There are times when the food you have in the mornings does more harm than good. These foods create problems for you throughout the day.
So much that you’ll take them even to the evening. Then you start to think of the meals you take as the cause of the problem. After going to the toilet, you feel better.
But that is just for a while, as the discomfort would find its way back. You might be thinking it is diarrhea, whereas it might be your FODMAP intolerance.
How can you control the FODMAP diet? How can you regulate these meals to fit your digestive tract? And how can low FODMAP diet help with SIBO.
What Is Low FODMAP?
First, we need to understand the meaning of FODMAP. FODMAP is a simple acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. Okay, let us leave the complex stuff for the Doctors.
All the above are just different kinds of sugar found in the food you eat. For example, you start your day with a box of cereal and milk (not a box, maybe a bowl). The food is broken down into units of sugar and protein in your body.
We have different types of sugar gotten from food-Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, etc. The milk in your meal is the only FERMENTABLE sugar when broken down. Hold on, what about the disaccharides and monosaccharides? These two do not have any bad reactions in healthy people at times.
However, lactose and fructose in these carbohydrates can lead to health problems.
But we are talking about sugar. Not carbohydrates, right? Well. Just know that most carbs are broken down into sugar glucose.
What are SIBO and IBS?
Have you ever experienced painful bloating, irregular bowel movements? Constipation and diarrhea? Fatigue? Reflux? Excessive gas and some abdominal issues? Overall is your digestion system treating you badly?
So what really is SIBO, and how can we treat it? Okay, let us learn about normal digestion. When you chew, or you swallow your food.
A train of acid in your stomach starts work immediately. There are amino acids that start killing unwanted bacteria.
The food journeys through the system and makes its way to the small intestine. The acid becomes neutralized, and the digestive enzyme breaks down the meal. Whatever is leftover is the fiber, and some undigested material finds its way to the colon for excretion.
There are two places in your body system taking part in this horrible process. The Bowel (large intestine) or the small intestine. If it happens in the large intestine, we call it IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
But if it happens in the small intestine, it is known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Now, we have established the terminologies. We can heave a sigh of relief.
There are several ways to diagnose SIBO. However, one of the very best is testing the fluid in the small intestine. Also known as Jejunal aspirate.
After getting the fluid, they grow the bacteria found in this fluid to create an estimate of the number of bacteria present. If the number is high, then they know that there is a possibility that the bacteria in the body is high too.
Another non-invasive method for diagnosing SIBO is Hydrogen breath testing. It is as simple as it sounds. This particular breath for SIBO is available for glucose or lactose test.
However, these tests have their limitations. They are not specific and sensitive enough to describe what is going on. Meaning that there is a possibility that you get a false result. Worse, different testing centers or health institutions use different procedures since there is no specific way to diagnose SIBO.
How Can You Treat SIBO With Low FODMAP?
Sometimes after the antibiotic treatment, a low FODMAP diet is employed to prevent re-occurring situations.
Why? The FODMAP diet is based on the theory that it reduces your intake of fermentable carbohydrates. The FODMAP diet ‘starves’ the bacteria in the small intestine. However, this is just a theory. We have no study to back it up.
The FODMAP Diet
The FODMAP diet implementation is in three stages. And this process aims to overcome FODMAP intolerance. FODMAP, FODMAP.
What is the diet? When going into the FODMAP diet, you stay away from foods prone to fermentation by the bacteria in the gut. How your digestive system works is peculiar to your personality and your food intake.
What does the FODMAP diet entail? You’ll modify your meal size. You’ll also modify the amount of alcohol and fat in your meals.
Furthermore, you’ll have to understand the role of caffeine in your body. Next, you’ll increase your food intake with fiber and much water.
The aim of all these is to regulate your digestive system. This process would result in a lifestyle change. You’ll need to exercise more or start exercising (if you’ve not been doing that before).
And proper sleep and sunlight to are also very important. You’ll also be required to stay away from foods like wheat and rye products.
Furthermore, you wouldn’t be allowed to eat all kinds of fruits as you’ll need to stay clear from apricots, peaches, cherries, prunes, watermelons, beets, artichokes. And even some other cruciferous vegetables. The diet doesn’t support the consumption of garlic, leek, peas, barley, onions and even some nuts. Lentils, chickpeas, mushrooms and other artificial sweeteners are not allowed too.
You’ll be encouraged to consume tofu, some special kinds of legumes and quinoa too.
Symptoms That You Are FODMAP intolerant
When the FODMAP is not absorbed properly in the small intestine, the level of fluid present in the large intestine would automatically increase. The result leads to an increase in the amount of gas produced.
What are the signs that you are already consuming high FODMAP foods?
- The Gas
- The Pain
- FODMAP Bloating
- That feeling of fullness after you’ve just eaten a meagre amount of food.
- Pain in the abdominal region
Who should try the FODMAP diet?
This diet can be challenging. The first part is the most restrictive stage. The most important thing is that you shouldn’t go into this diet without your Doctor’s or dietician’s recommendation.
Contrary to popular belief, this diet is not for people underweight. The FODMAP diet can be utilized for weight loss because you’ll be eliminating many meals.
And for an individual who is looking to add weight or underweight, it might be dangerous. This is why you must go into this diet under the observation of your nutritionist or doctor.
Making The FODMAP Diet Personal To You
Studies are still ongoing about this diet. And even at Monash University in Australia, people are still testing foods within this diet. The diet is relatively new, unlike Keto and the rest.
This means that as time moves, new research will surface. New developments and new testing methods.
Now, you have the choice to discover your unique tolerance level to some of these foods. Can you cope with these foods? The low FODMAP diet is here to guide you. Until now, people keep learning what they can eat and what they cannot without actually knowing ‘why?’ especially Fructose malabsorption patients.
The thing is that these foods do not immediately affect you. What this means is that the symptoms at times are slow. The symptoms can start days after eating, making it add to knowing the problem’s source. Then the symptoms would start later on and even end some days later.
Now, you can find yourself in a cycle where symptoms override themselves. This means that you’ll keep on experiencing symptoms of FODMAP intolerance continuously. A process like this creates accumulative effects.
You have to figure out your meal plan. You’ll have to make the FODMAP diet yours. And the first thing you’ll do is create a journal and record every meal you’re taking. Drinks and medications are inclusive.
Anything is going into your body through your mouth. With this, you would recognize a pattern. Your job is to know whether the pattern is favorable or not.
And you can know that by the reaction of your bowels. In total, you’ll learn to avoid some food that causes gas, like onions. Then you understand the importance of good fruits, especially ones containing excess fructose combined with polyols like apples and pears.
Conclusively, you need to understand that the response of a FODMAP diet is associated with some factors unique to the patient. Factors like demographics, metabolism and even microbiome composition. However, there are large factors according to various studies.
Furthermore, lifestyle factors can help, like spacing out your meal and reducing stress with yoga. All these and many more eradicates the risk of food poisoning. Like every other diet, the FODMAP diet has to do with a lifestyle change.