Beanz Meanz #&!<Z! What are FODMAPS anyway?

For many of us gastric distress is just intermittent but for others it is a constant source of discomfort, embarrassment and sometimes even pain. There are fermentable sugars released from various foodstuffs that increase the amount of wind generated in the gut. It is the distention of the gut by the wind that sometimes causes the bloating, discomfort and pain. And of course the gas has to go somewhere. 

When it comes to gassy foods there is a variation depending on the type and amount of fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols in the food. You can cut down on high FODMAP food and eat low FODMAP food instead to see if this settles your guts down.

Vegetables, beans, pulses and legumes are probably the most well- known culprits.  

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Of the vegetables artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, green beans, garlic, mushrooms, okra, onions, peppers, snow peas and squash top the list. This is a pity because many of these feature highly in low carb diets and also improve the taste of many dishes. 

For vegetables that are better tolerated try,  bean sprouts, bok choy, peppers with the skin removed (by searing and them removing), carrots, celery, cucumber, corn, aubergines, lettuce, leafy greens, pumkin, potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes and all fresh herbs. ( eat very sparingly or not at all on a low carb diet)

Some people don’t deal with lactose very well and for these people ice cream, milk, soft cheeses, yoghurt and cream may cause problems. Lactose free dairy products and hard cheeses don’t cause difficulty.

 Of the cereal group wheat products and rye may cause problems whereas spelt, gluten free bread products, rice, rice based breakfast cereals, quinoa and gluten free pasta may not.

Fruit tends not to aggravate the guts as much as vegetables but for some people avocado, apples, apricots, cherries, dates, dried fruits, figs, mango, nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, prunes and watermelon may give problems.  The lower FODMAP items in this class are bananas, berries, cantaloupe melon, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwi, lime, passion fruit, pineapple, rhubarb and citrus fruits.

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Food additives end to upset people especially the polyols in artificial sweeteners and foods with high fructose corn syrup or agave syrup.  Chutneys, pickles, coconut, honey and jams can also cause problems. Thankfully most spices and herbs, mayonnaise, olives, onion powder, olive oil, pepper, salt, maple syrup, mustard, wheat free soy sauce, chilli sauce, sugar and vinegars are better tolerated.

I found that my guts under went a great improvement from stopping wheat and adopting a low carb diet. I do bake and use polyols to sweeten baking products in preference to sugars. The main thing to remember is that many of the effects are dose dependent, so limit your intake accordingly.

 

Based in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: new and emerging treatments. BMJ 27 June 2015.

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