Sounds quite scary huh? Sounds to me a little like something incurable and possibly involving a nasty rash. Actually, FODMAPs refers to the fermentable sugars in the foods we eat.
Last year, I finally caved in and sought advice from a dietician to try to work out what was making me bloat up periodically. I’m well known amongst my friends for being a bit ‘windy’; what they didn’t appreciate was that (how to phrase this…) the wind ‘not released into the wild’, was causing me more problems than that let fly free!
By chance I came across a lovely dietician, who just happened to specialise in bloating and FODMAPs (Monica Kubizniak of BJC Health). See, the idea is that a diet rich in fermentable sugars that aren’t absorbed correctly by the gut, are basically left IN the gut for a while – to bubble away, and release gas. The gas causes the uncomfortable bloating. I did a week’s food diary which revealed my lovely healthy diet was absolutely chock full of fermentable sugars. Having established that I don’t have anything nasty such as celiac or Crohn’s disease, I started an elimination diet to clear me of all the major FODMAPs groups. These are:
In practise this means sugars such as fructose (common fruit sugar), fructans (eg wheat), lactose (milk sugar), galactans (such as cabbage, pulses).
My first sad face occurred as soon as I realised wine and beer are in the polyols group and I’d have to exclude them (though I understand that latest thinking is they are considered FODMAP safe, they weren’t when I was doing this). This was hard! I feel I know a bit about food science and nutrition, I had support at home for the diet and we’re adventurous eaters, and so I found the process of excluding foods in particular groups wasn’t too hard; but all the same I was glad of the big list of OK and not OK foods my dietician provided me with. And a list of ‘safe’ brands.
The process was to clear my body as best as possible of the problematic sugars, and then add them back in, one group at a time, noting carefully the effect on my gut. Of course this is a really subjective thing, and my symptoms aren’t that severe, so it wasn’t always a clear cut result. The detailed food and symptom diary I kept really helped with this.
In my next post I’ll describe the process in more detail, and reveal the results!