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FODMAP Diet: A GPS for GI Distress?

If you have irritable bowel syndrome or other functional gastrointestinal problems, you may already be familiar with low-FODMAP foods.

The acronym FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Each is a type of carbohydrate commonly found in the American diet, and to which many people have negative digestive reactions such as
gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Consuming a diet of low-FODMAP foods can alleviate these ill effects.

We are not all cut out to eat everything. The sugars in FODMAPs require specific enzymes to digest them. If a person lacks certain enzymes, GI disturbances can occur.

If any of the following high-FODMAP foods cause you GI distress, consider consulting with your physician or a dietetics professional to assess your options: most dairy products; certain vegetables (including artichokes, asparagus, cabbage, garlic and mushrooms); certain fruits (including apples, pears, cherries, watermelons, stone fruit and mango); some grains (including wheat, rye and barley); most legumes (including soybeans); certain sweeteners (including honey and agave nectar); and some food additives (such as chicory root, inulin, and xylitol).

Don’t panic. There is a robust array of low-FODMAP foods (including fresh fruits and vegetables) available for you to enjoy. Plug in “low-FODMAP foods” as an online keyword search for a plethora of lists and resources. If you think you might benefit from such a diet, the best practice is to consult your physician or a dietitian first to get properly diagnosed and advised.

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