.
  • Put the tilapia in the bowl with the mix and make sure it’s completely covered; leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Slice up the vegetables into strips.
  • Place the potatoes on the greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the potatoes from the oven, add the vegetables and fish fillets.
  • Drizzle the garlic oil on top, add salt and pepper as desired, then put it back in the oven.
  • Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the fish are flaky.
  • Remove and serve the dish with cilantro and wedges of lime for additional flavor.

Orange Chicken and White Rice

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients to Shop For:

  • 1 ½ lbs cubed chicken thigh or breast meat (tofu or soy as a meat substitute will do).
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cornstarch or potato starch
  • Canola oil
  • Chives
  • FODMAP diet-safe bottled orange sauce

Steps to Prepare:

  • Mix eggs, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
  • Add one cup of cornstarch to a separate bowl.
  • Put the Canola oil in a frying pot, wok, or deep-fryer. Heat it to 375 degrees, do not overheat or it will splash.
  • Dip the chicken chunks in the egg mix, then the starch powder, and then fry them for about 4 minutes. Put the cooked pieces on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
  • Repeat this process until all the cubed chicken or meat alternative is done.
  • Put the cooked meat aside. Heat the Orange Sauce. Add in the fried chicken parts and coat them well.
  • Serve on a plate with cooked rice and enjoy.

Dinner

Crockpot Beef Stew

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 to 8 hours, depending on crockpot setting

Ingredients to Shop For:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs pot roast meat, cut them into inch-size cubes.
  • One tablespoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • One lb red potatoes, quartered
  • 4 carrots, cut into slices
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • One tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • One teaspoon thyme
  • One teaspoon rosemary
  • One teaspoon paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼  cup low FODMAP flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Steps to Prepare:

  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet.
  • Add the meat with a mix of salt and pepper and brown it.
  • Put the meat, potatoes, and carrots in the crockpot first.
  • Add in the broth next, then the tomato paste, Worcestershire Sauce, season ingredients, and bay leaves.
  • Cook for 6 to 8 hours on low heat.
  • When ready, serve, and enjoy.

Low FODMAP Burgers

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes on a grille,

Ingredients to Shop For:

  • One lb of ground beef or turkey sausage
  • Wax paper squares
  • One onion
  • One head of lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes
  • One jar of pickles
  • ½ lb of swiss or cheddar cheese
  • Whole grain hamburger buns (do not get processed bread loaded in sugar)
  • Rolling pin or heavy weighted item
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Your choice of seasoning

Steps to Prepare:

  • Take the ground meat or sausage and put it in a mixing bowl.
  • Mix in the seasoning, salt, and pepper as you desire.
  • Take out a clump of meat and roll it into a ball, about the size of half a tennis ball.
  • Place it on a wax paper sheet, and put another wax paper sheet on top.
  • Use the rolling pin to flatten the ball into a patty.
  • Place the patty with the paper on a plate. Repeat until all of the meat mixture is used up.
  • Slice up the onion, place them on another plate. Do the same for the tomatoes and lettuce. Cover with saran wrap and put aside.
  • Warm up the grill. When hot, place the patties on the grill.
  • Grill until desired doneness. Times will vary based on grill heat, patty thickness, and other factors.
  • Place patties on the hamburger buns. Turn off the grill.
  • Take out the vegetables and serve, letting folks add their toppings as desired. Enjoy.

The FODMAP Diet and Dining Out

Going out to eat in restaurants is one of the more daunting aspects when following a diet, especially one as restrictive as the FODMAP diet can be. There is no way to tell what is going into soups or sauces, or what is being used to season and marinate meat. There are ways you can make it a more enjoyable experience, and you may find that restaurants already have many of these options available.

The first step is either ignoring the ubiquitous bread basket or asking for gluten-free bread. Bread made from other grains such as oat would be acceptable too. This includes any buns that may come with your meal. Letting your server know that you prefer gluten-free choices will eliminate quite a bit of confusion later on.

If you choose anything, including dairy, look for lactose-free options. This includes sauces and yogurts. Don’t forget the creamer in coffee as well, especially if you are particularly sensitive to lactose.

