FODMAP is an ambiguous acronym that makes even experienced foodies and caterers scratch their heads. Remembering the meaning behind each of the scientific terms, and then understanding the correlating foods that contain such ingredients is a difficult feat, but hopefully the following information provides some clarity and insight.
FODMAPs have been scientifically proven to be potential triggers of IBS, and in turn, limiting dietary FODMAPs is an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS in susceptible people.
The term FODMAP stands for:
- Fermentable - Refers to foods that are broken down, or fermented by bacteria in the large bowel.
- Oligosaccharides - E.g. Fructans and galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
- Disaccharides - E.g. Lactose
- Monosaccharides - E.g. Excess Fructose
- Polyols - E.g. sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, polydextrose, and isomalt
These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in food, that can sometimes be poorly absorbed by the small intestine, becoming a food source to the bacteria within our large intestine. These bacteria then digest/ferment the unabsorbed FODMAPs, which can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal bloating and distension, excess wind (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.
Some* common foods that include the above molecules:
- Artichokes (Globe) and Artichokes (Jerusalem)
- Garlic (in large amounts)
- Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder)
- Spring Onion (white part)
- Wheat (in large amounts)
- Rye (in large amounts)
- Barley (in large amounts)
- Legume beans (eg. baked beans, kidney beans, borlotti beans)
- Milk (including condensed milk, evaporated milk, and milk powder)
- Soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, mascarpone).
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Sorbitol (420)
- Mannitol (421)
- Xylitol (967)
- Maltitol (965)
- Isomalt (953)
*The above list of foods and ingredients linked with the FODMAP diet is comprehensive, but is not all inclusive.