Tummy Troubles? IBS? Consider a Low-FODMAP Diet
A good digestive system solves many problems for people. One man’s food can be another mans poison. A “One size fit all” theory does not fit here. When your digestion is proper, your body works well and you feel healthy and energized. If you are suffering from IBS, it is advised that you follow a low-FODMAP diet for reducing your tummy troubles. Let us learn about the low-FODMAP diet and how it can help you to improve the wellbeing of your body and reduce your body weight.
FODMAPs and weight loss
The gut is the way to your weight loss!
If you eat appropriately keeping your gut health in mind, then weight loss can be added. A healthy gut leads to weight loss and promotes the overall well-being of your body.
When you properly follow the FODMAPs diet, your body takes a healthy turn. You will realize how your body is getting better. Over time, this healthy body will lead to reduced body weight.
Healthy body weight will result in fitness in the long run.
What is so special about the low-FODMAP diet for IBS?
Are you suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? We can imagine how irritating and frustrating it might be. However, a low-FODMAP diet can help you to have better control over their symptoms by restriction, elimination or limitation of specific foods. Generally, these foods are not much of an issue unless you eat a lot of them. Although some people might be sensitive to them. FODMAPs infuses water into your digestive tract, which gives you a bloated feeling. If you have a lot of them, they could lay around in your gut and ferment.
So, what does FODMAP stand for? FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. In simple language, FODMAPs are particular types of carbohydrates that your body is reacting to – the starches, fiber, and sugars in foods.
Should I try a low-FODMAP diet for IBS?
Look! Avoiding FODMAPs doesn’t help everybody. However, in the journal Gastroenterology, a study was published in which 3 out of 4 people with IBS had their symptoms eased instantly after indulging in a low-FODMAP diet. Also, after 7 days or more on the plan, they felt most relief.
Stages of the low-FODMAP diet
If you are thinking that the FODMAPs diet is a lifetime thing, then let us tell you, NO! You must just understand your IBS food tolerances and trigger foods, and you are good to go! Just knowing these basic food triggers is enough. Just keep in mind that these are the food you must limit or avoid, depending on the foods and you can carry this protocol throughout your lifetime.
However, if your IBS is not allowing you to live a normal healthy life then, you may have to take it a little more seriously to get your life on track. At the start, you might find this FODMAPs diet very challenging and hard to follow. You might even feel that it is very life-changing. However, with a little commitment and education, you can live your life in a healthy manner, with an intention of being completely IBS-symptom-free.
Broadly this diet is divided into three phases, elimination, reintroduction, and integration.
Let us understand these three phases as given below:
1. FODMAP Elimination (Usually 2-6 weeks):
Objective: In this initial stage, you have to identify high FODMAP foods from your current diet that are aggravating the IBS symptoms. This is a very crucial step. You must know which are these foods to avoid them. If you do not know what these foods are, how are you going to avoid them?
These distinct types of carbs are FODMAPs:
Fructose: Honey, Fruits, Agave, High-fructose Corn Syrup
Galactans: Legumes such as lentils, soybeans, and beans
Fructans: Garlic, Onions, Wheat
Polyols: Sugar Alcohols and Fruits that have seeds or pits, such as Avocados, Apples, Plums, Figs, Peaches, or Cherries.
Hence, first, identify and then eliminate.
You get a high FODMAP food list that is high FODMAP, you must take note of these. You must understand that these foods are best avoided in your current diet plan. You can swap these foods for low FODMAP alternatives.
Do you know what is the best thing here?
Some people start to feel better in two days of starting off this diet. They start to feel the change and find this diet quite helpful in their daily lifestyle. However, if you do not feel the change within two days, don’t be scared and worried. Some people feel the change within a week or so. Don’t feel discouraged at all! Just remember that you should not have any cheat days in your diet. One day you are following the diet full-proof with proper dedication, and the next day, you are indulging in cheat meals, and not appropriately sticking to the diet plan, then it might not be of any use. If you have decided that you want to follow this diet, you must stick to it and do it in the right manner.
Remember, if you want to do something, do it right, or just don’t do it!
See, it’s just about switching! For instance, you could switch your high FODMAP apple for a low FODMAP orange, and you are good to go! It’s as simple as that.
Okay, are you thinking that how long you have to be in this phase?
Then, there is no specific time to it! You must ask your healthcare professional for this. The professional will guide you properly on how much time you have to spend in this phase. However, it generally lasts from two to six weeks.
One quick tip here is that you could keep your reference sheets for high vs low FODMAP foods in hand. You will understand and remember over time which are these foods and how you could easily replace them with other healthy food. If you are an avid follower of this diet, you will not need the reference sheet later, because maybe you remember all the swaps and list items by now.
