What are FODMAPs?

The term FODMAP is an acronym, derived from "Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols". It is the generic term for certain kinds of short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed while they travel through the small intestine. Most of them reach the colon. As they have a very strong osmotic effect, they attract water molecules and counteract one of the main functions of the colon, which is absorbing water. The increased stool volume causes a feeling of discomfort and leads to loose stools or diarrhea. At the same time FODMAPs are readily fermented by the colonic microflora, which leads to an increased production of gas. The intake of large amounts of these carbohydrates may worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Onions FODMAPs

Lactose, fructose, sorbitol, fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides are grouped together under the term FODMAP. By reducing the intake of these compounds you can take off some stress of the digestive system and relieve symptoms. It is recommended to restrict them on a trial basis for several weeks to see if an improvement can be achieved. This dietary strategy can be used to manage symptoms, however, it is not a cure.

Histamine configuration
Sensitivities setup in the ”Food Intolerances” app.

Unfortunately, restricting the intake of FODMAPs also has downsides. Most of them selectively feed beneficial gut bacteria. Cutting down the intake of these so-called prebiotic substances may alter the composition of the intestinal microflora – to date, no one really knows what the long-term consequences of this diet are. Therefore, you should use a gentle approach and evaluate your tolerance level. By no means should you try to eliminate FODMAPs entirely from your diet – a certain amount is desirable. You can use the manifold setup options in our app to reintroduce foods you might tolerate without adverse reactions.

Image: Aurelien Guichard, https://flic.kr/p/hcrwY5 (
CC BY-SA 2.0)