What are FODMAPs & why might they trigger my IBS symptoms?

FODMAPs are carbohydrates (sugars) that are found in a range of different foods, including some that are considered to be healthy. Common sources of FODMAPs include wheat, rye, pulses, various fruit and vegetables, milk, yoghurts, honey and sugar-free mints.

The term ‘FODMAPs’ stands for:

Fermentable
Oligosaccharides
Disaccharides
Monosaccharides
And
Polyols

Current research strongly suggests FODMAPs can trigger IBS symptoms. FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the gut which can result in diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal pain/discomfort.

Some FODMAPs are indigestible in all people. However, symptoms may only occur in people with IBS as research has shown they may have a gut that is more sensitive compared to a person without IBS.

A low FODMAP diet is a treatment used for successfully managing IBS symptoms, with 70-75% of patients reporting an improvement in their symptoms after commencing a low FODMAP diet.

* Schär do not recommend making any changes to your diet without consulting a healthcare professional. A low FODMAP diet should be followed under the guidance of a registered dietitian.

Why do FODMAPs contribute to symptoms?

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FODMAPs have a wide range of effects in the gut. It is necessary to understand the process of digestion and absorption of nutrients from food to understand why these sugars can trigger IBS symptoms in some people.

During healthy digestion, food travels through the digestive system and mixes with digestive juices to break it down. The nutrients from the food are then absorbed by the body and waste products are removed (via stools).

Some FODMAPs are more difficult for everyone’s bodies to breakdown, however, research has shown that people with IBS tend to have a more sensitive gut. FODMAPs have a range of effects in the gut but they only need to be restricted if it is suspected they are making IBS-type symptoms worse.

When FODMAPs reach the small intestine, they remain there and attract water. This results in an increased passage of water through the bowel.

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As FODMAPs reach the large intestine, they are fermented by bacteria, which results in gas production. This can lead to wind (flatulence), bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

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Schär have had a range of their foods tested and certified by Monash University as suitable for those following a low FODMAP diet to help manage their IBS.  The product range includes breads, rolls, pizza bases and breadsticks which are available nationwide in many supermarkets. Read more here.