FODMAP Freedom

Apr 9, 2024
Do you ever feel like your digestive system is gurgling and bloating more often than it should be? Millions of people around the world struggle with digestive issues, and pinpointing the culprit can feel like a frustrating guessing game. Buckle up: we're about to delve into the components of certain foods that might be wreaking havoc on your gut and how the FODMAP diet might be your new BFF. It is important to keep in mind that this is not your typical "low-carb" diet. This approach allows you to pinpoint which specific carbohydrate is causing you digestive distress.

What is the FODMAP diet?

FODMAP is an acronym that stands for a group of short-chain carbohydrates that can sometimes cause discomfort in our digestive systems. These include:
Fermentable Oligosaccharides: These are short chains of sugars ( 2-10 units linked together) found in many whole foods like wheat, legumes, and some fruits. While they sound beneficial, some people struggle to digest them fully, leading to uncomfortable bloating and gas.
Disaccharides: These are simple sugars formed by linking two single sugars together. Common examples include lactose (found in milk) and sucrose (table sugar).
Monosaccharides: These are the simplest form of sugar, single units with 6 carbons that make up other complex carbohydrates. Examples include glucose (the body's main energy source) and fructose (a fruit sugar). While essential for energy, excessive amounts of fructose, particularly from certain fruits and sweeteners, can cause digestive problems in some people.
Polyols: Often referred to as sugar alcohols, they have a similar structure to sugars but with a key difference that affects absorption (multiple hydroxyl groups which affects the molecule's ability to interact with transporters in the small intestine). This can lead to digestive issues for some. Polyols can be naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables or added as sugar-free sweeteners like xylitol and sorbitol. While some polyols are tolerated well, others can cause bloating and discomfort because they're poorly absorbed in the small intestine and end up fermenting in the large intestine, producing gas as a byproduct.

The Science Behind the FODMAP Diet

These carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, which is where most of our nutrients are absorbed. They then travel further down the digestive tract to our large intestine, where gut bacteria feast on them, producing gas as a byproduct. This gas production can lead to bloating, cramping, and other digestive woes.
If an individual's genetics has not equipped them with all of the enzymes necessary to digest every carbohydrate, this can also lead to digestive discomfort. For example, if an individual does not have the enzyme lactase, they are going to have a difficult time digesting the disaccharide, lactose, which is found in many dairy products. Additionally, FODMAP carbohydrates can draw water into the intestines, which can contribute to diarrhea.

What Foods Are Considered "High-FODMAP"?

Many of the foods listed below are poorly absorbed by the small intestine which is where most of our nutrients are meant to be absorbed. The structure of "high-FODMAP" foods have more complex bonds compared to their simple sugar counterparts.
Fruits With Tough Skin: apples, figs, mangos, peaches
Vegetables: artichokes, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, corn, garlic, onions
Legumes: baked/black/kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils
Wheat-Based Products: wheat bread, wheat pasta, wheat flour
Dairy: milk, soft cheeses, yogurt, ice cream
Sweeteners: Fructose syrup, honey

What Foods Are Considered "Low-FODMAP"?

Fruits: blueberries, grapes, strawberries, oranges
Veggies: bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumbers, spinach
Protein: beef, chicken, eggs, shrimp, turkey
Dairy: lactose free options, hard cheeses
Grains: gluten free options, quinoa, white rice

How Can Trash Panda Help?

The The Trash Panda App is a useful tool for people following a low-FODMAP diet. By allowing you to customize flagged ingredients, you can focus on specific dietary restrictions in high-FODMAP foods like gluten and dairy. The app can also be helpful for identifying ingredients like sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, which can be tricky to spot on food labels.
It's important to remember that FODMAP sensitivity can vary from person to person. It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian if you suspect you have FODMAP sensitivities. They can help you create a personalized plan to identify your triggers and achieve optimal gut health.
Reading ingredients made easy. For quicker, healthier decisions.
Start Scanning (it's free)
Trash Panda
Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play