Choose to top your salad with olive oil-based dressing and nuts for protein. This eliminates any chance of a full dairy dressing. Meats seasoned with herbs and lemon juice can be flavorful without a need for breading made from gluten-laden breadcrumbs. Plain meat, fish, egg, or tofu as a topping or entree is also a way to assure a low FODMAP meal.

Low FODMAP vegetables as a large side could be a way to round out a meal. Almost every restaurant offers some kind of vegetable side. Ask for the vegetables to be roasted, steamed, or grilled rather than in a sauce or soup.

If you’re stuck with no choice but fast food, then go for the small order of fries to limit the amount of FODMAPs in your meal. Getting rid of the bun and enjoying just a burger without cheese when eating at a chain restaurant is also an option.

Having trouble making dietary decisions? When you lose weight with Noom, your personal coach is there to work with you to ensure your success.

Sample FODMAP Diet Shopping List

Many foods are naturally low in FODMAP. Formulating a diet list can be as simple as choosing several foods from each category. Searching online for FODMAP recipes or even low-carb high-fat diet recipes can also help so you don’t feel overwhelmed when looking at the IBS diet food list.

Here is a simple shopping list to get you started.

Proteins

Proteins are FODMAP low diet foods and are essential to a balanced diet. You can eat a variety of meats, red and white, as well as soy plant proteins. Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, lamb, tofu, and seafood work with this plan.

Whole Grains

When putting whole grains on your IBS diet list, be sure to follow guidelines for servings. Some people find they can only tolerate a small amount of oats and oat products. Brown rice, corn flour products, oats, and quinoa will fit into your diet.

Fruit

Not all fruits are acceptable on a low FODMAP diet as some fruits contain more fructose than others. Bananas, blueberries, kiwi, limes, mandarins, oranges, papaya, pineapple, rhubarb, and strawberries are good options.

Vegetables

Vegetables are an essential part of the IBS diet list since they contain the fiber needed for healthy bowel movements. Bean sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, choy sum, eggplant, kale, tomatoes, spinach, and zucchini are a few to consider.

Nuts and seeds

Though nuts and seeds are an excellent source of healthy fats, it can be easy to overeat since they are small. Keep serving sizes in mind when eating almonds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts, linseeds, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds.

Dairy

This can be a very limited category on a FODMAP diet menu since lactose is one of the sugars which can cause gastric distress. Cheddar cheese, lactose-free milk, and parmesan cheese are the best options outside of products that are specifically lactose free.

Oils

Limit oils just as you would on a regular diet. Coconut oil can be found in many low-carb high-fat diet recipes, as can olive oil.

Beverages

Water is always the best choice, but weak teas can be added to your FODMAP diet menu if you want some flavor. Black tea, coffee, green tea, peppermint tea, water, and white tea are good choices.

Condiments

Many herbs and spices are appropriate for cooking FODMAP recipes. Basil, chili, ginger, mustard, pepper, salt, white rice vinegar, and wasabi powder are a few.

As always, be sure to check the labels on any packaging to make sure that there haven’t been any added FODMAPs, including sugar substitutes.

Other Ingredients to Look For

You also want to watch out for natural sugars along the way. DMAPS

Fructose is generally the natural sugar found in fruits and vegetables, such as:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Mangoes
  • Watermelon
  • Pears

Lactose is the sugar found in milk and subsequently milk products, such as:

  • Milk (whole and low fat)
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream

You may also find lactose in products that are made with milk like bread and cake. Tolerance to levels of lactose will vary from person to person.

Fructans are a type of fiber found in certain grains, fruits, and vegetables. Our bodies do not tolerate large amounts of this fiber well and may have issues that resemble gluten intolerance. Examples include:

  • Onions
  • Artichokes
  • Garlic
  • Scallions
  • Ripe bananas
  • Wheat, rye, and barley products

Galactans are related to fructose and are a type of sugar found in certain fruits and vegetables such as:

  • Legumes
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Green beans
  • Soy products

Polyols

This is another name for the artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, which end in –ol. They can be found naturally in some fruits, but the largest doses tend to occur in foods that use them to reduce sugar content. These are popular because they have minimal impact on blood sugar, but our bodies do not digest them well.

