What is FODMAP?
FODMAP stands for the 'Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyol (short chain carbohydrates) avoidance diet. In practice this means eating a diet that doesn't contain fructose, lactose, fructo- and galacto-oligosaccharides (fructans, and galactans), and polyols (such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol).
These short-chain carbohydrates are linked to IBS because they:
1. Rapidly ferment in the gut causing bloating and gas
2. Draw water in to the intestine and this can cause diarhhoea
3. Are poorly absorbed
Cutting food containing these carbohydrates out of the diet can help IBS symptoms. There is also some limited evidence that it might help those with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's and ulcerative colitis).
The FODMAP diet
If you are starting out on the diet I'd recommend seeing a dietician or doctor for advice. To begin you will need to avoid all FODMAP containing foods so this blog is full of recipes and tips to help you do that whilst still enjoying great tasting, healthy food. It might feel difficult at first but there are still alot of foods that can be eaten and you will get used to it. Remember it isn't a disaster if you slip up or have no choice but to eat FODMAP food - see how your symptoms are and try to avoid FODMAPs again for the rest of the day.
Once symptoms improve and settle you can start adding small amounts of FODMAP foods back to test tolerance. For example, adding a teaspoon of honey (fructose) to your breakfast. If symptoms don't appear after trialling this for 3 days then you can try using a little more or adding in another new food.