FODMAPs and IBS
What are FODMAPs foods?
The FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides (Fructans, Galacto-oligosaccharides), Disaccharides (Lactose), Monosaccharides (Fructose), and Polyols (Sorbitol, Mannitol, and Xylitol). The FODMAPs are found in our food that is highly fermentable. The bacteria present in the bowel system ferments intake these FODMAPs and produce gas.
Basically, the foods ferment in the gut releasing lots of gas. This gas exerts pressure from within the intestines which causes the pain associated with IBS. Any IBS sufferer will know just how little it takes for some foods to trigger a horrendous reaction.
I have a relative who only needs a small amount of cream (less than a teaspoon) to be rendered dysfunctional for many hours. I have a ridiculously high sensitivity to peas. It takes precisely 6 peas to ruin my life for 24 hours, even though peas are supposedly on the safe-list.
“In 2005, researchers in the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University identified a group of short-chain carbohydrates found in food that are either poorly absorbed in the small intestine or impossible to digest. The Monash team named these carbohydrates FODMAPs, an acronym which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.”
“The research team measured the FODMAP content of a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables, breads, cereals, nuts, legumes, dairy products and processed foods. This food composition information allowed the team to develop the first low FODMAP diet. The team used this low FODMAP diet in the first research studies which showed that a low FODMAP diet reduces symptoms in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).”
Now, here is the problem. Hypnotherapists, NLP practitioners, and all manner of therapists, coaches, and weirdos claim to be able to treat IBS through psychological methods. Are they correct, or are they deluded?
Can such a physiological thing be really addressed psychologically?
I’m an experienced hypnotherapist and therapist and I do not believe it can be treated this way. It is possible that some hypnotherapy clients carry the diagnosis of IBS but actually have a stress condition/stress response that manifests in a stomach ache, which of course, may well be alleviated through stress relief. But this isn’t IBS.
It is possible that IBS is actually an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of functional gut disorders, one of which is FODMAP sensitivity. I was diagnosed with IBS, a diagnosis I reject out of hand, but once labeled it is almost impossible to get doctors to think differently. My issues result from a herpes infection to my lower back, which I have written about elsewhere on this site (click the link, it opens in a new window). Owing to the ongoing problems that this gives me, I have lost count of how many therapists and other halfwits tell me that I just have a stress issue and just need to visualise a blue light in my intestines, take deep breaths or do some nonsense trance type work in order to be cured.
Do please let me know about your experiences in the comments section below.
The production of gas is a part of our normal and healthy digestive system. Every person is unique in their tolerance/intolerance of FODMAPs food. Some foods have no FODMAPs at all. There are some foods that contain a single type of FODMAP, and some foods contain a number of different types of FODMAPs. Peas are evil. So, every person has a different reaction to different levels of FODMAPs. But peas are still evil.
You cannot simply guess the FODMAP content of the food you are eating, whether it is rich in the FODMAPs, or have moderate or low levels of carbohydrates or gluten. To determine food content, the food is tested on food testing labs and then categorized from low to moderate and high-level foods rich in FODMAPs. Luckily there are plenty of FODMAP guides online, and the Monash University has a very good app you can download for your ‘phone.
Groups of FODMAP
There are five major groups into which the FODMAPs are classified
Fructose makes up the structure of table sugar. It is a simple sugar that is abundantly present in many fruits and vegetables
It is an important component of FODMAPs, and it is found in dairy products like milk, many cheeses and butter. The people having lactose intolerance should avoid using FODMAPs food rich in lactose.
These are the main ingredient of many grains, including wheat and barley. They are also found in high quantities in agave, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, garlic and onions.
The galactans are found in legumes that we intake in our daily diet. People who are intolerant to galactans should prefer to take a Low FODMAPs diet to avoid disturbances in their digestive system.
The polyols are the sugar alcohols found in many fruits and vegetables. Polyols include mannitol, xylitol, and sorbitol.
Low FODMAPs Diet
As we know that the FODMAPs are the carbohydrates that are fermentable, and they are fermented by bacteria in the bowel and produce the gas, which is a normal part of our digestive system. In some people, foods rich in FODMAPs lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
By eating the foods rich in FODMAPs, the person with IBS will start to show symptoms like excess gas, abdominal bloating, and abdominal discomfort due to excess gas production. Sometimes, when FODMAPs are consumed in large amounts, it can also cause loading of water in the bowel that provokes IBS symptoms that include bowel urgency and diarrhea. So, the low FODMAPs diet refers to the food with a low concentration of high FODMAPs and helps prevent the symptoms in IBS patients.
Low FODMAPs diet and IBS
The low FODMAP diet is not a cure for IBS, but it has proved to reduce IBS symptoms. The food rich in FODMAPs leads to increased gas production and water loading in the bowel, resulting in IBS’s severe symptoms. Research has proved that people with IBS following a strict low FODMAPs diet have reasonable improvements in IBS’s overall symptoms.
When it comes to the tolerance of FODMAPs rich food in IBS patients, it varies from person to person. Some people have the ability to digest certain amounts of FODMAP-rich foods without showing IBS symptoms, while some people with IBS have very little tolerance against the high FODMAP foods, and a little amount can provoke severe IBS symptoms in them.
IBS and Lactose tolerance
When it comes to lactose tolerance in IBS patients, about 40 percent of patients with IBS cannot properly absorb the lactose in their digestive system, and it is referred to as lactose malabsorption. For people who do not have the malabsorption are likely to digest the lactose and other dairy products.
Thus, the tolerance to high FODMAPs foods varies from person to person having IBS. The individuals must be tested for which food they are sensitive, or that can provoke the IBS symptoms or which are the foods that he/she can easily tolerate.
Benefits of a Low FODMAPs diet
Researchers have found that about 75% of patients with IBS have benefited from a low FODMAPs diet
- The food has reduced symptoms to a great extent, and it has also improved the quality of life in IBS and Gluten intolerant patients.
- The Low FODMAPs diet has also played a beneficial role in people with inflammatory bowel disease.
- Other benefits of a diet low in FODMAPs include less gas, less diarrhea, less bloating, less constipation, and less stomach pain. This food is more suited for patients having an intolerance to high FODMAPs food.
- The improved diet also has positive psychological benefits relieving IBS patients from severe symptoms.
- These digestive disturbances lead to anxiety and stress. So, these low FODMAPs helps the patient to have a normal and healthy state of mind.