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What is the Low FODMAP diet?
FODMAP is actually an acronym for “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols” and the low FODMAP diet restricts these food groups with the goal of relieving symptoms of irritable bowel (IBS) and related conditions. The FODMAPs include: short chain (oligo-) saccharide polymers of fructose (fructans) and galactose (galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and sugar alcohols (polyols) like sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol.
How does it work?
FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. Poor absorption of these carbohydrates is common to most everyone; FODMAPs that are not absorbed in the small intestine pass into the large intestine, where bacteria ferment them, causing gas and bloating. Most individuals do not suffer significant symptoms, however, some may suffer the more extreme symptoms of IBS including distension, gas and bloating, diarrhea and more. Restriction of FODMAP intake in these people has been found to result in improvement of symptoms. In a low FODMAP diet, foods are typically eliminated for 6-8 weeks and then gradually reintroduced in order to identify the most bothersome foods.
Who is it good for?
Low FODMAPs is often used to help IBS sufferers, those with excess gas and bloating, cramping and/or diarrhea. Many children and adults with gastrointestinal symptoms associated with autism/ASD can benefit from a full of modified low FODMAPS diet.
Key foods to avoid:
The FODMAPs in the diet are:
• Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc)
• Lactose (dairy)
• Fructans/inulin (wheat, onion, garlic, etc)
• Galactans (beans, lentils, legumes such as soy, etc)
• Polyols (sweeteners containing sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, stone fruits
• such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc) [Note: This is not a complete list]
Things you should know:
-This diet will also limit fiber, as some high fiber foods have also high amounts of FODMAPs. This can sometimes cause constipation as a result.
-This diet can be great for gaining relief from symptoms but re-testing with professional guidance is a key step in managing long-term GI symptoms.