Can a Low FODMAP Diet Treat Ulcerative Colitis?

The restriction of FODMAPs ­­ fermentable, oligo­, di­, mono­saccharides and polyols has been found to have a beneficial effect on irritable bowel syndrome and gastrointestinal disorder sufferers. The low FODMAP diet can be used to decrease/minimize symptoms of:

● Abdominal pain
● Gas
● Bloating
● Flatulence
● Burping
● Constipation
● Diarrhea
● Dyspepsia
● Nausea

F: Fermentable or produce gas.

O: (Fructans + Galactans) Fructans are carbohydrates that are completely malabsorbed because the intestine lacks an enzyme to break their fructose­ fructose bond. For this reason, fructans can contribute to bloating, gas and pain. Wheat accounts for a majority of fructan intake. Galactans are carbohydrates that are malabsorbed for the same reason as fructans; the intestine does not have the enzyme needed to break down galactans. Consequently, galactans can contribute to gas and gastrointestinal distress.

D: (Lactose) Lactose is the carbohydrate found in cow, sheep and goat milk. Lactose intolerance is caused by partial or complete lack of the enzyme lactase. When lactose is not completely digested, it can contribute to abdominal bloating, pain, gas and diarrhea. These symptoms often occur 30 minutes to two hours following the consumption of milk products.

M: (Fructose) Fructose is a carbohydrate found in fruit, honey, high­fructose corn syrup and agave syrup, but not all fructose containing foods need to be limited on a low FODMAP diet. Fructose malabsorption is similar to lactose intolerance in that fructose is not completely digested within the gastrointestinal tract due to the lack of a specific enzyme. Unlike lactose intolerance, the absorption of fructose is dependent on another carbohydrate, glucose.

Therefore, fructose containing foods with a 1: ration of fructose to glucose are generally well tolerated on FODMAP diets and conversely, foods with excess fructose compared with glucose, such as apples, pears and mangos, will likely trigger abdominal symptoms.

P: (Polyols) Polyols are also known as sugar alcohols. They are found naturally in some fruits and vegetables and added as sweeteners to sugar­free gums, mints, cough drops and medications. Sugar alcohols have varying effects on the bowel.

Low FODMAP Diet Instructions:

To assess your tolerance for these compounds, eliminate foods high in FODMAPs for 6-­8 weeks and then gradually reintroduce foods to identify bothersome foods. Reintroduce one food every four days with a 2 week break between bothersome foods. The goal is to identify the threshold at which you are able to consume FODMAP containing foods without causing bothersome gastrointestinal symptoms.

Foods that are high in FODMAPs may aggravate you gastrointestinal complaints but they are not causing an allergic reaction or an autoimmune reaction in your body. The foods high in FODMAPs that elicit gastrointestinal symptoms are causing function discomfort in your gut that results in gas, bloating, distention etc.

Interested in learning more? Please contact Regional Gi for additional information.