What are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates found in commonly eaten foods such as pasta, bread, onions, garlic, beans, milk, apples, honey and mangoes.
Why do FODMAPs cause problems for some people?
Instead of being properly digested and absorbed, FODMAPs travel through the gastrointestinal tract, drawing excess fluid into the small intestine and generating gas when they are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine.
The fluid and gas build-up caused by undigested FODMAPs pushes on the walls of the intestines, causing uncomfortable symptoms and altered bowel habits in susceptible individuals.
What is the Low FODMAP diet for IBS?
The low FODMAP diet for IBS was first defined in 2004 by researchers at Monash University, Australia. It categorizes foods that trigger gastrointestinal problems according to the type of carbohydrate they contain, i.e., Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. This makes it possible to systematically test one group of food at a time, instead of individual items.
Before the advent of the low FODMAP diet, people were handed a long list of seemingly unrelated foods and instructed to avoid the ones they felt were causing their symptoms. Not only was this confusing, it also did not provide an orderly way of assessing one’s tolerances.