Understanding the Low-FODMAP Diet


Posted By Author on June 29, 2023

When it comes to taking care of your gut, you’ve probably heard a lot of buzzwords or advice floating around about diets and wonder which one is right for your needs. The low-FODMAP diet is one you may have seen float across your screen as you scroll through social media or while researching diets on your own time. 

The low-FODMAP diet was designed to ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small-intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO). Charleston GI doctors are here to help you find the right diet to make your gut feel its best.

Keep reading to learn more about the low-FODMAP diet, then talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you!        

male with upset stomach, need Low-FODMAP Diet    

What is the Low-FODMAP Diet?

The low-FODMAP diet is a highly restrictive diet used to help patients with IBS and SIBO determine which foods trigger your symptoms. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. FODMAPs are a specific class of carbohydrates referred to as fermentable short-chain carbohydrates. For some, this class of carbohydrates can be difficult to digest.

With this diet, you can discover which foods are triggers and which foods you can tolerate so you know what you can keep in your regular diet. The low-FODMAP diet is used as a discovery tool for GI doctors and dieticians, and it is not a diet that anyone should be on for long periods of time or without doctor instruction.

Foods to Avoid on the Low-FODMAP Diet   

Once your doctor has suggested the low-FODMAP diet to tackle your unhappy gut, they’ll suggest eliminating foods that are high in FODMAPs. Some examples include:

–       Asparagus

–       Mushrooms

–       Onions

–       Garlic

–       Apples

–       Dried fruit

–       Watermelon

–       Peaches

–       Milk

–       Soy milk

–       Ice cream

–       Cashews

–       Pistachios

–       High fructose corn syrup

–       Wheat/rye/barley breads

–       Breakfast cereals

–       Biscuits      

Benefits of the Low-FODMAP Diet   

If you’re struggling with symptoms of IBS and SIBO, the low-FODMAP diet can help you gain a better understanding of what is triggering your symptoms. These symptoms can include gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and/or constipation.

You’ll first eliminate foods high in FODMAPs. After you start the low-FODMAP diet, you’ll begin to notice your symptoms improving. Most IBS or SIBO sufferers will experience reduced pain, discomfort, improved bowel movements – including less instances of diarrhea, and less bloating. You may even notice emotional benefits like improved mood, lowered stress levels, and less anxiety as an unhappy gut can certainly be stressful and often affects your overall mood. 

Once your symptoms improve, you’ll be able to start reintroducing foods back into your diet. The good news is there’s a chance you’ll still get to enjoy some of your favorite foods! 

Drawbacks of the Low-FODMAP Diet  

While the low-FODMAP diet can help you identify what’s triggering your symptoms, there are some drawbacks to be aware of. As mentioned, the low-FODMAP diet can be restrictive. Since it does involve eliminating many nutrient-rich foods, it’s important to only follow this diet with your doctor’s orders. 

In the first stage of this diet, you can expect your symptoms to greatly improve. Unfortunately, the low-FODMAP diet isn’t a permanent fix. Since this diet is very restrictive and you’ll need to add back some of these foods to meet nutritional requirements, you may have some symptoms reappear. The reintroduction phase of the diet will help pinpoint which foods are causing the most symptoms, but in the long run, you’ll have to focus on managing symptoms through lowering your intake rather than eliminating high-FODMAP foods for good. 

Questions? Contact Charleston GI Today!

It’s easy to get overloaded with information when you search the internet for ways to help your gut.

That’s why Charleston GI is here! Our board-certified gastroenterologists are experienced in a wide variety of conditions and know just how to help you manage your IBS and SIBO symptoms. If you think the low-FODMAP diet could work for you, let our team provide you with the knowledge and information to live comfortably and keep your gut happy!

We have four convenient Charleston area locations to choose from, in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Carnes Crossroads and Summerville.

Charleston GI doctors are ready 5 days a week to offer you medical relief. There’s no referral needed, so schedule your appointment today, with Charleston GI!