Information on the low FODMAP diet
Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols (FODMAPs) are short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. They can be found in a range of different foods:
- Oligo-saccharides: e.g. fructans (found in wheat, rye and some vegetables) and galacto-oligosaccharides (found in pulses and legumes)
- Di-saccharides: e.g. lactose (found in mammalian milk)
- Mono-saccharides: e.g. free fructose (found in honey, some fruit and fruit juices)
- Polyols: e.g. sorbitol and mannitol (found in some fruits and vegetables).
A diet low in FODMAPs is an effective treatment for gut symptoms such as bloating, wind, abdominal pain and an altered bowel habit. The low FODMAP diet was developed by a team at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. It has been successfully adapted to the UK by researchers at King’s College London and implemented at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in London.
Why might FODMAPs affect my gut symptoms?
Once ingested, some FODMAPs do not get absorbed in the small intestine. They increase in the amount of water in the small intestine which may contribute to loose stools. They also pass along the gut to the large intestine where there are billions of bacteria which ferment them. This fermentation may result in gas production and symptoms such as wind and bloating. Reducing the intake of FODMAPs has been shown to improve gut symptoms in most people with functional bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).