Hippocrates once said “Let thy food be thy medicine!”, but for the estimated 45 million Americans who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), that can be a difficult pill to swallow. Symptoms of IBS can be uncomfortable, annoying and painful and are brought on by the food that is consumed. It doesn’t help that there is no specific test for the diagnosis of IBS. IBS is a kind of “subjective” situation, in which many of the symptoms are clumped in the form of a diagnosis. Fortunately for those who suffer from IBS, food can actually be “thy medicine”.
A new eating plan has been made, and that is proven with large clinical significance, to help soothe IBS symptoms. This belly-saving way of eating is based on “FODMAPs,” name “low FODMAP” foods. A 2014 Australian clinical study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology have shown following a low FODMAP diet can reduce the symptoms of IBS by as much as 50 percent. The term “FODMAP” is an acronym that stands for”Fermentable, Oligo-, D –, i-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols.”
This plan identifies short chain carbohydrates that are potentially difficult for many people to digest and ferment in the colon causing gas and other digestive stress. These short-chain carbohydrates contain too much fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans, and polyols. These carbohydrates are considered to be “high FODMAP” foods and thus should be avoided by people with IBS.
No one wants to hear the word “no,” so instead of telling you what you can’t eat, here is what you can eat. Simple swaps (high FODMAPs for low) that can make a big difference in ways of the digestive system are:
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1 Apples for blueberries: an apple A day keeps the doctor away, but it can’t keep the IBS symptoms at bay. Apples are eliminated on a low FODMAP diet, because they contain a large amount of fructose. Fructose is a form of sugar that is in fruit. Foods that too much fructose can be considered a high FODMAP and should be avoided by people who suffer from PDS. These foods include apples, watermelon, cherries, mango, agave, and honey. Some fruits have less fructose than others, and can be safely included in a low FODMAP eating plan. Blueberries (20 blueberries), grapes (1 cup), orange (1 small) kiwi (2 small) advantage of the low FODMAP list. Although these fruits are lower in fructose, people who suffer from IBS should still be limited to the general fruit consumption of fructose in lower amounts can still add up when consumed in large quantities.
2 Artichokes out for eggplant: Foods high in fructan, a substance similar to fructose, and in many vegetables, and grains, are also high FODMAP and should therefore be avoided. Foods high in fructans to avoid are: artichokes, garlic, leeks, shallots, onions, peas, certain grains, nuts and legumes. Before you swear off salads for life, know that there are plenty of low fructan vegetables that can be enjoyed by everyone. Eggplant, arugula, zucchini, sweet potato, spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers are a green light for low FODMAP dieters.
3 Pasta out for spaghetti squash: Apart from that are high in carbohydrates and delicious taste, the pasta is also high in fructans. For this reason, pasta is a no-go when following a low FODMAP plan. Other cereals in addition to pasta, which should be avoided are wheat and rye, such as bread, crackers, biscuits, and couscous. To make your pasta fix, you can make spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, as both the zucchini and squash are low-FODMAP foods, or use a gluten-free pasta such as quinoa pasta. Other suitable low FODMAP grain products, and cereal grains contain gluten-free bread, millet, bread, rice and spelt bread.
4 Cottage cheese for mozzarella cheese: A well known stomach irritant, lactose, is another characteristic of the high FODMAP foods. Therefore, a high lactose foods are also high in FODMAPs, and should be avoided when following a low FODMAP diet. Such high-lactose foods include cheese, milk, yogurt, ricotta cheese. This high-lactose diet can be swapped for dairy products that are lower in lactose, such as lactose-free milk and cheese, hard cheese, such as mozzarella and cheddar, and feta cheese.
5 beans for lentils Beans beans they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you… Well, let’s just say… they are high in FODMAPS. Legumes such as kidney beans, soy beans, black beans, split peas, garbanzo beans, navy beans be considered a high FODMAP food due to their high fructan content. Following a low FODMAP diet does not mean that the beans are completely off limits though. Interesting, canned beans have a lower FODMAP value than the ordinary, and of legumes, lentils are your best bet. Swap one of the beans above for 1/4 cup canned lentils to your bean-in a way that will be more comfortable for you… and the people around you….
Before starting a low FODMAP diet, consider working with a registered Dietitian to design a healthy eating plan that will meet all of the macro-and micronutrients needed. Another option is to invest in an app, such as “The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet” that makes the identification of suitable and unsuitable foods easily. You can also use the low FODMAP diet booklet.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered Dietitian in New York City and author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor is the Diet, and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.
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