For people who experience digestive disorders in the large intestine or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the symptoms they experience will last for months or even a lifetime. This disease is caused by the intestine not being able to digest food properly, causing symptoms such as flatulence, gas, diarrhea, and difficulty defecating. That is why, the FODMAP diet appears which is thought to relieve the symptoms of people with irritable bowel syndrome. So, what is the FODMAP diet? How can this diet help people with IBS?
What is the FODMAP diet? Why is it good for people with IBS?
The FODMAP diet is actually a diet that encourages one to avoid foods that contain carbohydrate sources that have a short chain chemical structure. Meanwhile, this diet abbreviation is taken from the types of carbohydrates that must be avoided, namely Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, and Monosaccharides as well as polyols.
Experts believe that foods containing these types of carbohydrates will be difficult for the intestines with IBS to digest, so they should be avoided to relieve symptoms. The reason is, when the food containing carbohydrates is not digested properly, it will trigger the bacteria in the intestine to produce more gas. This then can cause symptoms of IBS.
The FODMAP diet has even been proven in several studies. One of these studies, published in the journal Gastroenterology, states that 3 out of 4 people with IBS, managed to relieve or even eliminate some of the symptoms of indigestion thanks to applying this diet for 7 days or more.
What foods can and should not be consumed in the FODMAP diet?
Foods that contain FODMAP and should be avoided are foods that contain:
- Lactose, such as cow's milk, cheese, yogurt, and various other dairy products.
- Fructose, which is contained in:
- Fruits such as apples, pears, mangoes, and watermelons
- Artificial sweeteners
- Foods that are high in corn syrup
- Fructant, which is contained in:
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, onions
- Different types of wheat
- Galactant, which is found in:
- Nuts, such as kidney beans, soybeans, and chickpeas
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage
- Polyol, which is in:
- Fruits, such as apricots, watermelons, and apples
- Artificial sweeteners containing sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol
- Vegetables, such as cauliflower and mushrooms
So, instead you can eat the following foods:
- Milk that do not contain lactose, such as almond milk, or cow's milk products that do not contain lactose.
- Fruits as bananas, grapes, melons, kiwi, strawberries, and oranges
- Vegetables for example, collards, spinach, lettuce, eggplant, and cucumber.
- Protein from beef, chicken, fish and eggs
- Nuts that is almonds, walnuts and peanuts.
Basically, foods that contain FODMAP, are not bad for health. All types of food have benefits and are needed by the body. However, in this case these foods can trigger the growth of bacteria – which are actually not bad for health – which can produce excessive gas in the intestines.
How to apply this FODMAP diet?
In applying the FODMAP diet, there are several steps that you must take. However, first you better consult your doctor or nutritionist regarding the diet you are going to do. The reason is, not everyone will show the same results if you do this FODMAP diet. So, when you are going to apply this FODMAP diet, start from:
- Elimination stage, at this stage you are advised to limit and even avoid foods containing FODMAP for 3-8 weeks. At this stage too, you are asked to see if your symptoms improve or not.
- Reintroduction stage. After you avoid foods that suspect you are causing symptoms, then you will be asked to include these foods one by one into your menu again. This is done for 3-7 days for one type of food. At this stage, you will see the foods that have been the triggers for your IBS symptoms.
- The final stage. Now, after knowing what can make your IBS symptoms appear, you will be asked to return to eating normally and only limit the foods that trigger it. The rest, you can still apply the diet that you previously had.
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