  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Xylitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Mannitol
  • Isomalt
  • Erythritol

FODMAP Diet Tips and Tricks

As with any diet, whether it is low sodium, fat, or FODMAP, reading food labels is the best way to understand what is in your food. It also means that you have to be aware of how different substances are marketed using other names, so you will have to be familiar with the way FODMAPS are represented on labels.

For example, if you are particularly sensitive to fructans, identifying wheat products may be more difficult because of the many names that they go by. Anything that may be malted could contain rye. Triticale is a hybrid mix between wheat and rye. Gluten does not cause symptoms on the FODMAP diet for IBS, but since many gluten products also have fructans, it may be easier to avoid if you look for gluten as well.

Look for the most common FODMAPs used in preparing foods. This includes onion and garlic foods since they are used heavily to add flavor to soups and sauces. These are two very common ingredients that may cause reactions, even if the other ingredients are considered low FODMAP.

Not everyone has the same sensitivity to the same FOD diet category, so an elimination diet is necessary. Some people can tolerate foods in larger quantities than others, which is why attention to portion size is equally important when re-introducing the foods back into the diet.

Many people find that they may have a fructans intolerance that can be ameliorated by reducing the amount of bread they consume but tolerate fructose and lactose with no issues. It is the purpose of an elimination diet to determine which foods are the exact cause of the symptoms to reduce diet restrictions.

Reducing portion sizes can be a step to take, as well. Foods like bread are not necessarily a high FODMAP, but it can add up if you consume a lot of bread. The same can be said for fruits. Keeping it to one portion per meal can undoubtedly reduce the number of FODMAPs being eaten.

If unsure, avoiding pre-packed, highly processed foods is the best way to know exactly what you are putting into your body. Depending on how food is processed and in what capacity it is used, it may be hidden on a label by another name and still cause symptomatic issues after consumption.

This diet is meant to be temporary, allowing people to add foods back once it is shown that they can tolerate it. This includes foods in different portion sizes. Finding a balance between the restriction of some high FODMAPS and reintroducing them is the primary goal.

How Long Can You Follow the FODMAP Diet?

This diet was developed in response to a need to treat chronic gastrointestinal symptoms, not just irritable bowel syndrome. People experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation at some point in their lives. Many researchers are trying to find the connection between diet and these symptoms, impacting a person’s quality of life.

The low FODMAP diet is intentionally short-term since the level of restriction required can be a hardship physically and mentally. There are very few approved foods in the first phase of the diet when a person is limited to only low FODMAP foods. The intent is to move through phases and add foods to develop a diet that is least restrictive and yet still helps you remain symptom-free.

The elimination phase can be two to six weeks as you remove all high FODMAP foods from your diet. The second phase is the reintroduction phase, where you begin to add back foods one FODMAP type at a time. This is where keeping a food diary is incredibly important. Not only can you discover exactly which foods you can tolerate, but also in which amounts are still within acceptable limits. A general rule to follow can be if the food is tolerated for three or more days, it may be safe.

This diet is different for everyone, so the re-introduction phase should last for several weeks as you work to discover which foods cause a recurrence of symptoms. By the end of this phase, you should have developed the least restrictive diet possible.

Vegans, Vegetarians, and the FODMAP Diet

Suppose you choose to follow the FODMAP diet to relieve digestive symptoms. In that case, this can be made doubly challenging if you are also following a vegetarian or vegan diet, as many of your sources of vegetable proteins are not allowed until you have determined your tolerance to them. Legumes are on the list of high FOD foods, and it may take research on your part to find a replacement until legumes are re-introduced in phase 2. Even some soy products are high in FODMAPs.

Pescatarians and ovo-vegetarians shouldn’t have an issue as long as they make their fish and egg dishes with foods from the IBS safe foods list. Following the FODMAP diet, vegans may have a more significant challenge as many protein powders may not be acceptable since they are made from dairy products. However, a growing number of protein powders use different protein sources and can be used to supplement a vegetarian or vegan as they begin the diet’s elimination process.

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Is There a FODMAP Test?

Just like there is no set test for digestive disorders, there is no set test that can tell you if you will require a FODMAP diet. However, there is testing to see if a person may have trouble digesting specific categories within the FODMAP spectrum.

