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Ask the RD: What is a low FODMAP diet?

 

Ask the RD: What is a low FODMAP diet?

Header photo_Ask the RD_ What is a Low FODMAP Diet_

Have you heard about the (FODMAP) diet with a long acronym for a name?  If you haven’t, it’s likely you’ll be hearing more about it as it continues to gain momentum and popularity. So, what exactly is a FODMAP anyway? And is a low FODMAP diet something you should consider? Read on to get all the facts.

WHAT IS IT?

A low FODMAP diet entails a multi-step elimination and then reintroduction of foods that contain high levels of certain types of carbohydrates, called FODMAPS.

FODMAP stands for:

fermentable

oligosaccharides

disaccharides

monosaccharides

and

polyols

These particular types of carbohydrates are found abundantly in many foods you eat regularly, including, but not limited to:

wheat, barley, rye, apples, pears, mangos, watermelon, honey, cow’s milk, yogurt, certain soft cheeses (like ricotta), cashews, pistachios, cauliflower, mushrooms, onion, garlic, asparagus, and additives like high fructose corn syrup, inulin, and sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, and maltitol.

The trouble with FODMAPS is that they have three traits that make them problematic for some people.

  1. They are poorly absorbed in the intestine.
  2. They draw extra water into the intestine and are rapidly fermented by bacteria in the bowel.
  3. Depending on the quantity consumed and an individual’s tolerance, FODMAPs can lead to increased gassiness, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
HOW TO FOLLOW IT

Following the diet consists of a 2-6 week elimination phase that involves removing all high FODMAP foods from the diet in order to identify whether FODMAP rich foods are causing your symptoms to worsen. After the elimination phase, a knowledgeable professional (aka registered dietitian experienced in FODMAPS) will help you navigate a reintroduction phase of high FODMAP foods that helps identify which foods you can tolerate and which ones trigger symptoms. Finally, you’ll formulate a more personalized plan to follow long-term, in which you maximize your food variety while minimizing trigger foods to help keep symptoms at bay.

WHO IS IT FOR?

A low-FODMAP diet has been shown in research to help about 75% of people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) manage their symptoms. Since IBS is estimated to affect about 11% of people around the globe (that’s about 40-45 million in the US and 1 billion globally!), the low FODMAP diet has the potential to help many people feel a whole lot better.

Symptoms of IBS can include abdominal pain and cramping, gas and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, changes in bowel movements, fatigue and difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression.

If you have been diagnosed with IBS and think that following a low FODMAP diet may help you, it’s important to seek more information from trusted professionals on how to effectively implement this diet. If you have not been diagnosed with IBS but are having many of the symptoms, do not self-diagnose. Get checked by a trained physician and then seek help from a registered dietitian for dietary strategies to manage it, such as the low-FODMAP diet.

The diet involves a multi-step approach, which entails an elimination phase, followed by a reintroduction phase, and the final modification / personalization phase which can lead to complications when trying to implement. This diet is also looked at as complex because there is a lot of information on the internet that is either out of date or inaccurate in regards to which foods to restrict and how to properly and safely implement the diet to help maximize nutrition and minimize symptoms.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES?

The diet can be restrictive and without proper planning it can fall short on certain nutrients. Despite some hype, this is not a diet to go on strictly for weight loss, especially if you have tendencies towards an unhealthy relationship with food or unhealthy dietary restriction. 

MORE RESOURCES

Here are helpful resources from registered dietitian Kate Scarlata who is an expert in the low FODMAP diet. She includes a section to help find a low FODMAP dietitian near you as well. You can also visit Monash University’s website for up-to-date information on low and high FODMAP foods.

Have you tried (or are thinking about trying) the low FODMAP diet to help with digestive issues or IBS? How did it work for you?


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A note from our CEO about COVID-19x
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The coronavirus has changed life, as we knew it, forever. Most people will be touched in some way by the pandemic either physically, emotionally or financially. We’ve all heard heart-breaking stories from around the world about lives that have been lost and severe financial hardships caused by the sudden shutdown of so many businesses.

On behalf of all our team members around the globe, we extend our deepest sympathies to all that are struggling through personal challenges, whatever they may be, and we offer our sincerest gratitude to all the heroes who are helping those in need.

We’d also like to add how important it is for everyone to continue to do their part to slow the spread. Physical distancing is critical, and we must all take this seriously. We use the word “physical” because staying away from people in a physical way does not mean we should be neglecting the importance of social interactions, compassion and patience.

We are one of the largest providers of shelf-stable seafood and it is our honor and our responsibility to do our part, in every way we can, to help to keep people fed with affordable, nutritious protein. To that end, we’re continuing to run our factories in the US and Canada while our partners around the world continue to provide supply.

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Beyond Bumble Bee, we’re continually looking for ways to extend our “people first” approach to make a meaningful impact. With so many people in need, we know this effort is more important than ever. We’re starting by donating more than $1 million in product to food banks in both the US and in Canada. And we will be looking for more opportunities to make a positive difference in the days to come.

Finally, I want to thank you, our loyal and new customers, for your support. We hope you find the recipes on our website helpful and easy to prepare. I also want to send a sincere thank you to our Bumble Bee Team and our valued supply partners around the world for their tireless efforts, particularly those working in sales, manufacturing, distribution and all our support roles, ensuring we can keep store and pantry shelves stocked.

Please continue to do your part to keep yourselves and your families safe during this truly unprecedented time.

With Gratitude,
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