What You Should Know About IBS and FODMAPs

What You Should Know About IBS and FODMAPs

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a type of gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that causes frequent changes in your bowel movements. People with IBS also have other symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating. While IBS is often talked about as a standalone condition, it's actually an umbrella term for different syndromes, meaning there may be other underlying issues that are causing these symptoms.

Because IBS is a syndrome with a diverse array of symptoms and potential contributing factors, management typically involves a combination of approaches tailored to the individual's specific symptoms and needs. This may include dietary modifications (such as the low-FODMAP diet), lifestyle changes, stress management techniques, medications to alleviate symptoms, and psychological therapies like cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT).

People with IBS often find that foods high in FODMAPs trigger their symptoms.

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. In a nutsell, they are a group of fermentable short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in certain foods.

FODMAPs can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some people, particularly those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other functional gastrointestinal disorders.

The different types of FODMAPs:

  1. Oligosaccharides: These are short-chain carbohydrates, including fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), found in foods like wheat, rye, onions, garlic, legumes, and certain fruits and vegetables.

  2. Disaccharides: This refers mainly to lactose, which is found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and soft cheeses.

  3. Monosaccharides: This refers to excess fructose, found in certain fruits like apples, pears, and mangoes, as well as honey and high-fructose corn syrup.

  4. Polyols: These are sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and maltitol, which are found naturally in some fruits and vegetables and are also used as artificial sweeteners in sugar-free gum and candies.

For individuals with IBS or other gastrointestinal sensitivities, consuming foods high in FODMAPs can trigger symptoms like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.

A low-FODMAP diet, which involves reducing intake of foods high in these carbohydrates, is often recommended as a way to manage symptoms and identify trigger foods through a structured elimination and reintroduction process.

Why omitting FODMAPs long term is a bad idea.

Omitting foods high in FODMAPs can reduce IBS symptoms significantly and doing this short-term while you heal the gut can be beneficial. However, long-term omitting foods high in FODMAPs can reduce your body's nutrient status and the diversity of the gut microbiome.

Many foods high in FODMAPs are healthy nutrient dense foods that also contain a lot of prebiotics. When we reduce foods containing prebiotics (and sometimes also polyphenols) the microbiota become less diverse, which in turn weakens our immune system and reduces our ability to digest foods properly. Poor digestion can have a flow on effect on our skin, hormones and energy levels.

How The Gut Co can help.

— FEED has been formulated to help reduce the symptoms of IBS when taken over a period of 6-8 weeks

— ENZYMES {digest+debloat} may help to reduce bloating associated with IBS. 

— REPAIR contains glutamine, aloe vera, zinc and collagen to help with gut lining health plus vitamins and minerals for gut and skin health.

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