Hydrogen testing has been used to detect bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine as many of the symptoms of this disorder are similar to those of irritable bowel syndrome. These tests detect the amount of hydrogen or methane on your breath after eating a particular food. Your breath is not usually composed of much of either gas, so a detectable presence may indicate that someone is experiencing poor absorption of that specific substance within their digestive system.

Like many tests, these tests can have false positives and false negatives. Still, they can also help cut down the time that a person might otherwise suffer from symptoms while trying to uncover if they suffer from low absorption of substances like fructose, lactose, and sorbitol.

Alternatives to the FODMAP Diet

As an IBS diet, the FODMAP diet does not have a 100% success rate for everyone who tries it. Many will have a reduction in symptoms but may want to explore other avenues to combine with diet. Two alternative therapies are hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, which may help with the other physical symptoms that trigger or exacerbate gastrointestinal distress symptoms such as pain perception and anxiety.

Hypnotherapy has become a popular alternative therapy. Research has shown that practicing relaxation and the picturing of soothing images when presented with primary symptoms can help improve overall reduction in specific symptoms and improve mood. This effect may last for up to five years, even after discontinuing the hypnotherapy sessions.

Cognitive behavior therapy involves educating the person on precisely what IBS entails, such as the relationship between stress and the body, and dispelling myths about the syndrome and what a FODMAP diet is used for. This is followed by breathing techniques to alleviate stress and anxiety caused by maladaptive thinking. Making a person aware of how they handle situations and their reactions can reduce digestive distress symptoms.

FODMAP Diet And:

When looking at a diet to control gastrointestinal symptoms, many people ask what is the FODMAP diet used for? There is a varied range of symptoms associated with GI disorders, and how would a low FODMAP diet benefit someone?

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a symptom that is common with many illnesses and gastrointestinal disorders and certain medications. This is when water is not drawn out of the digested food and is passed too quickly through the intestinal tract. It can also be caused when certain FODMAPs are not digested properly by the body, and too much water is drawn into the intestine. This symptom can be alleviated when FODMAPs are reduced since the body ferments less of the substances.

Even without a disorder diagnosis, people who suffer from frequent diarrhea may benefit from the FODMAP diet for IBS. It helps to manage dietary factors that lead to intestinal issues.

IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of symptoms that may affect up to 12% of people in the United States. These symptoms seem to cluster within the digestive system primarily and are not definitively caused by any one trigger. This leads to a perceived lower quality of life since symptoms can cause work interruptions and severe dietary restrictions.

The severity of the symptoms can be variable, ranging from severe pain to mild constipation and diarrhea. It is this variable severity that makes it hard to diagnose and why treatment options are limited.

The FODMAPs found in food are not easily digested by the body and can travel into the intestinal system undigested. Coupled with IBS’s already abnormal reactions and the food begins the fermentation process with no means of moving out of the body in an appropriate time frame. Adopting an elimination diet like the FODMAP diet can help ease symptoms by first allowing the digestive system to heal from years of inflammation and then systematically removing foods that were not digested properly by the body.

Unfortunately, a percentage of people with IBS won’t benefit from this diet, even when using a low FODMAP diet list. Its cause appears to be systemic in the intestinal system and is not caused by the FODMAPs themselves.

Using probiotics usually helps ease symptoms by balancing and improving gut health, noticeably the necessary flora required for digestion. This flora is affected by diarrhea or medications that are consumed to alleviate other symptoms. Probiotics may keep a bacterial population, which can then continue to aid in digestion despite the signs.

Some people may experience weight loss when using probiotics and eliminating high FODMAP foods. This may be because food is more easily digested, allowing the body to use the calories more efficiently and allowing for less food to be required for functioning. Many low FODMAP recipes use a variety of whole foods rather than processed or prepackaged meals.

Bloating, Gas, Pain

Fermentation is one of the processes which occur in the intestines, especially with grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. By-products of this process are carbon dioxide and methane. This leads to bloating, which is generally relieved as the intestines work to move food along through the digestive process.

However, in people with IBS and other bowel issues, this process is abnormal, allowing food to remain in the tract and prolonging the fermentation process. There is noticeable bloating with the buildup of gas, often reports of pain as the intestines’ tissues are stretched, and the gas is not appropriately moved through the body.

