What Is a FODMAP Diet?

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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A low FODMAP diet equals a happy gut for some. FODMAPs are carbohydrates (sugars) found in food. FODMAPs are substances that cause problems in two ways: they aren’t absorbed well so they tend to suck water in to the gut and they stick around longer so they are fermented by bacteria. The result is gas, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea in some people.

A diet low in fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) has been recommended in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In a recent study people with IBS had significantly lower overall gastrointestinal symptoms with less abdominal pain, bloating, and flatulence. So what is this diet?

Here are some sources of common FODMAPs:

Fermented foods and drinks

Oligosaccharides (fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides) are found in wheat, barley, rye, onion, leek, the white part of spring onion, garlic, shallots, artichokes, beetroot, fennel, peas, chicory, pistachio, cashews, legumes, lentils, and chickpeas.

Disaccharides (lactose) are found in milk, custard, ice cream, and yogurt.

Monosaccharides (free fructose) are found in apples, pears, mangoes, cherries, watermelon, asparagus, sugar snap peas, honey, and high-fructose corn syrup.

And

Polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, and xylitol) are found in apples, pears, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, watermelon, mushrooms, cauliflower, and artificially sweetened chewing gum and candies.

Dr O.

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