Have you been regularly experiencing digestive issues such as abdominal pain, bloating and distension, nausea, diarrhoea and/or constipation? Have you tried swapping to a gluten free diet and found that your symptoms improved?
You may have even been tested for Coeliac Disease but come back with a negative result. Why would gluten be causing such a problem for you then? Is it all just in your head?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Your doctor may have mentioned a suspicion of irritable bowel syndrome if tests for other diseases/disorders came back negative. What we have been learning recently is that many of us react to certain forms of carbohydrate found in may of the foods we eat, including wheat products.
For this reason symptoms can improve quite a bit when following a gluten free diet, although may not go away completely if you are still consuming FODMAP’s from other food/beverage sources.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols. While this is quite a mouthful, essentially it just refers to certain types of sugars that are broken down by gut bacteria.
About a third of the population will react to one of more of these sugars, experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms.
Which foods contain FODMAPs?
Some foods high in FODMAPs include garlic, onion, baked beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, peas, many different types of fruit, wheat containing breads, pasta, biscuits, cakes, honey, jam, beer, and fruit juice to name a few.
Low FODMAP diet
Luckily if you have been experiencing these kinds of symptoms for a long time, and are hoping for some relief, there is a low FODMAP diet that you can trial. It best to work with a dietitian to formulate a meal plan that works for you and to ensure you are meeting your nutritional requirements.
You may need to follow a low FODMAP diet for 8 weeks before reintroducing some FODMAP foods to see which types you react to and which you can tolerate (if any). You can find more information on following a low FODMAP diet here.
The effect on weight loss
While following a low FODMAP diet is not guaranteed to result in weight loss if you are choosing too much of the wrong types of food, it may make weight loss easier in other ways. Not having to worry about needing to run to the bathroom in the middle of a workout may make group exercise sessions more enjoyable.
Reduced bloating and abdominal distension can help make you appear trimmer around the midsection, and which could help improve confidence and positive self image. You may also be able to include more low FODMAP fruits/vegetables in your diet that you were previously avoiding, making your diet healthier.
Whether a low FODMAP diet effects your weight or not, if you haven been experiencing chronic IBS symptoms the relief you may feel in being able to manage your symptoms might just allow you to focus more on other areas of your life, such as getting healthy and fit!