Yoga by the Sea

Should you be on a low-FODMAP diet?

When I go to Sprouts and Trader Joe’s (my local supermarkets), I like to stock up on healthy snack foods. I’m a grazer eater (in my case because I hate to cook) so snacks are the staples of my diet. My shopping list for a long time consisted of Sahale Snacks Pomegranate Pistachios, kale chips, beets chips, baby carrots, avocados, Nori sheets which I use to make homemade sushi, and apples.

Although the apples we get in America are nowhere as tasty as the ones I grew up on in Jamaica, I’m still addicted to apples. They’ve been my go-to meal replacement for a long time. If they’re on sale, I’ll get (and eat) extra.

Little did I realize that apples, widely considered to be one of the healthiest foods ever, could be triggering my IBS symptoms. I only figured this out after, at the suggestion of a friend, I looked into a low Fodmap diet. Color me shocked when I learned that eating apples can be terrible for people with IBS, Crohn’s, ulcers, and other chronic digestive illnesses and conditions.

I would never have guessed that apples could have been causing the bloat and distention I had been trying to beat. But after 3 apple-free days and my symptoms went away, I had to call my friend and thank her.

Learning about and working on the low-fodmap eating plan, has been a revelation. So here I am, passing on one of the best IBS diet tips out there: try a low fodmap diet!

So what the heck are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs is short for fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates found in foods that cause liquid and gas in the small and large intestines. The main food groups of FODMAPs are:

  1. Oligosaccharides: Wheat, rye, legumes and various fruits and vegetables, such as garlic and onions.

  2. Disaccharides: Milk, yogurt and soft cheese. Lactose is the main carb.

  3. Monosaccharides: Various fruit including figs and mangoes, and sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar. Fructose is the main carb.

  4. Polyols: Certain fruits and vegetables including blackberries and lychee, as well as some low-calorie sweeteners like those in sugar-free gum.

The FODMAP diet

They’ve done over 30 studies and found that IBS suffers do better on a low-FODMAP diet. When you go on a “low-FODMAP” diet you eliminate the most irritating foods then add certain foods back gradually.

It’s highly recommended that you work with a nutritionist or another pro to help you personalize your diet. In my case, for example, I learned that even some safe foods like oranges can be problematic for some stomachs.

Low-FODMAP food list

According to HealthLine, these foods are usually safe for most people to eat.

  1. Protein: Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, prawns, and tofu

  2. Whole grains: Brown rice, buckwheat, maize, millet, oats, and quinoa

  3. Fruit: Bananas, blueberries, kiwi, limes, mandarins, oranges, papaya, pineapple, rhubarb, and strawberries

  4. Vegetables: Bean sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, choy sum, eggplant, kale, tomatoes