The FODMAP diet is pretty popular - so how does it work?
What is the FODMAP diet?
The diet involves cutting out a group of carbs called FODMAPs, which is the shortened name given to fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.
These carbohydrates are fermented in the gut by bacteria, but for some people who suffer from IBS, the FODMAPs aren’t absorbed properly and can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, pain, gas and sudden changes in bowel movements.
It’s thought that 45% of people actually struggle to digest FODMAPs, but the symptoms are normally associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Sufferers are usually asked by their doctors to follow the diet for no more than eight weeks and cut out FODMAPs before slowly reintroducing each type of food to try and identify which of the FODMAPs triggers the symptoms.
Because everyone is different, it might be one or several of the FODMAPs that affects you, so it could take a little working out.
What can’t I eat if I follow the FODMAP diet?
Unfortunately there is quite a large list of FODMAPs, which are what anyone following the diet needs to cut out. But some of the main FODMAPs that crop up in many foods are
- other dairy foods like custard and ice cream
Once a person starts to understand which foods affect their IBS the most, they can tailor the diet to suit them. The idea is to cut out the foods to allow good bacteria to grow in your gut again.
So what can I eat if I follow the FODMAP diet?
Never fear – there are still plenty of delicious foods you can eat if you need to follow this kind of diet!
You can still eat a huge amount of vegetables and and fruit, as well as lots of meats, fish and seafood, and diary.
A short list includes:
- Certain plant-based milks (such as almond, oat and rice)
- Wheat and gluten free breads
- Canned tuna
- Fresh fish
- Beef, chicken, lamb and pork
- Bean sprouts
But, if the idea of cutting out such a large group of foods leaves you a little lost for recipe inspiration, here is a collection of recipes to get you started. So you’ve got at least one breakfast, lunch and dinner covered.
FODMAP diet recipes
Here are a few of our favourite things to help keep the uncomfortable symptoms of IBS at bay.
FODMAP breakfast idea: Spinach smoothie pancakes with homemade hazelnut spread and strawberries
These tasty homemade pancakes are a real breakfast treat, so you’ll hardly remember you’re on a special diet at all. Load them up with hazelnut spread and a good helping of strawberries and tuck in for a hearty breakfast.
FODMAP diet lunch idea: Buckwheat risotto with macadamia cream
This creamy risotto is FODMAP-free thanks to the use of buckwheat groats rather than traditional carby risotto grains. With a base of aubergines and spring greens, it’s full of healthy veggies while the macadamia cream makes it extra indulgent tasting.
Get the recipe: Buckwheat risotto with macadamia cream
FODMAP diet dinner idea: Lightened up lasagne
Everyone loves lasagne, but thanks to the use of butternut squash instead of pasta, this version of the Italian classic is super tasty but doesn’t have a hint of FODMAP in sight. In fact, it’s even lighter than the original in terms of fats and calories, so it’s a great slimming alternative.
Get the recipe: Lightened up lasagne
FODMAP diet snack idea: Passion fruit cupcakes
Just because you’re cutting out certain carbs, doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to a sweet snack or two. These FODMAP-friendly passion fruit cupcakes are packed with fruity flavour, so your sweet tooth will be well and truly satisfied.
Get the recipe: Passion fruit cupcakes
The nature of the FODMAP diet means that you may have to take some time to work out what’s right for you and your body. If you have uncomfortable symptoms then it’s best to see your doctor to work out a professionally-advised plan.
Got a tip or trick for other FODMAP followers? Leave us in a comment in the box below to let us know!