What is The Fodmap Diet?

A. FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable, Oligo- Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols, a group of carbohydrates, namely sugars and sugar alcohols, found in foods that may not be digested or absorbed well, causing gastrointestinal issues. The theory behind a low-FODMAP diet is to restrict or limit foods that fall into these categories, which may trigger symptoms.

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Recently celebrities, like Blake Lively, have followed this diet as a way to a flatter tummy. But before you jump on the bandwagon, it’s not a weight-loss or gluten-free diet—it’s specifically designed for people suffering from debilitating conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, severe diarrhea, gas, constipation, bloating and cramping. Following a low-FODMAP diet may not be that easy. You don’t just eliminate processed foods that contain obvious offenders like high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, but a long list of healthy foods rich in vital nutrients, such as low-fat dairy (cow’s milk, yogurt, cottage cheese), fruits (apples, peaches, pears, mangos), vegetables (artichokes, broccoli, garlic, mushrooms, onions), wheat, rye, foods with added fiber (inulin), lentils, beans and soy, for starters.

The good news is that you probably don’t have to avoid everything—you just need to find what works for your body. Although keeping a food journal can help, it’s recommended that you work with a licensed dietetic professional to develop a long-term plan that works with your lifestyle. And there are plenty of other foods such as fish, chicken, lean beef, bok choy, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, bananas, blueberries, melon, almond and/or rice milk, nuts, oats and quinoa that can be eaten without restriction.

While weight loss may be a byproduct of following a low-FODMAP diet, it isn’t a guarantee. Bottom line: Unless you suffer from these major gastro issues, stick to a regular diet filled with lean protein, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy for a healthier you.

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