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What Are FODMAPS & How Do They Lead To IBS?

Young man with stomach pain indigestion IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a very modern disease and many sufferers will despair of ever being able to get rid of this condition and its range of symptoms - even if it just comes and goes intermittently.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

You could experience just one or several of these…
  • Bloating
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Lower back pain
  • Lack of energy

Triggers for IBS

These include:
  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Fast paced living

But now there is an interesting development

And this is known as FODMAPS or to give it its full name – fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. These long words stand for carbohydrates that tend to be poorly absorbed by the small intestine in those who suffer from IBS and end up being rapidly digested by colonic bacteria.

Those foods that contain FODMAPS

Vegetables Asparagus, artichokes, all onions, leeks, garlic, legumes and pulses, sugar snap peas, onion and garlic salts, beets, Savoy cabbage, celery and sweet corn. Fruit Apples, pear, mango, nashi pears, watermelon, nectarines, peaches and plums. Milk and Dairy Cow’s milk, yogurt, soft cheese, cream, custard and ice cream. Breads and Cereal Rye, wheat-containing breads, wheat-based cereals with dried fruit, wheat pasta. Biscuits and Snacks Rye crackers, wheat-based biscuits. Nuts and Seeds Cashews and pistachios. I am an occasional IBS sufferer and can definitely relate to the stress component with wheat bread and sugar being contributing factors on the diet front. I was surprised to see no mention of sugar in FODMAPS.

There are good foods for IBS sufferers (avoiding FODMAPS)

These include: Vegetables Alfalfa, bean sprouts, green beans, bok choy, bell peppers, carrots, chives, fresh herbs, choy sum, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and courgettes. Milk and Dairy Lactose-free milk and yogurts, hard cheese. Fruit Banana, orange, mandarin, grapes and melon. Protein Sources Meats, fish, chicken, Tofu and tempeh. Biscuits and Snacks Gluten-free biscuits, rice cakes, corn thins. Nuts and Seeds Almonds (less than 10 daily) and pumpkin seeds. Breads and Cereals Gluten-free bread and sourdough spelt bread, rice bubbles, oats, gluten-free pasta, rice and quinoa.

How to find your ideal diet to combat IBS

If you really suffer from this condition, you are unlikely to be affected by every single one of the first set of foods listed above. As a temporary measure, remove them all before slowly re-introducing them to see how they affect you. It is imperative of course to ensure that you are receiving all the necessary nutrients during this time.   Close up fresh vegetable salad isolated on white