WHAT are FODMAPS?
The term FODMAPS is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. They are a collection of poorly absorbed simple and complex sugars that are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables and also in milk and wheat. After digestion of a meal, they pass through the stomach and small intestine unchanged and are either fermented by colonic bacteria releasing gas or expelled together with fluid. Thus in people with a sensitive gut of IBS, they can causes symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
NB: The bacterial populations of the colon require carbohydrates to remain healthy. Over-restriction can cause adverse changes to bowel and general health.
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How do FODMAPs affect my sensitive bowel?
Poorly absorbed sugars pass through the small intestine and enter the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria, releasing gas, which stretches the sensitive bowel causing bloating, wind and pain. Fructose, lactose and polyols tend to retain water in the bowel and may result loose motions and diarrhoea.
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What foods contain FODMAPs?
- Some Vegetables. Onions and garlic, pulses (peas, beans and lentils) and brassicas (cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and sprouts) can tend to generate a lot of gas. Beetroot can tend to make the bowels loose.
- Wheat may also be a problem in some people. Link to paper on The Problem with Wheat.
- Fruits. Stone fruits (such as plums, prunes, peaches, nectarines, apricots.) Apples and pears. Fruit juice concentrate.
- Milk and dairy products containing lactose. This only applies to people who are lactase deficient.
- Some sweets. Sorbitol in chewing gum and sugar free mints. High fructose corn syrup (used as a sweetener in many drinks, ready meals)