What does the term “low FODMAP” mean?

The term “low FODMAP” refers to a dietary approach that aims to reduce the consumption of certain types of carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols). FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can cause digestive symptoms in some individuals, particularly those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Who can benefit from a low FODMAP diet?

A low FODMAP diet is primarily recommended for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who experience symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation. It may also be helpful for people with other digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), although individual needs may vary.

What foods are high in FODMAPs?

Foods high in FODMAPs include certain fruits (such as apples, pears, and watermelons), wheat and other grains, dairy products containing lactose, legumes (such as chickpeas and lentils), certain vegetables (like onions and garlic), sweeteners like honey and high-fructose corn syrup, and some artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and mannitol.

How does a low FODMAP diet work?

A low FODMAP diet works by restricting the intake of high FODMAP foods for a specific period, usually 2 to 6 weeks. This elimination phase aims to reduce symptoms and provide relief. After the elimination phase, individual FODMAP groups are gradually reintroduced to identify specific triggers. This reintroduction phase helps determine which FODMAPs are well-tolerated and can be included in the diet without causing symptoms.

Is a low FODMAP diet a long-term solution?

A low FODMAP diet is not intended to be a long-term solution. It is a short-term dietary intervention used to identify and manage trigger foods. Once the trigger FODMAPs have been identified through the reintroduction phase, the diet is modified to be personalized and less restrictive, including a wider variety of foods while still avoiding specific triggers. Working with a registered dietitian who specializes in the low FODMAP diet can be helpful in creating a suitable long-term eating plan.

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