What is FODMAP?

What is FODMAP? The answer is very simple: FODMAP describes all groups of carbohydrates. The term FODMAP origins in the English language and is an abbreviation for the following words:

Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols.

With this, the different groups of carbohydrates which are contained in our foods are meant.

Oligosaccharides are multiple sugars. The concentration of those is especially high in wheat as well as in pulse such as beans, peas and lentils.

Disaccharides, the so-called double sugars, are found in the lactose of dairy products like milk. Another type of double sugars is saccharose. This is the term for the sugar we use in our daily life for baking or sweetening our meals.

Monosaccharides, the simple sugars, are found as fructose in all types of fruit. Fructose is usually contained in these. However, caution is advised, as honey also consists of fructose. The concentration is very high in honey and apples.

Polyols are sugar alcohols. They are found in dietary products and other foods that are sugar-free. Examples of polyols are sorbitol, maltitol and xylitol.

Frusano will explain below what FODMAP is and how it affects the human body.

What are FODMAPs and how do they affect the digestive tract?

What are FODMAPs and how do they affect a patient suffering from intolerance?

FODMAP have surprisingly high effects in our digestive tract. In a healthy human body, all kinds of food move through our whole digestive tract. They mix with different gastric juices in order to corrode them. The nutrients coming of the foods are absorbed by our body. The leftovers, however, will be excreted in our bowel movement.

All these FODMAPs are processed in our small intestine. Nevertheless, the small intestine is not able to consume all types of carbohydrates. It just cannot offer all nutrients to the body. The reasons for this fact are of different nature.

Some affected people do not have a so-called transport molecule; others show a lack of enzymes. The mechanism going on in the body of food intolerant people is still the same, though. Instead of being processed in the small intestine, the carbohydrates reach the colon. There, bacteria decompose the carbs. During the process of fermentation, gases are produced. Typically, those gases are responsible for flatulence.

Polyols, the sugar alcohol, cannot take part of a healthy metabolism either. They are, just like the other types of carbohydrates, processed in the colon. A problem occurring with the substances that are part of the fermentation is that they attract water. This can cause diarrhea or constipation, the typical symptoms of food intolerances.

Change of diet in case of intolerances

Now that we know what FODMAP is, the question arises how an intolerance of those carbohydrates can be compensated.

A change of one’s diet is an alternative. The FODMAP concept is based on the experience of lactose and fructose intolerant human beings. The concept which we will introduce to you now is also highly recommended by people suffering from irritable colon.

A low FODMAP diet is a type of diet in which the patient does not consume lactose, fructose, sugar replacements and certain types of multiple sugars. When suffering from food intolerances, all measures for diet should be taken immediately. This mainly means cutting out foods that evoke the symptoms.

It is important to notice that changing the diet to low FODMAP causes a change in the structure of the enteric flora. Therefore, the change should occur with attention and company. Patients of irritable colon as well as lactose and fructose intolerant people by whom even a change of their diet, meaning cutting out high lactose and fructose products, did not help in any way show, however, success regarding a low FODMAP diet. Even with morbus crohn, low FODMAP diets are a good way to moderate the symptoms.