Some people are unable to digest FODMAPs.


Here’s an unwieldy new food-related acronym you’ve probably seen: FODMAPs. FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Don’t worry, you won’t be tested on that later. In simpler terms, FODMAPs are certain carbs found in some fruit, dairy, wheat, garlic, onions, beans, artificial sweeteners, and more. In the video above, we explain everything you need to know about these stomach-upsetting carbs.

For unknown reasons, some people aren’t able to digest FODMAPs. When FODMAPs aren’t digested and absorbed into the body, tummy trouble can arise. That’s because the carbs become fuel for gut bacteria, which ferment the FODMAPs. That fermentation process leads to a buildup of gas, which in turn triggers bloating, abdominal pain, and even constipation. Because those undigested FODMAPs can also suck water into the intestines, they can also cause diarrhea.

Not everyone has issues with FODMAPs, and plenty of people digest them just fine. Research shows that FODMAP sensitivity is common among people with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. It may also explain GI symptoms in those who are sensitive to gluten but don’t have celiac disease; these folks could be reacting to the FODMAP in wheat.

People with IBS, gluten sensitivity, and even with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease may consider cutting back on FODMAPs to see if that helps ease their symptoms. If a low-FODMAP diet appeals to you, make sure you consult with a registered dietitian first. He or she can help you figure out exactly what you can and cannot eat.