Wellness Wednesday: Tummy troubles? You may want to try the low FODMAP Diet

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 19:52:05-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Do you or a loved one live with constant stomach pain? If you feel like you've tried everything, you may want to consider a low FODMAP diet.

FODMAP has become a diet buzzword recently, and most people aren't quite sure what it is.  Dietitians caution that the low FODMAP diet isn’t for everyone, but if done correctly it can potentially help with digestive problems. The low FODMAP diet should be started only with supervision from a medical professional — or it can make a complicated situation even worse.

What are FODMAPs?

The low FODMAP diet is intended to help people identify which foods trigger problematic digestive symptoms. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides disaccharides monosaccharide and polyols. These are small chain carbohydrates (sugars and fibers – starches, fruit, vegetables, and dairy) that sometimes cannot be absorbed well in the small intestine.

What FODMAP is and what it is not:

- It is a tool to help people who have digestive issues to discover triggers.
- It is a learning diet, not a forever diet.
- It is not intended for weight loss.
- It should not be done without regular medical supervision. Please do not self-diagnose.

Often, adopting a low FODMAP diet on your own or for weight loss further complicates and already challenging issue. Please do not do this without regular medical supervision, preferably from a dietitian.

If you’re having digestive issues, try doing these things first:
- Manage stress
- Increase fluid intake
- Increase physical activity.

If you still have problems, and you don’t have a diagnosis, contact a medical professional.

FODMAP is a good option for certain conditions. Here’s how it works:

- Eliminate high FODMAP foods to assess if FODMAP-rich foods are contributing to gastro-intestinal symptoms. This should be limited to 2-6 weeks. Eliminating these foods for longer periods of time can cause long-term problems.
- Reintroduce high FODMAP foods in a methodical way, with the help of a registered dietitian, to assess your own tolerance level. Remember, everyone’s gastro-intestinal system is different, so it is important to work with a dietitian so you can receive the diet specialized to your gut.

How to get help:

This is a fairly complicated diet plan. If your physician recommends a low FODMAP diet, you should meet with a registered dietitian before starting. Dietitians can give you resources and expertise to make the process easier and more effective.

For more information, visit Intermountain Healthcare Nutrition Services.