What is the FODMAP diet?

Do you suffer from any intestinal pathology? The FODMAP diet can really help you improve your symptoms or even eliminate them. In general, this diet eliminates some foods that are difficult to digest, do you want to know what it is and how it can help you? Keep reading!

The FODMAP diet

The “Low FODMAP” diet is a type of diet promoted by researchers from Monash University in Australia. FODMAP is an English acronym that means: fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.

These belong to a group of short-chain carbohydrates whose absorption in the intestine is very difficult, or they are very indigestible for some people.


What is it for?

It is a type of diet where its main basis is the limitation of foods that cause symptoms at the intestinal level such as:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal distension
  • Impaired bowel habit

This diet can be used to improve pathologies such as:

  • Irritable colon
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease

What is the FODMAP diet?

FODMAP compounds can be found in foods that carry fructose, lactactans, fructans, galactans or polyols. It is mainly found in the following foods:

  • Wheat, rye, onions and garlic, rich in fructo-oligosaccharides.
  • Legumes, contain galacto-oligosaccharides.
  • Dairy products (mainly milk), contain lactose
  • Honey, syrups, apples and other fruits, contain fructose.
  • Light foods , sweeteners, pears, plums, have polyols such as sorbitol , xylitol, maltitol and mannitol.
The FODMAP diet has shown beneficial effects against some gastrointestinal pathologies.

Foods high in FODMAP and that are not recommended are:

  • Cereals: brown rice, oats, barley, rye, millet, whole wheat.
  • Legumes: beans, chickpeas, peas, beans, lentils.
  • Vegetables: garlic, artichoke, eggplant, broccoli, onion, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, escarole, asparagus, lettuce, pepper, leek, beet, mushrooms.
  • Fresh and dried fruits: cherry, plum, raspberry, strawberry, apple, peach, melon, blackberry, watermelon pear, grape, olive, apricot, cranberry, breva, avocado, persimmon, mango.
  • Nuts: almond, cashew, hazelnut, peanuts, chestnut, walnut, pine nut, pipes, pistachio.
  • Milk and derivatives.
  • Processed meats
  • Sausages and derivatives
  • Sweets and table sugar.
  • Drinks: coffee, beer, distillates, spirits, soft drinks, tea, wine, packaged fruit juices.
  • Natural sweeteners: sugar, fructose, agave syrup, maple syrup , honey.
  • Artificial sweeteners: erythritol, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol.

How should it be implemented?

The implementation of the FODMAP diet includes three stages:

  • Restriction phase : it usually lasts 6 to 8 weeks and includes strict restriction of all foods rich in FODMAPs to obtain improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Reintroduction phase : in this stage, patients are oriented to introduce restricted foods in the previous stage, in order to determine the tolerance of each person, it usually lasts between 8 to 12 weeks.
  • Personalization of the diet : once the reintroduction phase is over, we individualize the diet in order to maintain the food variety and avoid unnecessary restrictions, while maintaining control of the symptoms.

What are its benefits?

As we have said before, this type of diet is advised for the treatment of intestinal diseases. It has shown benefits, according to a study published in Gastroenterology , for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, as it can reduce the symptoms of the disease by 76%.

In general, by reducing the fermentable substrates of intestinal bacteria, it improves the symptoms of this pathology and reduces inflammation and abdominal pain, as well as flatulence and the rate of bowel movement.

The adoption of the FODMAP diet can help patients with irritable bowel syndrome reduce symptoms.

It also helps in the improvement of digestive symptoms in patients with functional intestinal disorder and in those with organic diseases of the digestive tract . In this study, 84% of patients presented improvement of digestive symptoms with high adherence to treatment.

After performing the reintroduction diet, more than 80% of patients returned to tolerate wheat, as well as dairy with lactose, and more than 70% legumes and two servings of low-fructose fruits in the same intake.

Although this diet has benefits, it also has some drawback. Be careful if you suffer from constipation , since the diet is low in fiber and could be aggravated.

Therefore, this diet should always be implemented by a dietitian-nutritionist, since it is a strict diet, in which food must be introduced gradually and customized. As well as, ensure fiber intake.

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