Is The Low FODMAP Diet Right For Me?
So you've been told by the doc, a dietitian, a friend or maybe even google that the Low FODMAP Diet is what you should be following, but is it really going to fix your gut?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is, it isn't going to fix your gut at all, in fact, it could be making it worse.
What is the Low Fodmap Diet?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. The concept behind low FODMAP is that you want to avoid saccharides and polyols, which are short-chained carbohydrates and when poorly digested they tend to ferment in the gut (uh... not good!)
This fermentation draws in water and produces carbon dioxide, hydrogen and/or methane gas. In turn you can experience strong pain, bloating and other related symptoms. By avoiding such foods, the idea is you will avoid such symptoms. Sounds good right?
Not so fassst...
The good news
Low FODMAP isn't all bad and we need to give some credit where credit is due. In fact, it encourages whole foods, eliminates hard to digest foods and studies have shown that a low FODMAP diet can significantly improve GI symptoms. So why is that still not good enough if you plan on fixing your gut?
Why Low FODMAP can make things worse!
The fact is, if you have IBS, gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation (just to name a few) there are some deep imbalances happening within your gut and while eating healthy is important it won't address an overgrowth of bad bacteria, it won't replenish your good bacteria and it definitely won't address the fact that you have an underactive stomach struggling to break down foods.
While certain foods are in fact harder to digest than others, the fact that your body is struggling to digest foods in the first place, isn't just the foods fault and it's not your fault either.
Stress, dehydration, antibiotics and aging are just a few examples of the daily wear and tear that can weaken your body's ability to digest. To think that we just have to eat or avoid certain foods without addressing the underlying causes and imbalances maybe, leaves you simply scratching the surface of truly fixing your gut. Following a strict diet isn't going to fix that, it's just going to make your life miserable when your gut doesn't get better.
There is one more big thing that is often over looked. What happens if you are sensitive to a food that is technically low FODMAP approved? The idea that one size fits all is really unrealistic and while you may experience some relief from following the diet, we are really just slappin' a bandaid on it and hoping the wound underneath just takes care of itself.
The truth is creating a customized anti-inflammatory diet based on your body's individual needs is critical in order to finally beat the IBS, gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.