The gastrointestinal issues caused by too many FODMAPs are commonly observed in many different individuals. Problems in the digestive tract usually result from the type of content in the gastrointestinal tract. FODMAP is a term that refers to a type of carbohydrate that can be sourced from foodstuffs such as wheat and beans.
Researchers suggest that FODMAPs are responsible for various symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and bloating that are observed in the digestive tract. Individuals who are on a low-FODMAP diet are not likely to encounter common gastrointestinal disorders.
What is a FODMAP?
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, and Polyols. These carbohydrates are made of short chains, and some people are not capable of digesting them properly. When they are ingested, they are transported to the location where gut bacteria resides.
Gut bacteria degrade the carbohydrates, giving rise to hydrogen gas. The hydrogen gas produced is responsible for various gastrointestinal disorders such as bloating. The carbohydrates are also osmotically active. As a result, they draw water from the digestive tract resulting in diarrhea.
The most affected population involves individuals who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Reports indicate that more than 15 percent of the US population suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Most of those who suffer from the digestive disorder are undiagnosed.
Examples of FODMAPs
Common FODMAPs include:
- Fructose: This is also known as fruit sugar. Fructose gets bonded to glucose to give rise to the disaccharide glucose. It is derived from various sources, including corn and sugar beets.
- Lactose: comprised of galactose and glucose. It is commonly sourced from milk. The disaccharide sugar makes up more than five percent of milk. However, its content in milk varies from one species to another. Milk with a reduced lactose content is also available.
- Fructan: it is made of a polymer of fructose molecules. Those comprised of a short chain length are called fructooligosaccharides. Foods that are rich in Fructan include onions, garlic, leeks, and asparagus.
- Galactans: these are complex carbohydrates that are made of sugar galactose that is linked in chains. The polymeric form of glucose is found in hemicellulose. It can be broken down to galactose through hydrolysis. The dietary sources of Galactans include chick peas, soy products, and baked beans among others.
- Polyols: they are sugar-containing alcohols. They include mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, and sorbitol. They can be sourced from fruits and vegetables. Polyols are primarily used as sweeteners in the industries.
Effects of FODMAPs After Their Consumption
FODMAPs are carbohydrates that are made up of short chains of sugars linked together. Once they are ingested, they are broken down by gut bacteria to give rise to fuel. Various benefits are associated with the gut bacteria that reside in the digestive tract.
The gut-friendly bacteria result in methane gas while those that feed on FODMAPs release hydrogen. The hydrogen gas produced by the bacteria that feed on FODMAP result in the digestive tract symptoms such as bloating, pain, and constipation. The symptoms mostly arise from the distention of the gut making ones' belly to look bigger. The carbohydrates are also osmotically active, as a result, they absorb water from the gastrointestinal wall into the stomach cavity leading to diarrhea.
Health Benefits Of Diets Low In FODMAP
Various studies have been conducted on individuals with irritable bowel syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome is a common digestive disorder that presents with different symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating, and constipation.
Diarrhea is also commonly observed. The primary causative agent of the digestive disorder is not well-known. However, experts suggest that food people eat and other factors such as stress can contribute to irritable bowel diseases.
Research conducted on individuals suffering from irritable bowel disease found out that 75 percent of these patients benefited from a low-FODMAP diet. Such patients present with fewer symptoms and improved overall wellbeing. A low-FODMAP diet is also beneficial to individuals suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
The following are some of the benefits that are derived from a low-FODMAP diet:
- Less diarrheal cases
- Reduced cases of stomach pain
- Less constipation
- Reduced bloating
- Less gas in the digestive tract
Foods Rich in FODMAPs
The following are some of the foods and ingredients that are rich in FODMAPs:
- Fruits: high FODMAP fruits include blackberries, apricots, and peaches. Others include canned fruits and boysenberries.
- Sweeteners: Sweeteners that are rich in FODMAPs include honey and fructose. Others include mannitol, xylitol, and sorbitol.
- Dairy products: milk sourced from cows, sheep, and goats has been found to contain a high percentage of FODMAPs. Other dairy products include sour cream, yogurt, and cheese both fresh and soft.
- Vegetables: various vegetables including fennel, leaks, and mushrooms are rich in FODMAPs. Others include artichokes, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
- Legumes: Legumes rich in FODMAPs include chickpeas, lentils, and beans.
Foods That Are Low in FODMAPs
Digestive symptoms can be eliminated through the consumption of foods that are low in FODMAPs. Foods that are low in FODMAP include:
- Protein rich food: such as meat, fish, and eggs. However, the amount of FODMAPs tends to rise when ingredients such as wheat are added.
- All fats and oils: have been shown to have reduced amounts of FODMAP.
- Nuts and Seeds: individuals having irritable bowel disease can consume nuts and seeds without worrying about the digestive symptoms. Nuts that are low in FODMAPs include cashews, macadamia nuts, and pine nuts. Others include almonds and sesame seeds.
- Fruits: they include bananas, passion fruits, raspberries, mandarins, lemons, and kiwi.
Others include vegetables such as bell peppers, grains such as corns, and beverages such as coffee, tea, and water.
How To Take Food That Is Low In FODMAPs
Individuals that are not supposed to make foods that are high in FODMAPs are advised to get rid of high-FODMAP foods for a few weeks altogether. If foods high in FODMAPs are the primary cause of the digestive symptoms, then one is likely to experience relief from symptoms for few days.
One can then add the foods slowly one at a time after a few weeks. One can use this strategy to find out the cause of their digestive symptoms. It is advisable to completely avoid the food that is the primary cause of gut issues.
Despite the various harmful effects associated with FODMAPs, it is not as bad as many people perceive. Many foods that are rich in FODMAPs are healthy and beneficial to human health. Individuals who are not intolerant to FODMAPs are advised not to go on a diet that is low in FODMAPs. Foods rich in FODMAPs provide the body with energy as well as supporting the gut with friendly bacteria.