Popular diet trends – FODMAP

It would seem that almost every year there is a new diet or food fad craze that promises us an easy way to lose weight and stay fit and healthy. You only have to look at the rows of books in the health section of your local book store or hop on the internet to find out what the Hollywood stars are doing to keep fit and healthy to see the enormity of the health and wellness industry. We are seeing a breeding culture of extremism from all fruit diets, raw food only diets and coffee enema detox diets!

The majority of diet fads are just that a fad, another marketing scam to encourage you to join a tribe of extremists in the hope that you will eventually find a diet that works whilst at the same time parting with more of your hard earned cash. There are so many misconceptions about what healthy eating really is our notion of healthy eating is getting lost in a mound of quinoa flakes, gluten free raw food paleo bars and activated almond milk. We are eating more supposedly “healthy” food than we ever have, yet as a nation we are getting bigger. I get asked so many times about what I think of the latest diet trends so here is my low down on some of the most frequently asked about popular diets.

Fodmap

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The Fodmap diet is gaining popularity amongst the irritable bowel crowd, many of whom report marked improvements in their symptoms when following a fodmap diet. Fodmap is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Monosacaccharides and Polyols. Basically this refers to types of sugars that are poorly absorbed in the intestines which some people are more reactive to. When these sugars reach the large intestine the bacteria in the gut can begin to ferment them which can cause bloating, pain and wind. Some people even find that they experience diarrhoea after consuming foods that contain these sugars. The fodmap diet is a diet that eliminates fodmap foods thereby reducing abdominal discomfort. In theory this all sounds wonderful however following a fodmap diet can be extremely restrictive as it does limit many foods.

Fodmap foods to avoid include:

  • Dairy products
  • Sweetened Yoghurts
  • Grains – Barley, rye, wheat, semolina, couscous, bread, pasta, cake etc.
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Dried fruit
  • Mangoes
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Watermelons
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Avocados
  • Beetroots
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Shallots
  • Snow peas
  • Legumes

As you can see there are a lot of foods that contain these sugars and sticking to the fodmap diet as a way of life is restrictive. It may be beneficial to cut back on high fodmap foods if you are experiencing tummy symptoms whilst working on a gut healing programme and then gradually try reintroducing the foods and see how you go.

  • Pros – Many people find relief from uncomfortable tummy problems by following a fodmap diet.
  • Cons – A very restrictive diet that can become mundane and limited. Cutting out foods could put you at risk of nutritional deficiencies if you do not ensure you are eating a variety of different nutrient containing foods every day.

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