Are FOMAPs Cramping You Up?

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It’s an uncomfortable word to say and an even more uncomfortable word to feel, and that word is “bloated”. 

This nagging, gnawing and sometimes sharp pain which radiates up through your abdomen is something millions of people face daily due to difficulty digesting certain food items they consume. 

You may be wondering, yea but I eat healthy so how am I included in this cluster? Well just because the foods you eat are “healthy” that doesn’t mean they are always easy to digest. 

In this article we will be discussing the foods that could be the cause of your tummy troubles as well as the foods you should be choosing moving forward to lessen your digestive upset. 

The foods likely causing your digestive upset are high in what is called FODMAPs which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.. I will spare you the long explanation of these terms but if you read “fermentable” and immediately thought “bubbles” you were on the right track. 

FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that ferment in the large intestine during digestion, drawing in water and producing carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane gas that cause the intestines to expand. Aka “bloated”.

Let’s start with identifying the primary food items high in FODMAPs so you know which foods to avoid. 

Naughty list, foods high in FODMAPs which you should steer clear of

Vegetables 

Onions, Garlic, Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Celery, Brussel Sprouts 

Fruits 

Peaches, Apricots, Nectarines, Plums, Prunes, Mangoes, Apples, Pears 

Wheat and Rye

Breads, Cereals, Pastas, Crackers, Pizza 

Dairy Products Containing Lactose 

Milk, Soft Cheese, Yogurt, Ice Cream 

Artificial & Natural Sweeteners 

High fructose Corn Syrup, Honey, Agave Nectar, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Maltitol, Mannitol 

Drinks 

Alcohol, Artificially Flavored Beverages 

Legumes 

Baked Beans, Butter Beans, Split Peas, Lima Beans 

If you read through the naughty list and identified foods you consume on a regular basis then that may serve as evidence that you are having difficulty digesting foods high in FODMAPs.

Now we will transition into the nice list which are the foods you should be reaching for! 

Nice List, Foods Low in FODMAPs 

Vegetables 

Alfalfa Sprouts, Carrots, Green Beans, Bok Choy, Cucumber, Lettuce, Zucchini, Ginger, Potatoes, Parsnips, Tomato

Fruits 

Avocado, Arugula, Oranges, Grapes, Cantaloupe, Banana, Blueberries, Kiwi, Oranges, Strawberries, Spinach 

Low Lactose or Lactose Free Dairy

Feta Cheese, cheddar cheese, Brie 

Meats 

Chicken, Fish, Eggs, Beef 

Grains 

Rice, Oats, Quinoa, Corn 

Drinks 

Tea, Coffee, Water

Nuts & Seeds 

Almonds, Macadamia nuts, Peanuts and Pine Nuts 

Remember, just because a food is low in FODMAPs it doesn’t mean you should test your limits on how many handfuls of almonds you can gulp down while watching your favorite shows before bed. You will need to play around with how much of each item in the Nice List that you can handle. 

Thus far, you know what you should eat and what you should stay away from but now you may be wondering “so does this mean I can never have my favorite baked beans at the cookout from here on out?” The answer is no, you can enjoy your favorite backyard bqq side dish and hopefully very soon. 

The purpose of the low FODMAPs diet is to give your digestive system a break because it could be a little worn out from all the high FODMAP foods you’ve been eating. You may need to stick to a low FODMAPs diet anywhere from two weeks to two months before you start to experience a decrease in your digestive upset symptoms. However, once your symptoms start to lessen, that is when you may start reintroducing foods from the “naughty list” and test what your digestive system can handle.

Printing the Naughty and Nice list can serve as a useful tool as you start to tailor you diet. It may take some time to get use to this new diet but it is well worth the avoidance of the tummy troubles none of us like to deal with.

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Patty Martin

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Have you found the right weight loss solution for you, yet? You can! Together, we’ll resolve your past weight loss struggles, transform your energy and health and you will look and feel your best. I truly enjoy helping my clients to reach her or his most desired goals. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I can help you become all you want to be and more.


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