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9 Jul 2016

When healthy foods trigger abdominal pain

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July 9, 2016 Category: Health Posted by:


You have replaced refined grains with whole grains, increased nuts, fruits and vegetables, have been drinking more water, and even began taking a probiotic supplement to support your digestive health.

Yet, despite these healthy habits, you’re still not feeling your best and you don’t understand why.

If you often experience digestive discomfort, it may be helpful to learn about FODMAPs, which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. Researchers at Monash University in Australia coined the FODMAP acronym to classify specific types of short-chain carbohydrates that can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine resulting in symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea.

FODMAPs can be found in ordinarily healthy foods, such as wheat bread, beans, yogurt, milk, apples, onions, garlic, cashews, mushrooms and honey. FODMAPs can also be found in less obvious places such as probiotic supplements, which people often take to support digestive health.

Who should be concerned about FODMAPs? FODMAPs can trigger digestive discomfort in people with digestive sensitivities, including those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

What is a low FODMAP Diet? The plan begins with a two- to six-week trial elimination phase where foods high in FODMAPs are removed from the diet, to reduce effects of FODMAPs on the gut that can lead to pain, bloating, and cramping, and help establish the least symptoms possible. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) trained in the low-FODMAP diet provides guidance to distinguish individual triggers and tolerances. From there, the RDN prepares a customized, well-balanced eating plan to restrict your FODMAP triggers while minimizing food eliminations and maximizing nutritional value.

According to IBS and FODMAP expert Kate Scarlata, RDN, LDN author of the blog, “The Well Balanced FODMAPer,” “Once I work with a patient with IBS to identify and eliminate their FODMAP triggers, they report feeling like a whole new person. Planning ahead, like keeping low-FODMAP grocery lists on hand and identifying favorite low-FODMAP recipes and snacks, is the key to living comfortably to keep your symptoms at bay.”

Nestlé Health Science has developed a comprehensive online resource – – for people who would like to learn more about FODMAPs. It is important to work with your doctor and a knowledgeable RDN to determine if a low-FODMAP diet is right for you.

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