What is A Low Fodmap Diet?


Guest Blog by Nutritionist
Rob Hobson
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that Protein’s Blissful Raw Cacao Organic Super Protein has just become the first and only certified low fodmap protein powder in the U.K.  But what is a low fodmap diet and how can it help you ?

 It’s a no brainer that diet is closely linked to good health and that the food we eat can influence our risk of disease as well as impacting on mood and other factors which dictate how we feel on a day-to-day basis. 

Your gut and the bacteria that reside in it (your microbiota) have been shown to play a huge role in health.  This is where the magic happens as food is broken down and nutrients are assimilated and delivered around the body.  Research is beginning to show how the diversity of bacteria in the gut have many other roles that may impact on wider aspects of health which include mood, body weight and sleep.

Digestives issues such as bloating, cramps, diarrhoea and constipation are not uncommon but if these symptoms are chronic and long-lasting then you may be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This condition is closely linked to stress and is thought to affect a fifth of people at some point in their life, especially women and people in their 20s and 30s. 

If poor digestion is affecting your quality of life, then you may have stumbled across the Low FODMAP diet which was developed in Australia and has been shown to be very successful in the treatment of IBS. 

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The acronym FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.  These are types of carbohydrates which are poorly absorbed and make their way to the large intestine where they are fermented by gut bacteria. This can cause excess gas and diarrhoea as water is dragged into the gut contributing to swelling and the need to visit the bathroom. 

Before embarking on a low FODMAP diet it is important that you visit your GP to help diagnose whether IBS is the reason for your gut symptoms.  After this you will need to seek the help of a dietitian trained in this diet which involves eliminating foods by group  then reintroducing them to help establish any trigger foods.

The ‘offending’ sugars and fibres include lactose, fructose, polyols, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and prebiotic ingredients such as fructans and inulin. 

Foods including these components which are not permitted on a LOWFODMAP diet include:

Lactose 

All milk, yoghurt and cream.  Certain cheese are allowed such as feta, brie and mozzarella. 

Fructose 

Foods including all sweeteners (table sugar, honey, agave), raisins, apples, pears, mango, watermelon, avocado, plums and grapefruit.

Polyols 

Found naturally in foods such as apples, apricots, avocados, pears, prunes, watermelon, cauliflower and mushrooms.  These sugar alcohols are also found in artificial sweeteners such as isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, xylitol and sorbitol.

Fructans and inulin

These are found in wheat rye, barley, onion, garlic artichoke asparagus chicory, leek, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and fennel. 

All pulses and beans 

This includes red kidney beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, black beans.

 

Low FODMAP food essentials (vegan)

These are just some of the foods you may want to include in your weekly food shop:

Protein foods – tofu, tempeh, canned lentils*, Vegan Quorn mince**, canned chickpeas*** and That protein Blissful Raw Cacao that’s (first and only FODMAP certified protein powder in U.K.)

Fruit – berries, bananas, kiwi, citrus fruits, pineapple, papaya

Veggies – peppers, carrots, aubergine, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, courgette 

Nuts  and seeds – all nuts and seeds but no more than 1 small handful per sitting.

Oils – extra virgin olive oil – coconut OK for some cooking (flavour)

Dried herbs and spices – try to add to any and every dish

Green, mint or ginger tea.

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Low FODMAP meal ideas 

Understanding what you can and cannot include when following the FODMAP diet is one thing, but you still need to turn these foods into nourishing meals.  Here are few ideas of what to eat across the day on the FODMAP diet. 

 

Breakfast 

 

  • Oats (gluten-free) either made into porridge or cold soaked using a fortified plant-based drink (nut, soya or oat) topped with berries and small handful of chopped nuts.
  • Scrambled tofu with chopped red peppers and cherry tomatoes.
  • Include a That Protein Blissful Raw Cacao shake. 

 

Lunch 

 

  • Roasted carrot, beetroot, red pepper and canned lentil* salad. 
  • Greek salad made with cucumber, red peppers, lettuce, olives, Vegan feta cheese alternative (Greek White Block) toasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil and lemon juice, gluten free wrap (sliced).
  • Sweet potato ‘jacket’ topped with ratatouille (peppers, courgettes, olives, tomatoes, chickpeas) 

 

Evening meal 

 

  • Stir-fry made using beansprouts, bamboo shoots, broccoli, courgette and tofu breast served with quinoa.
  • Quorn chilli made with Quorn mince**, red peppers, diced sweet potato, canned chickpeas ***, courgette, dried oregano, ground cumin, chopped tomatoes, fresh chives and coriander.  Serve with basmati rice.
  • Vegan curry made with aubergine and canned butter beans****

 

*Canned best option and no more than 50g (1/2 cup) per serving.

**Check the label as some versions contain onion.

***Canned best option and no more than 40g (1/4 cup) per serving.

****Canned best option and no more than 60g (1/4 cup)per serving. 

 

Following a low FODMAP diet may really help if you are struggling with gut issues especially if they are related to IBS.  There are many foods restricted on this diet and it does work in stages of elimination which is why it is easier to do with someone trained in the low FODMAP diet such as a dietitian or registered nutritionist. 

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