There are also external facts which may trigger FODMAP sensitivity within the body:

Stress and Anxiety

Studies have shown that many people suffer episodes of IBS symptoms around particularly stressful or anxiety-inducing events. The exact relationship is unknown but should be considered when implementing dietary and lifestyle changes to alleviate symptoms. The FOD diet may ease these symptoms, especially if they are a direct result of the difference in the quality of life caused by unmanaged symptoms.

Antibiotics

This is likely because antibiotics kill all the bacteria in the body, including the beneficial flora required for digestion and maintaining a healthy gut. This will leave the body open to undigested FODMAPs in the gut and an occurrence of symptoms. This may be alleviated by using probiotics to replace what is eliminated by the medication.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants alter the chemistry of the brain, which may affect the intestinal tract’s motility. As an external medication, this may induce FODMAP sensitivity or alleviate the reactions by calming over-sensitive tissues. There have been some positive effects on the symptoms of IBS when beginning antidepressants to manage stress and anxiety.

Menstrual pain

Many women have issues with gas, bloating, constipation, and menstrual pain during their monthly cycle. For those with IBS, increased FODMAP sensitivity may be associated with the change in hormones, which affects more than just the menstrual cycle. If you already experience sensitivity in the colon, this can be exacerbated by the change in hormone levels during the monthly cycle. There are also reports of increased pain from women who suffer from dysmenorrhea.

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Studies on the FODMAP Diet

An International Survey Of Patients With IBS: Symptom Features And Their Severity, Health Status, Treatments, And Risk Taking To Achieve Clinical Benefit.

Due to the often debilitating nature of digestive disorders like IBS, people often find their quality of life is dramatically reduced. This survey analyzed occurrences of depression and what people would be willing to sacrifice to be pain and symptom-free. Up to 25% said they would give up part of their lives, and many would be willing to risk a 1/400 chance of death to ease symptoms.

Does A Diet Low In Fodmaps Reduce Symptoms Associated With Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders? A Comprehensive Systematic Review And Meta-analysis.

Looking at other studies, there was a positive relationship between following an IBS diet of reducing FODMAPs and symptom relief. Many people with IBS saw a dramatic reduction in symptoms of digestive stress. Four core studies showed if you follow a low FODMAP diet, odds of improving stomach pain and bloating are up to 75%.

Fermentable Carbohydrate Restriction Reduces Luminal Bifidobacteria And Gastrointestinal Symptoms In Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The study intended to determine if a diet low in short-chain carbohydrates would affect the intestinal tract’s bacteria population. Though the researchers did not find a satisfactory conclusion, they did discover that 68% of participants found that the diet helped manage the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Logical Hypothesis: Low Fodmap Diet To Prevent Diverticulitis

Since the exact causes of the formation of diverticula in the bowels are unknown, it had been concluded that a high fiber diet to keep the bowels moving would best benefit those with diverticulitis. In recent studies, however, it is shown that a low FODMAP diet would improve stool consistency and movement and cause less gas from fermentation, thus reducing the pressure placed on the large intestine and improving bowel movements. The conclusion is that this should help prevent the formation of further diverticula.

A Diet Low In Fodmaps Reduces Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A clinical trial in 2014 by Monash University assigned 30 people a random diet of either typical daily fare or a controlled FODMAP diet for 21 days. The participants with IBS found their overall symptoms to be reduced compared to those on a regular diet. All subtypes, such as those with either constipation or diarrhea, had improved stool consistency and altered frequency. This study shows that the low FODMAP diet could be beneficial for those suffering from the condition.

Fructan, Rather Than Gluten, Induces Symptoms in Patients With Self-Reported Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

Monash University testing shows most gluten-free products tend to have reduced amounts of fructans and oligosaccharides since fructans are sugar-chains found in grains. This study shows that it is not gluten, a carbohydrate, but fructan, which causes IBS symptoms. Eating a diet with gluten-free foods will help eliminate the sugar-chain fructan from the diet, but that does not mean a person has a gluten-related disorder.

Research on Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Intestinal Symptoms

Probiotics are live bacteria, and yeasts that can help maintain gut balance since many of the bacteria already present in your body are overwhelmed by the food sensitivities it is dealing with. Sometimes the beneficial gut bacteria have been decimated by chronic gastrointestinal symptoms or the use of antibiotics to fight other illnesses.