2. FODMAP Reintroduction (Usually 6-8 weeks)
Objective: Understand which foods and FODMAPs trigger symptoms of IBS and which do not.
As this is a high observatory phase! Here, let us understand what exactly you have to do.
Just like the name suggests, you have to gradually and eventually reintroduce individual high-FODMAP food items back into your diet.
Now, you might think, first you eliminated those foods, and now you are adding them back to your diet. Why so? Then, why eliminate? And, then why add back?
Primarily, you have to add one high FODMAP food item to your diet, and see how much a specific food causes no symptoms, then include that food into your daily diet as you move ahead. If it causing certain symptoms to come back, you can eliminate these foods permanently from your diet.
So, it’s pretty easy. This is a try-and-test phase, my friend! If a food item is doing you harm when added, cut it out! If not, then continue to eat it along the way.
You have to go down the list of foods in each of the FODMAP subgroup categories. Every FODMAP subgroup should be reintroduced separately while your background diet will remain low in FODMAPs.
Don’t add all the subgroups of FODMAPs all at once. Take one subgroup at a time. In this way, you will be able to understand and analyze correctly. In this approach, you will know which FODMAP groups you may have a food tolerance, and you can continue to eat it then. And those foods that cause a lot of harm, you can avoid them completely. This is the best way to understand and interpret which foods are responsible for your IBS symptoms.
Just consult your nutritionist/health coach if you require help with this step. This could be tricky in a lot of ways. Doing this on your own may or may not bring results. An expert dietician can guide you along this step with ease and accuracy. They will tell you when you must reintroduce certain foods and which foods exactly you must reintroduce. Moreover, it is also recommended that you take a break for a few days between the reintroduction of foods for avoiding any crossover effects. A break will go a long way to help you get clarity over this adding and subtracting of foods.
3. FODMAP Integration (Lifelong!)
Objective: Now it’s time to establish your longer-term, personalized FODMAP diet.
See, now your first two steps are done. You have overall understood your food tolerances and triggers by now, right?
In this stage, you can begin to reintroduce the FODMAPs that were tolerated well by your body and avoid those FODMAPs that were triggering your IBS symptoms.
In this way, you might not have to avoid all the FODMAPs list. You can just eliminate those that were triggering your symptoms and were too much hampering your body’s symptoms. Hence, only specific foods need to be eliminated out. Healthy does not always equal low FODMAP! If a certain food type is perceived to be healthy, doesn’t mean it is good for your IBS symptoms also. Certain foods such as agave, asparagus, and apple are good foods for your health but these are not good for your gut if you suffer from IBS or IBS-like symptoms.
Moreover, if a specific food is termed to be unhealthy, doesn’t mean it is low FODMAP. For instance, Gluten is a protein, its not a FODMAP. Hence, gluten-free doesn’t mean it is low on FODMAP also.
One thing vital to note down here is that when you follow a strictly low FODMAP diet, it might make you feel good and well, but it neither practical nor healthy. To remove the food items and eliminate them from your diet, might not be a great way to be healthy. Hence, remember that one thing to avoid here is that if particular foods are not triggering symptoms and not causing a lot of harm to you, you must not completely avoid the FODMAP groups.
Remember one thing, everybody’s food intolerances are different. We are all bio-individual and unique in nature. If one food is intolerant to a particular person, it does not mean that the other person is also intolerant to it. Some people might not be intolerant to some foods, while some would be. Just follow your diet pattern and go along with it. Stop comparing and start living!
Embrace this new healthier lifestyle and live your life.
Treat your body as a temple, and it will take care of you throughout life.
Our Vegan Nutrition Coach will help you with your plant-based diet plan so that you do not have to try and test a lot. You will be guided hands-on in your diet plan.
See, it is important that for any diet, you have guidance from an experienced dietician. In this way, you are taken care of. If you do it on your own, you might leave on certain important foods and indulge in some not-so-important and harmful food items.
Therefore, you must have experienced persons for assistance to help you with a diet plan. Whatever it is, you can ask the dietician. You can discuss your daily diet and symptoms with our Dietician. You can talk it out regarding your indulgences too. You can also talk about your health problems and gain solutions for the same.
Hence, a proper dietician could be a boon for your health!
Our Vegan Nutrition Coach possesses immense knowledge about the distinct plant-based diets and advises you according to your lifestyle and body type. Moreover, you can discuss your favourite foods, and a common and accurate way of incorporating these foods on a limited and timely basis can be included. Hence, the diets might not be strict and you will not feel completely restricted. You can have a comfortable and soothing lifestyle, and your diet can fit in easily in your daily schedule.
FODMAPs diet has proved advantageous to many people and has considerably helped in reducing symptoms of IBS. People have experienced improved health and wellbeing, thereby living a better overall lifestyle.