The FODMAP diet can beat bloating forever. Get the lowdown...
FODMAP is the new buzzword in diet and health. FODMAP is an acroynm for a whole load of scientific names for a group of carbs, which your body ferments during digestion. Although some people can cope with this without any problems, others (up to 45% of us) really struggle – and that can mean a whole host of really unpleasant symptoms.
Think bloating, pain, gas and sudden and unpredictable changes in your bowel habit. These are all symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is notoriously difficult to treat, but the FODMAP approach is a real breakthrough, giving up to 70% of sufferers real, lasting relief.
Unlike most IBS ‘miracle cures’, the FODMAP diet has been developed in clinical trials and hospitals and it’s gathering the support of doctors, gastroenterologists and dieticians. Of course, not all bloating is due to IBS. If you suffer from time to time, it’s still worth trying a low-FODMAP diet for two to three weeks. If things improve, keep going for the full eight weeks.
A word of warning: This is a diet to help your digestive system. You shouldn’t follow the eating plan for more than eight weeks and if you are concerned for any reason, consult your GP.
Keep clicking to find out how to get started on the FODMAP diet…
The FODMAP diet has already taken the world by storm, transforming the lives of people suffering from IBS and other bowel issues. The diet, which was first devised by scientists at the Monash University in Melbourne, has now been adapted into a mobile phone app. It's become so much easier for you to follow a guide on what to eat designed by nutritionists with you in mind. The app not only teaches you about following a healthy diet, but it also provides tips and advice on how to avoid embarrassing or uncomfortable situations as a result of your condition.
The app has the ability to scan food products and immediately let you know whether it follows the absolute rules of the FODMAP diet or not. The FODMAP by FM app, created in partnership with King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas' Foundation Trust, has a database of over 30,000 ingredients and 100,000 goods that you can find in UK supermarkets. The app can also help you track and record your IBS symptoms. All in all, it could change the way you live your life for the better.
Download the FODMAP by FM app here.
The idea is simple - remove FODMAPs from your diet as completely as
possible for about eight weeks. This gives your disgestive system time
to rest and recover. Then gradually reintroduce FODMAPs to see if they
still cause you problems.
This isn't any easy plan to follow; the
best way to stick to it is to prepare most food from scratch and eat
out as little as possible. The good news is that its only for eight
weeks and, if you've been suffering, there's a really good chance this
Keep clicking to find out what you can eat on the FODMAP diet...
Get friendly with the free-from aisle in your supermarket. There's plenty of choice for wheat-free breads, pizza bases, pasta, biscuits etc. As long as they are wheat free, you can go ahead. Some spelt bread is also wheat free, so check these out at health stores.
Soya alternatives to dairy foods. Milk, yoghurt and custard are especially good. Go for soya if possible, as these have added calcium so you don't miss out.
Hard cheese such as Cheddar and Parmesan are fine - you can also have mozzarella, feta, Brie, Camembert and goats' cheese. Butter is okay too.
Lactose-free dairy products are all okay. And, yes, you can have chocolate but stick to the dark stuff.
It's really helpful to keep this list of okay fruit and veggies with you when you're shopping:
Bananas, blueberries, cataloupe and honeydew melons, clementines, cranberries, grapes, kiwi fruit, lemons, limes, oranges, papya, passion fruit, raspberries, rhubarb and strawberries.
Aubergines, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, cabbage (white), carrots, chard, chilli, courgettes, chives, cucumber, endives, ginger, lettuce, olives, pak choi, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, radishes, rocket, seaweed, spinach, spring onions (green part only), swede, turnip and tomatoes.
Two of the hardest ingredients to exclude are garlic and onion, so you'll be glad to know you can use all other herbs and spices. You may want to try asafoetida powder (from Asian supermarkets), which gives a good alternative flavour to onion and garlic.
Most nuts and seeds are fine, except pistachios and cashews. Fats and oils are low in FODMAPs, so fine to eat. Jams and marmalades are fine - but avoid low-sugar varieties thta contain artificial sweeteners. Any meat, fish or poultry is okay as long as it's not breaded. Tuck in to eggs too - you can have between four and six a week.
All foods containing wheat and high levels of lactose (milk sugar). Pulses like peas, beans and lentils are a no, as are foods containing artificial sweeteners like chewing gum.
Some fruits with pips and stones (pears, apples, apricots, plums and peaches), blackberries, cherries, grapefruit, pomegranates and lychees. Vegetables like green cabbage, sweet potatoes, asparagus, artichokes, leeks and mushrooms are all out.
Try to avoid caffeinated and fizzy drinks too. And finally, dried coconut, pistachio and cashews, or honey.
There's no getting away from it - eating out is pretty tough when you're trying to follow a low-FODMAP plan. It may seem easier just to lay low for eight weeks, but that's unrealistic. Our advice is to find out where you're going ahead of time and check it out before you go. Most restaurants have a website, where you can view the menu and see what is going to be okay.
Dishes to go for? Plan fish, steak or poultry with salad and veg - most sauces will contain onion. Risotto with suitable vegetables (ask for no onion). Asian-style rice or rice-noodle dishes - but check vegetables and be very careful about onion and garlic.
Carluccio's and Zizzi offer wheat-free pasta, while Pizza Hut and Pizza Express can do gluten-free bases.
After all the hard work is over, the end is in sight! It's time to start the reintroduction phase. There is a set way to do this. You need to introduce a high-FODMAP food over three days. if after three days, you are symptom free, that food can be included in your diet and you can assume it doesn't cause you a problem. If symptoms return within three days, you should assume that the food does irritate your symptoms and avoid it long-term.
Food high in fructose or lactose can be introduced in groups. You can assume if one food from the fructose group doesn't cause a problem, all foods from the same group will be okay. The same goes for the lactose group.
Introduce the trial food in isolation. For example, one teaspoon of honey, not a honey-coated cereal. The cereal will contain a lot of ingredients other than honey and may give you a false result.
Everybody has a certain tolerance level to FODMAPs. If you eat too many in a short space of time, you may get symptoms, so it's good to be wary of overdoing it.