Natural probiotics, including yogurts, are an excellent addition to a low FODMAP diet, as they contain the live yeast culture acidophilus. Some fermented foods such as kefir yogurt, sauerkraut, and quark may be helpful as well, but some people cannot tolerate fermented foods, even in small doses. And if you discover that you have an intolerance to lactose sugars, you may not be able to tolerate yogurt.

Probiotic supplements may help in this regard. Research has shown that probiotics may be a viable therapy for reducing digestive stress and promoting a healthy gut and gut bacteria balance. These supplements vary in the amount of live cultures per dose, and some even require refrigeration to keep the cultures viable.

Keep in mind there may be side effects if the dosage is too high. It can cause the same symptoms of digestive distress they are being taken to prevent or reduce. Still, it is reported that this is the body finding a gut balance with the influx of beneficial bacteria. The symptoms should be short-term and end around 14 days after starting the product. You could also lower the dosage to find a tolerable level between where symptoms are reduced, and side effects do not occur.

For those looking to eat healthier, it is crucial to learn about prebiotics, probiotics, FODMAPs, and IBS. Here are a few studies that highlight the science:

Meta-analysis of probiotics for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

Published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology back in 2008, one study took a closer look at the current science on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is a condition that does not have a cure, so the treatments are focused on reducing symptoms. The researchers found that probiotics were very effective at reducing IBS symptoms (such as cramps, constipation, and diarrhea) compared to people who only took a placebo. Therefore, probiotics may be an effective treatment option for those who suffer from IBS.

The Role of Bacteria, Probiotics, and Diet in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Another study published in Foods took a look at the role of bacteria, probiotics, and diet on IBS. The goal of the researchers was to explore the mechanistic role that bacteria play in IBS. Ultimately, there are both positive and negative bacteria. The purpose of probiotic treatment is to reduce the negative bacteria while rebuilding the gut’s intestinal lining’s healthy microflora.

Effects of Prebiotics vs. a Diet Low in FODMAPs in Patients With Functional Gut Disorders

This study took a look at the effects of prebiotics and diets low in fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) on the treatment of gut disorders. The researchers found that those who followed this diet compared to those who followed a placebo diet noticed reduced symptoms, improved digestion, and improved quality of life after two to four weeks. The study suggests that prebiotics and diets low FODMAPs can be an effective treatment option for gut disorders.

After hours of research, we’ve uncovered everything there is to know about the low FODMAP diet, but one thing that didn’t change is that Noom supports the diet you choose to lose weight to be more successful and keep the weight off for good. Check out how Noom teaches calorie density and portion control, along with so much more today.

Questions and Answers on the FODMAP Diet

What does a FODMAP diet help?

The FODMAP diet, or the low FODMAP diet, as it’s more commonly referred to, is designed for people who’re suffering from intestinal distress of some sort. This includes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

What foods can you eat on a FODMAP diet?

Foods allowed on a low FODMAP diet include beef, chicken, pork, turkey, most seafood, lactose-free dairy, beans, and certain fruits and vegetables.

What can you NOT eat on a FODMAP diet?

You want to skip foods that are high FODMAP on a low FODMAP diet. Some of these foods include dried fruits, fruit juices, artificial sweeteners and additives, lactose, and wheat foods.

Can you eat eggs on a FODMAP diet?

Yes, you can eat eggs on a FODMAP diet.

What is the FODMAP diet for IBS?

The FODMAP diet for IBS is another name for a low FODMAP diet.

Is coffee OK on the FODMAP diet?

Though coffee is considered low FODMAP, the caffeine in coffee has been known to irritate some people. Decaffeinated coffee is a good alternative.

Is a low FODMAP diet healthy?

A low FODMAP diet is not intended for long-term use. The diet aims to identify the foods that cause intestinal irritation and add all other foods back into the diet over time. In most cases, after a low FODMAP diet, the resulting plan is sustainable. If you are concerned about getting all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need, talk with your healthcare provider before starting a low FODMAP diet.

How to get enough fiber on a low FODMAP diet?

There are plenty of fiber-rich foods that are allowed on a low FODMAP diet. These include bananas, kiwi, strawberries, carrot, potato, and eggplant, to name a few. Leave the skin on fruits and vegetables when possible.





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