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Gluten Haters: Have you considered FODMAP’S?

Sorry about the headline…. No disrespect meant, I promise. So, if you are one of the millions of folks who have sworn off gluten, a little while back, you may have heard about an article with headlines like

“Gluten Sensitivity Is All In Your Head”

or something to that nature. The original researchers who released data that may have supported gluten being a potential gut irritator that needed to be dealt with swiftly like a plague, actually back tracked based on a new er study. Wait, don’t leave, I’m setting this up, NOT SAYING GLUTEN DOESN’T CAUSE GUT ISSUES.

In the second study, they put some folks on a high gluten diet, some on a low gluten diet, and some on a non-gluten diet. When it was all said and done, all three groups complained of stomach issues. This lead to two possible conclusions.

Conclusion #1:

Due to the popular hype around gluten being the devil, everyone had “psyched” themselves into having stomach issues simply because they thought they should. This is also known as the placebo effect. Essentially symptoms are experienced because of outside influences and it’s “all in their head”.

Conclusion #2:

There could be a different perpetrator. Something known as FODMAPs. Essentially, FODMAP is an acronym for a bunch of really long named carbohydrates that tend to show up in processed foods. Many of the foods that contain gluten would also have FODMAPs. FODMAPS are also in several fruits and veggies and it might surprise you which ones.

So, FODMAPs seem to have widely been forgotten in “The Great Gluten Is Bad Debate”, so, I decided to drop some knowledge bombs on ya. Also, examine.com has a great article with a solid research review on FODMAPs and how they affect folks with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The interesting thing about IBS is it isn’t known to be caused by one specific thing. It isn’t defined by ulcers or gut abnormalities so, doctors have to rely heavily on patient symptom descriptions and complaints.

IBS affects 11% of the population and includes symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, excessive flatulence, messed up bathroom habits, and an overall lower quality of life. Usually, it’s treated through pharmaceutical intervention. Most folks are wising up to the fact that now a days, what we put into our mouth, mainly food, can affect our health in a number of different ways. Many people are using nutrition as a way to help alleviate symptoms of gut disorders like IBS. Since there are so many types of diets out there claiming to cure all, why not consider a low FODMAP diet? BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T READ ANY RESEARCH ON IT YET! Well, lucky for you, in 2015, they did a systematic research review and found some interesting stuff!

In the 6 studies reviewed, all participants, ranging in age from 18 to 74 and mostly female, had, based on surveys, moderate symptoms of IBS. Most complained of abdominal bloating, abdominal cramping, and a series of others to a lesser degree. In these studies there were folks on low FODMAP diets and other folks on different diets that are generally healthy.

At the end of the day, based on the surveys given, the low FODMAP diet improved significantly as did the other diet groups. The key here was that he low FODMAP groups improved nearly double that of the other diet groups.

So, what does this mean to you? Well, it means that eating a diet of mostly whole foods could help with abdominal pain, bloating, and increase your quality of life!

It also means that adhering to a low FODMAP diet could possibly do it even better!

The key to understand is that no diet works if you can’t make it work for you. So before you take this and run with it, consider your past experience with diets and maybe use that picture above to find some moderation and see how you improve.

See ya next time!

Coach Joe MS, PN-2



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