By J. Patrick Herrington, M.D.
Many times food is what patients blame for their gastrointestinal symptoms. Many times they are right.
In order to help some patients manage these food-related symptoms, certain food groups must be eliminated or reduced in a person’s diet.
It appears that certain types of sugars found in many foods are rapidly absorbed and fermented drawing fluid into the GI tract, which in turn, can cause distention and trigger the symptoms of irritable bowel, such as bloating and abdominal pain.
A diet that decreases the amount of these fermentable sugars and similar products seems to help a certain group of people with irritable bowel syndrome.
The name of this diet is called a low-FODMAP diet, which while it sounds funny, is an acronym for the types of food substances eliminated from the diet.
Some examples of foods to eliminate include apples, pears, canned fruit, natural juices, high fructose corn syrup, cow’s milk (lactose), soft cheese, broccoli, cabbage, pasta, bread, or baked goods made from wheat or rye, mushrooms, and most sweeteners ending in “ol”.
More detailed information on the low-FODMAP diet, including a complete list of foods and a database of knowledgeable dieticians is available at www.ibsgroup.org/ibs-diet.