Are FODMAP's causing your IBS?
FODMAP’s are essentially different types of sugars and starches found in a variety of different foods. If you are suffering from SIBO, Candida, IBS, IBD (Crohn’s, Colitis), dysbiosis or any digestive issues, following a low FODMAP diet is a very effective way to reduce symptoms.
What exactly are FODMAPs?
FODMAP’s are types of carbohydrates that some people find difficult to digest.
They get fermented by our gut bacteria in your digestive tract that produces byproducts and waste materials that can lead to symptoms including cramping, gas, abdominal pain, bloating, and distension amongst other symptoms. They may also use these FODMAPs to draw liquid into your intestine, which may cause diarrhea, as these sugars and starches don’t get broken down sufficiently, it can also lead to an overgrowth of t bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO) which can contribute to making symptoms worse and lead to other issues such as leaky gut.
So, what does FODMAP actually mean? These carbohydrates can be broken down into categories:
Fermentable : These are all foods that your gut bacteria feed on, converting them to gasses which leads to fermentation.
Oligosaccharides: These are soluble plant fibers that feed our beneficial bacteria. Oligosaccharides include onions, garlic, leek, beans, and many wheat products. Since gluten-free grains are lower in fermentable sugars some people who think they are sensitive to gluten may actually be sensitive to the oligosaccharides residing in glutinous products.
Disaccharides: These are fermentable sugars including lactose. As we know lactose intolerance can cause a number of digestive issues and is common worldwide
Monosaccharides: Sugar in fruit (fructose) is the fermentable sugar in this group. But only in certain quantities so not all fruits are affected.
Polyols: These are sugar alcohols that are used as artificial sweeteners and include xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, and mannitol
How do FODMAPS affect your health?
High FODMAP foods can aggravate irritable bowel syndrome, SIBO, and inflammatory bowel disease, and leaky gut symptoms. They can also contribute to non-digestive symptoms like fatigue, body pain, and mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression
Are FODMAPs bad for everyone?
We are all different and everyone can react differently to FODMAPs. Our gut and digestive processes are designed to process some foods that we can’t fully digest ourselves e.g., dietary fiber found in many healthy foods has a very important effect on digestive health and gut bacteria. This dietary fiber in the form of prebiotics has a symbiotic arrangement with beneficial bacteria. But some people with sensitive guts experience a level of indigestion from these foods that have a detrimental effect on their health from the byproducts of fermentation causing the symptoms mentioned above.
The main point is that FODMAPs don’t cause IBS or SIBO, it just exacerbates them. So, although going on a low FODMAP diet will help, you need to look at what is causing the issues in the first place. What we see in the clinic is that there 5 main reasons that cause sensitivity to FODMAPs which are:
1) Dysbiosis (an overgrowth of bad bacteria compared to good bacteria).
3) Low stomach acid and digestive enzymes to break down food
4) Food Intolerance’s/Sensitivity
5) Stress leading to poor gut motilit
Who might benefit from starting a low-FODMAP diet plan?
The low-FODMAP diet is often prescribed for limited periods for people diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Studies show that a majority of people living with these conditions benefit from the diet. It can also be used as a short-term elimination diet for anyone who has digestive problems and wants to try and isolate the foods that are causing them. An elimination diet removes common problem foods and then adds them back in systematically to observe how your system reacts. The low-FODMAP diet is just one of many elimination diets that you can use to discover food sensitivities. however, it’s essential to work with a functional medicine doctor or nutritionist who can ensure you’re following the diet correctly and providing the nutrients you need to be healthy.
It’s very important to note that FODMAPS, which are prebiotics are extremely for gut health, and completely eliminating them for an extended period of time could do you more harm than good.
What does a low-FODMAP diet consist of?
For a list of all FODMAP foods and their quantities, we recommend the Monash App on android and apple https://www.monashfodmap.com/ibs-central/i-have-ibs/get-the-app/
The diet has three phases: an elimination phase, a reintroduction phase and a maintenance phase that’s personalized to your circumstances. For the initial phase which is the elimination phase, you are strongly advised to remove and void high-FODMAP foods — which will come from everyday foods including fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains. Although this may appear limited there is still a reasonable choice of foods in each category you can eat. After three to four weeks on this, you’ll then begin the reintroduction phase, in which you systematically add foods back in but doing on a gradual basis to make sure you know what foods you may react to. If you add foods back in all at once you won’t know which foods are working for you. The third phase keeps what works for you and leaves out what doesn’t.
Maintenance: A long-term eating plan can be designed with your functional medicine practitioner or nutritionist that includes the addition of foods that seem to be well tolerated and continued avoidance of foods that are causing reactions and are still problematic.
Most FODMAP-sensitive people can eventually return to their usual diets as they heal their gut and optimize digestive function.
How we can help?
A diet is one way that you can take charge of your own health. Several studies indicate that a low FODMAP diet enhances the overall quality of life by significantly reducing symptom severity for those with IBS, SIBO, leaky gut and other digestive disorders. A low FODMAP diet should not be followed as a long-term diet, but more a means to assess food intolerance’s and repair the gut with a plan to try and reintroduce many of the foods that were causing symptoms.
Whether you have ongoing symptoms or have been diagnosed with one of the many gut conditions, our clinic and its experienced practitioners at the London Centre for Functional Medicine can help. We can help you understand what is the root cause of your symptoms and guide you through the process. We understand the FODMAP diet can be tricky to navigate with all its nuances, but with expert help, we can help you navigate through it.
Contact us today to find out more.