Here's How FODMAP Diet Can Help You To Solve Digestive Problems
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The Importance of Diet for Weight Loss and Health

Weight loss and diet are closely intertwined. There’s ample proof now that the foods we eat impact our body weight. Eat more junk, lose your shape; there’s no escaping that reality. A healthy diet that is balanced in nutrients and calories can support weight loss. However, it is important to note that not all diets are meant for weight loss. For instance, the low FODMAP diet is primarily meant to help people with digestive issues, but it can lead to weight loss. And it is pretty effective. Doctors recommend increasing protein portions to avoid unintentional weight loss while on the low FODMAP diet. You read that right. 

What the Low FODMAP Diet is all about and the science behind it

The low FODMAP diet is gaining in popularity because, even though it wasn’t designed for weight loss, it can lead to weight loss as it eliminates many problem areas. This diet is primarily meant to help people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) identify which foods cause digestive distress and reduce their symptoms. This temporary three-step elimination diet involves avoiding high FODMAP foods for two to six weeks, then reintroducing them slowly to identify which ones are problematic. This diet was developed by researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. They found that by reducing the amount of FODMAPs in the diet, they were able to improve symptoms of IBS in many patients.

Let’s clarify what FODMAPs are. The acronym stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols. These are certain types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and pass into the large intestine, where they are fermented by bacteria. This can cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. High FODMAP foods include...brace for it...apples, pears, mangoes, watermelon, onions, garlic, wheat, barley, legumes, milk, and yogurt. 

The key is to identify foods that are high in FODMAPs and reduce or eliminate them from your diet. 

Understanding Macronutrients in the Low FODMAP diet

The low FODMAP diet is not just about reducing the FODMAPs in the diet. It is crucial that you get the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

The recommended macronutrient ratio for a low FODMAP diet is to fill half of one's plate with low FODMAP vegetables, a quarter of the plate with protein, and the last quarter of the plate with carbohydrates. You can add healthy fats, such as low-lactose yogurt and extra-virgin olive oil, and flavor-enhancing ingredients like garlic-infused olive oil and herbs and spices. It is important to note that the low FODMAP diet involves a global restriction of FODMAP intake for four to eight weeks, followed by gradual reintroduction according to individual tolerance, monitored by a qualified and skilled nutritionist to ensure nutritional adequacy.

Some examples of low FODMAP carbohydrates include rice, quinoa, potatoes, and corn. Good sources of protein in this diet include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and tofu. Nuts, seeds, and olive oil are excellent sources of healthy fats for the low FODMAP diet. 

How the Low FODMAP diet helps with Weight loss

It’s all about the FODMAPs. By restricting, or removing, FODMAPs in the diet, the amount of fermentation in the large intestine is reduced. No funky reactions in the intestines means you break free of digestive disorder symptoms such as bloating and gas. In addition, the low FODMAP diet can be a helpful tool for weight loss because it encourages the consumption of whole, nutrient-dense foods. By focusing on foods that are low in FODMAPs - fruits, vegetables, lean protein - you give your body a healthy dose of the nutrients that it needs while reducing your calorie intake.

The low FODMAP diet can be a bit overwhelming at first, but there are plenty of delicious foods that you can eat. Here are some examples:

Fruits: strawberries, blueberries, grapes, oranges, kiwi, pineapple, and bananas (in small amounts)

Vegetables: carrots, brinjal, capsicum, spinach (small servings), lettuce, and tomatoes

Grains: rice, quinoa, gluten-free oats

Proteins: chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, and eggs

Dairy: lactose-free milk and yogurt, hard cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan

How to follow the Low FODMAP diet

The low FODMAP diet has three phases: 




During the elimination phase, high FODMAP foods are swapped for low FODMAP alternatives, aiming to limit FODMAP intake to a very low amount. This phase typically lasts four to eight weeks and is followed by the reintroduction phase, where FODMAPs are gradually reintroduced according to individual tolerance. The maintenance phase involves a customized diet plan to manage symptoms long-term. 

If you're interested in trying the low FODMAP diet, here are some steps to make it easier:

Consult with a registered dietitian who specializes in the low FODMAP diet to help you plan your meals.

Eliminate high FODMAP foods from your diet for four to six weeks.

Reintroduce high FODMAP foods one at a time to determine which ones trigger symptoms.

Customize your diet based on your individual tolerance for FODMAPs.

Common mistakes to avoid while on the Low FODMAP diet

This is not an easy diet to follow, and there is certainly some room for error. Here are some mistakes to avoid:

Not consulting with a registered dietitian who specializes in the low FODMAP diet.

Eliminating too many foods from your diet unnecessarily.

Not reintroducing high FODMAP foods properly.

Not paying attention to portion sizes.

How to track your progress in weight loss

Tracking your progress is an important part of any weight loss journey, and the low FODMAP diet is no exception. 

Keep a food diary to track what you are eating and how you feel after each meal.

Weigh yourself regularly to track changes in weight.

Take measurements of your waist, hips, thighs, and arms to track changes in body composition.

Keep track of your symptoms to determine if the low FODMAP diet is helping to alleviate them.

Tips to manage hunger and cravings while on the low FODMAP diet

Hunger and cravings can be a challenge when you're on any diet, including the low FODMAP diet. Here are some tips to help manage such issues:

Eat plenty of protein to help keep you feeling full.

Choose low FODMAP snacks such as nuts, seeds, and fruit.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and feeling full.

Plan your meals and snacks in advance to avoid making unhealthy choices.

As mentioned earlier, weight loss is almost a side effect of the low FODMAP diet. So, if you take up this diet, you must be careful not to lose weight to an extent that your health is affected. Increase protein portions at every meal and eat 4-5 smaller meals instead of the conventional three meals. It is recommended that you keep your physician in the loop to maintain proper nutrition, and anyone who is underweight should not try it on their own.