Fodmaps, Fodmaps, Fodmaps and Galactans!
There’s a song here, I’m sure – one of those groups that performs for kids could make a fortune. They could dress up in fanstastic costumes – beans, grains, fruits and vegetables – and dance around while singing a witty – but educational – song. And because Fodmaps cause farts, it would be an instant hit with the kiddies – and their minders – because farts are always entertaining.
Unless they’re happening to you, and are accompanied by horrible smells, uncomfortable bloating, painful cramping, an elimination style that is either blocked or gushing, and any and all of this in public situations. Because all of these things indicate that something is not right with the digestive tract, and because the digestive tract forms the major part of the immune system, it’s possible that these are superficial signs of health issues which are – or which may become – far more serious concerns.
The digestive tract is a sensible and sensitive community comprising multitudes of bacteria. When these bacteria are balanced and living in harmony, all is good. But when environmental conditions encourage the overgrowth of certain bacteria, all hell breaks loose. The risk is not just a little gas between friends, but disturbances such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth).
FODMAPS are at the heart of the problem.
Beans are famously known for their FODMAPs, as the many versions of the cheeky children’s rhyme goes to show. We grew up with this one:
Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart
The more you eat, the more you fart
The more you fart, the better you feel
Beans, beans for every meal!
But joyfulness aside, FODMAPs are worth knowing about, especially if you feel like your system is disrupted.
FODMAPs are Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. They’re short-chain carbohydrates and alcohols (sugars). The problem is that they are poorly absorbed in the small intestine – and this is true for everyone. The intestinal bacteria feed off them, producing hydrogen which ferments them, and the fermentation produces gas and distension of the intestinal lumen. Uncomfortable (and anti-social) consequences include bloating, horrible smells, constipation, diarrhea, and, over time, IBS and SIBO.
Oligosaccharides include Fructans and Galactans.
Fructans are found in wheat, rye, barley, onion, garlic, Jerusalem and globe artichoke, asparagus, beetroot, chicory, dandelion, leek, radicchio, the white part of spring onion, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, fennel and in some probiotics.
Galactans are found in pulses and beans, including kidney beans, lima beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils.
Disaccharides include Lactose, found in dairy products.
Monosaccharides include Fructose. Food with a high fructose content (specifically, a greater ratio of fructose to glucose) include apples, pears, fruit juice, watermelon, dried fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar.
Polyols include Sorbitol, Xylitol and Mannitol. These are artificial sweeteners, but are also found naturally in fruits, including apples, apricots, avocados, peaches, pears, plums and watermelon, and in vegetables such as cauliflower and mushrooms.
I find this list of high FODMAP foods overwhelming. Like, it’s not enough to eliminate cereals and grains, refined sugars and alcohol, vegetable oils and dairy. With the AIP, add to that eggs, nightshades, seeds, nuts, seed-derived spices, chocolate and coffee. But if digestive issues persist, it’s a good idea to also reduce the FODMAPS.
Overwhelming, but also so interesting. What’s absolutely brilliant about an elimination diet is that things start to become much, much clearer. If that bloated, blocked feeling or those cramps are not being caused by caffeine, vegetable oils or cheese, then maybe it was the pears at breakfast, or the fried plantains at lunch. With just two or three potential culprits, the mystery is so much easier to resolve.
For us, it’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it. Yes, there were drammatic improvements to our health when we turned Paleo, but it’s the long term things that we’re discovering that is really firing our enthusiasm. We put two-and-two together and realised that Fiorenzo breaks out in cold-sores if we cook with pastured butter, so now that’s off the menu. For me, my inflammation levels have greatly reduced, but I still have intestinal issues, so it’s the FODMAP thing which is interesting me. Some things are fermenting in my insides, and knowing what they are, and what to avoid, is opening the path to a more comfortable future.
FODMAP Free Printable
Grab my FODMAP Free Printable – an at-a-glance guide to what’s in, what’s out, and what can be consumed in moderation.
Have you had FODMAP issues, and have you managed to resolve them? I would love to hear of your experiences. How long did it take?
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Best Wishes, Good Health and Happiness