The Lowdown on 'Low Fodmap'

The Lowdown on 'Low Fodmap'

 In FOD we trust

In the UK, one in five—some 13 million people—quietly suffer debilitating symptoms of sensitive tummies or IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

 The low-Fodmap diet was pioneered by Australia’s Monash University and developed over the last two decades to counter IBS and its effects. It’s proved so effective that over two thirds of people who try it find instant relief. And it is the only diet routinely recommend by NHS doctors in the UK. (That's how I first found out about it!)

The Bottom Line

So what exactly is it? Put simply, the letters in FODMAP stand for four different kinds of poorly-digested sugars, short-chain carbs to be precise. These pass right through our digestive system (without collecting £200!*) till they end up in our large intestine. Here they become fermenting fodder for our gut bacteria to feast on, producing gas and sucking in extra water­—which for many of us become ideal conditions for classic IBS symptoms: nausea, bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhoea or constipation.

 What the Fruc?

Let’s look at these four groups briefly…

The F is Fructose, found in certain fruits, honey & syrups. Up to 40% of us malabsorb fructose when we eat too much of it, especially when it’s not counterbalanced by glucose. So from a Lo Fo perspective, for example, agave syrup is public enemy number one, whereas brown sugar ain’t so bad in the scheme of things. (Bet you never thought you’d hear that!?)

 The O is Oligosaccharides, which rather confusingly include ‘Fructans’. Oligos are  found in wheat, rye, onions, garlic, lentils and more. Hint: it may not be gluten you’re intolerant to, but fructans!

 The D is Disaccharides, mainly Lactose, found in milk and many milk products.

 And the P stands for Polyols, found in particular fruits and vegetables, and artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and mannitol.

 Happy gut

The main idea is first to eliminate all four of these from your diet over 2-6 weeks, preferably supervised by a dietician. Then once you’ve discovered which ones you’re especially sensitive to, you re-introduce the rest. And hey presto, happy gut!

That’s the revolutionary thing about ‘Lo Fo’. You don’t need to, and indeed shouldn’t, restrict your diet unnecessarily once you’ve worked out what triggers your symptoms. And there are many surprising things you can eat, like proper sourdough bread or garlic-infused oil even if you are oligo-sensitive.

 Word from our sponsor

The original focus at Joyfuel UK was to create great tasting, tummy-friendly treats. We even won an award at the UK Free From Food Awards last year for our one of our original low-Fodmap recipes, the precursor to the current Peanut Butter Tiffin.

 We’re still committed to only using ingredients that are gluten-free, 100% natural and plant-based (vegan). We still shun the worst offending syrups and binders. And though we’re not accredited with any fee-paying Lo Fo bodies, all our recipes carefully balance ingredients so they’re as tummy-friendly as they can be. So you can eat and treat without regret. Happy snacking!

[*Monopoly joke, geddit?]                                              © Joyful Foods Ltd 06 2020

 Photo credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels