In the nutrition and wellness world we talk a great deal about digestion and the gut, as it’s related to almost every function in the human body and thus almost every symptom and complaint I get from new clients who sign up to work with me. The topic of digestion and gut health has a plethora of subtopics. For the month of June, I’ll be finishing writing my low fodmap class and focusing almost solely on improving symptoms of gut health and digestive distress. 90% of those diagnosed with an Autoimmune condition have leaky gut, and its estimated over 200,000 new cases are diagnosed in the US each year. Check out my Sep 2020 blog on basic digestions tips and leaky gut HERE.
I'll be covering digestion, IBS, and gut health in great length in my low fodmap class that will launch later this month but wanted to give you an overview of fodmaps in general this month to pique your interest.
Do any of these symptoms resonate with you either once in a while or daily?
Bloating after eating, or for no apparent reason at all
Constipation, diarrhea, or alternating between
Feeling full after two bites of food
Loss of appetite
Weight gain or loss
So, what do FODMAPS have to do with all this?
FODMAPS are short chain carbohydrates that rapidly ferment and are poorly absorbed into the gut. They are fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. A low fodmap diet is a therapeutic diet for the symptom reduction of IBS related symptoms. It is NOT meant to be a lifetime diet-its short term until the gut heals and you begin to reintroduce categories. It is not comparable to Celiac, for example, where you’d avoid gluten life-long.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the fodmaps and a couple foods they are present in, for simplicity’s sake. Please note many of not all these foods are “healthy”. However, they may not be for you if you have a hard time digesting them. The prevalence of difficulty digesting fodmaps is VERY common for a multitude of medical reasons which I won’t go into in this blog but will dive into in my FODMAP class.
Polyols: (sorbitol and mannitol) are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. They are small in size like fructose. The most common are sorbitol and mannitol. Sorbitol: apples, apricots, blackberries, peaches, artificial sweeteners (think low sugar protein bars with sweeteners). Mannitol: cauliflower, mushrooms, watermelon.
Monosaccharides: Fructose: Around 35% of the population cannot absorb excess fructose. It is the smallest fodmap thus it means it has the largest effect on attracting water to the intestines. It’s absorbed more efficiently with the presence of glucose, as opposed to on its own. Examples in this group are asparagus, sugar snap peas, pears, and honey.
Disaccharides: Lactose is an example in this group. To be absorbed it must be split into two sugar units with the lactase enzyme. Most of us lack lactase as this gene is shut off in humans after childhood and breastfeeding. Lactose is in all dairy products.
GOS: Oligosaccharides, Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides. Long chains of sugars most humans do not have the enzymes to digest. They are universally malabsorbed and fermented by bacteria in the large intestine. Fructans: garlic, onion, wheat, ripe bananas, peas, cashews, soy milk, beans.
I feel absolutely wonderful, it’s amazing how different you can feel with food! I have so much more energy, my body feels great and I'm not so bloated!
People with sensitive guts have thin and permeable gut walls so the above foods may bother them more then others without. This can be due to Small Intestinal bacterial overgrowth which requires a medical diagnosis, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, Celiac or other conditions.
A low fodmap diet is meant to me temporary-about 8 weeks, and then you enter a challenge phase with each of the above food groups, carefully testing and evaluating which bother you and which do not, then retesting after some time. I usually work with people on healing their guts during the 8 week phase so we can reintroduce as many foods successfully during the challenge phase.
I encourage you to use a food journal to identify foods that may be the culprit, but keep in mind symptoms can show up 4-72 hours after you’ve ingested the food so it’s hard to track!
Could you use some nutrition assistance with gut healing and a low fodmap diet? Feel free to contact me HERE!
Happy Spring 😊 Sarah