If you’ve had enough of fad diets and well marketed but hard to implement programs that promise the world but fail to deliver any real results, then maybe it’s time to consider something a little more scientific. You’ve probably heard of FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) diets before; created for sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and also people experiencing mild to extreme bloating. The premise is unique in that it is based in scientific research rather than simply being designed to sound credible.
A FODMAP diet is about removing certain foods from your diet. These foods have been found to be difficult for the body to process and as a result are sent into the intestines and bowel relatively unscathed by stomach acids. This means that the body attempts to break down food while it sits in the intestines, and fermentation results. Then you have swelling, bloating and potentially more severe symptoms – all could have been avoided through not eating a certain type of food.
What are High FODMAP Foods? (to avoid)
There are plenty of lists that will show you all the food you should avoid, but the western diet has a couple of traditional culprits.
Garlic and Onion
Prevalent in many dishes, these two seemingly innocent additions to a meal are responsible for bloating and that strange uncomfortable feeling you get following a meal. You may think you are full or lethargic from eating too much, but it’s likely that at least some of that lethargy can be attributed to garlic or onion.
The FODMAP diet advocates reducing fructose which the body has trouble processing. Of course, we have been told by doctors that fruit is packed with vitamins and we should eat a reasonable amount to get our daily allocation. Bananas are a major culprit, but apples and oranges also cause problems. Obviously, you still need to maintain your vitamin intake so keep that in mind, but limit the amount of fruit you eat.
Cereals, Grains and Bread
Bread is the cornerstone of many people’s diets. It’s cheap, easy to access and is a simple way to eat a meal quickly. But wheat, grains and cereals are probably the most important foods to remove from your diet. Not only do they cause problems from a digestive point of view in that your body has to work hard to process them, but that effort also diverts energy from other areas of the body, often causing an energy slump. If you eat a lot of bread then it is likely you enjoy the feeling of being, “full,” and eat until you achieve this feeling. Interestingly, science is telling us that the pursuit of this state of fullness is less about being full than it is about the energy slump.
The lethargy that comes with FODMAP foods causes high levels of relaxation. Being addicted to this feeling can mean overconsumption, weight gain and a lack of energy to a point where it impacts on your ability to be productive. In the same way that a glass of wine can relax your brain, if you are impacted, bread can offer similar relief.
Removing these foods from your diet takes planning and discipline, but from personal experience, I can say that it has the potential to be transformational.
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