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Food intolerances can cause a whole host of unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms. They result from the gut’s inability to digest certain foods normally.
One way to control food intolerances is to identify offending foods by going on an elimination diet, such as the low FODMAPs diet.
FODMAPs is an acronym for:
F – Fermentable
O – Oligosaccharides (kinds of sugars) in foods such as cereals, bread, biscuits, cakes, pasta
D – Disaccharides (lactose), for example, dairy foods
M – Monosaccharides (fructose) in fruit juice, honey, peas, jams, snack bars
A – and...
P – Polyols (sugar alcohols) found in fruits with stones and some vegetables, such as onions and leeks. Also found in artificial sweeteners and sugar-free gum
This diet eliminates certain foods that require specific enzymes to be digested. In the absence of these enzymes, these foods are poorly absorbed, leading to abdominal pain, gas, bloating, burping and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
An example is lactose intolerance, one of the most common types of food intolerance. Lactose intolerance is caused by partial or complete lack of the enzyme lactase which digests lactose. When lactose is not completely digested, it contributes to abdominal bloating, pain, gas and diarrhea, often occurring 30 minutes to two hours after consumption of milk or milk products.
You can assess your tolerance for foods high in FODMAPs by eliminating them for 6-8 weeks and then gradually reintroducing them to identify troublesome foods. You reintroduce one food every four days with a two-week break between bothersome foods. The goal is to identify the threshold at which you’re able to consume FODMAP-containing foods.
Here is a list of the compounds, found in certain foods, that are poorly absorbed and lead to symptoms.
Lactose---found in cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk, and their products.
Fructose---a carbohydrate found in fruit, honey, high-fructose corn syrup and agave syrup. Not all fructose-containing foods need to be eliminated on the FODMAPs diet.
Fructans---carbohydrates that are malabsorbed in the absence of an enzyme needed to break them down. Limit wheat, onions and garlic, along with other vegetables high in fructans.
Galactans---carbohydrates that require an enzyme for absorption. Found in beans and lentils.
Polyols---Known as sugar alcohols. Found naturally in some fruits and vegetables and added as sweeteners to sugar-free gums, mints, etc. Limit sugar alcohols, sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol and maltitol.
Refer to this webpage for a list of foods to eliminate on the FODMAPs diet:
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