If you've ever suffered from IBS, you'll most likely have heard of the FODMAP diet.
It sounds complicated, but the FODMAP diet essentially means cutting out a group of carbohydrates that can disagree with some people's bodies.
The complicated-sounding acronym stands for 'fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols', which are a group of carbohydrates that are fermented in the gut by bacteria and can cause discomfort. These groups can then be split up once more into another five groups called fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, lactose, excess fructose and polyols.
Up to 45% of people struggle to digest FODMAPs and suffer from nasty symptoms including gas, bloating and pain along with sudden changes in bowel movement. The symptoms are usually associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and sufferers are often told to follow a low FODMAP diet in order to give their digestive system a rest.
Slowly, small amounts of FODMAP foods are then gradually introduced to find the right level of tolerance for each food without the horrible symptoms returning.
The idea behind cutting out FODMAPs is that it allows time for beneficial bacteria to be stimulated and grown in the gut.
However, it's recommended that a FODMAP diet shouldn't be followed for more than eight weeks without reassessing it and you should always check with your doctor if you have any concerns.
What can I eat if I follow the FODMAP diet?Generally, FODMAPs are found in quite a wide range of food including onions, garlic, mushrooms, apples, rye, milk and other dairy products like ice cream and custard. So this means that there is quite a large list of things that need to be cut out at first.
However, it's worth noting that many people will have different FODMAP triggers and may even have no more than one or two FODMAPs that are problematic for them. So once you get to know your triggers, the diet can be adapted to only cut out the specific FODMAPs that affect you.
If cutting out a large group of carbs sounds like a big ask, then look no further for some simple recipe ideas to get you started without compromising on tastes. With breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas as well as some tasty snacks – you can dip into the diet plan with ease.
FODMAP Breakfast Recipes: Griddle Pan Waffle with Orange and Rhubarb Compote
If you've got a sweet tooth then what more could you want than waffles for a breakfast treat? Serve them up at the weekend and the whole household will thank you for this dreamily sweet dish, and its lack of FODMAPs means its guilt free too.
Get the recipe: Griddle Pan Waffle with Orange and Rhubarb Compote
FODMAP Lunch Recipe: Haddock Fishcakes with Celeriac and Squash Mash and Wilted Greens
Forget boring salads and sandwiches and go for a lunch that will warm you up in the winter months and yet still seems light and refreshing in the summer. Fishcakes are the perfect healthy lunch choice, and this recipe pairs them with super tasty veggie mash and greens, so you're well on your way to five a day too.
Get the recipe: Haddock Fishcakes with Celeriac and Squash Mash and Wilted Greens
FODMAP Dinner Recipe: Spicy Meatballs with Butternut Squash Spaghetti
Meatballs are a family favourite, so don't miss out on the hearty dinner just because you're cutting down on FODMAPs. This recipe replaces the pasta for FODMAP free butternut squash, so you still get all the flavour, just without the carbs.
Get the recipe: Spicy Meatballs with Butternut Squash Spaghetti
FODMAP snack recipe: Lemon and Mint Loaf
Cakes aren't off the menu on the FODMAP diet, they just need a different set of ingredients to keep the triggers out the way. By using polenta and buckwheat flour, this cake has all the texture of a sponge and the lemon gives it a lovely zingy finish.
Get the recipe: Lemon and Mint Loaf
If you have any tips or recipes for others following a FODMAP diet then we'd love to hear from you. Pop a comment in the box below!
The FODMAP recipes above are only an example of lots of lovely things you can eat while sticking to the diet, but so seek medical advice if you're unsure on anything.