Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols is a group of carbohydrates that may be hard to digest for some. These carbohydrates, when not digested properly can cause symptoms in the digestive system such as diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, flatulence and constipation.
Avoiding this group is not to be seen as a cure for irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, but as a tool to ease these symptoms.
This group of simple carbohydrates, are broken down for digestion with the help of enzymes. Humans do not have the enzymes to digest oligosaccharides, therefore, these are not absorbed in the small intestines.
Common oligo-saccharides are artichokes, asparagus, beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, fennel, garlic, leeks, okra, onions, peas, shallots, wheat, rye, barley, legumes, lentils, chickpeas, apples, peaches, persimmon, watermelon and pistachios.
In addition, inulin and fructo-oligo-saccharides added to processed foods must be avoided.” (eatrightpro.org) Polyols are sugar alcohols and are slowly absorbed into the intestine. Avoid or eat small portions of stone fruits and artificial sweeteners will help avoid too many polyols. We are all familiar with lactose, which is a di-saccharide found in dairy products. Many people do not produce enough lactase, the enzyme to digest lactose, and cannot properly digest dairy products.
Some people believe they are gluten intolerant because they feel better when they don’t eat a gluten containing food (wheat, rye, barley, malt and some oats). However since some of these foods are also FODMAPs, it is important to consider that one may not be sensitive to gluten per say but sensitive to FODMAPs. For example, just because you feel better when you don’t eat wheat doesn’t mean you are gluten sensitive, you may just be sensitive to FODMAPs.
If you have irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease consider eliminating FODMAPs from your diet for six to eight weeks to see if there is any improvement in your digestive health.
Foods to focus on that are low in FODMAPs are bananas, meat, fish, poultry, almonds, grapes, rice, carrots, lettuce, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, oranges, rice, oats, quinoa and hard cheese.
See More: FODMAP – Diets for people with IBS
Unless you are trying to improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease do not avoid FODMAP foods because the fermentation they cause in your gut helps the growth of healthy bacteria that improves digestive health.
Stephanie Whitley is a registered and licensed dietitian DeTar Healthcare Systems. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.