Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Low FODMAP Diet

This post originally appeared on Have Your Health, a past blog of mine active from 2013-14.

When I joined an IBS forum earlier in the year, I kept running into the letters "FODMAP" on various posts. What the heck is a FODMAP, I wondered. So I did some research online, and today I'm sharing my findings.

Low FODMAP diet

The "low FODMAP diet," as it's called, is specifically meant to reduce IBS symptoms. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides, and Polyols; which are all different carbohydrates found in many foods. 

Liquid and gas are created in the large and small intestines when foods high in FODMAPs are consumed. This temporary diet was created by researchers in Australia in 2005. It's recommended to adhere to the low FODMAP diet for 2-6 weeks, and then slowly re-introduce foods one at a time - preferably with the help of a dietician. 

What to eat on a low FODMAP diet

Since I prefer visuals, I've put together a chart of foods to eat and foods to avoid when you're following a low FODMAP diet.

Low FODMAP diet is worth the effort

Many people comment that the low FODMAP diet is too strict or difficult to adhere to. The important thing to remember is that it's only a temporary diet. It's not meant for weight loss, but rather to relieve IBS symptoms - and it's the only diet that's had repeated success with IBS patients. Putting in the effort to meal plan and stick to the diet for just six weeks is completely worth the effort if it were to resolve IBS problems, in my opinion. Just take it one day at a time.

Now that it's on my radar, the low FODMAP diet is next on my list of diets to try in order to heal my own IBS-D. Unfortunately, it'll have to wait until I'm no longer in Korea (just two months left, though!). Without going into much detail, the cultural complexities surrounding eating what is offered to you does not give me much control over my daily lunches or snacks that are served at school. Since the social consequences of refusing food are so undesirable in the Korean culture, I'm okay with my decision to wait a few more months until I have total control over my diet.

Have you tried the low FODMAP diet to treat IBS symptoms? Was it successful?
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