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The surge in popularity of gluten free diets has seen thousands of Australians avoiding wheat, rye, oats and barley at all costs.

But what if gluten isn’t the problem and there is something else behind the gassiness and bloating many people report feeling after eating foods containing gluten? The gastrointestinal problems believed to be caused by gluten, may instead be caused by FODMAP malabsorption.

FODMAPs is an acronym for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.

Put simply, FODMAPs are a group of complex carbohydrates that can often be poorly absorbed in the small intestine.

When this happens the malabsorbed carbohydrates are fermented by gut bacteria and can produce gas which, can lead to digestive discomfort, bloating, abdominal pain and wind. These are typical symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

To assess whether someone has a FODMAPs intolerance, a health professional may conduct a breath test, or prescribe a Low FODMAPs Diet.  The idea behind the low FODMAPs diet is to eat foods that are low in FODMAPs, therefore reducing the risk of fermentation of malabsorbed carbohydrates.

The long list of foods to avoid on a low FODMAPs diet can seem tricky and exhausting.

High FODMAPs foods include everything from apples, pears, watermelon and honey, through to milk, yoghurt, avocado, mushrooms, onions and garlic.

However, a low FODMAPs Diet is not necessarily an elimination diet. It’s a low FODMAPs Diet, not a no FODMAPs Diet and it’s possible to reintroduce these foods back into a person’s diet once their symptoms have gone.

Also, while the list of foods high in FODMAPs may seem overwhelming, the list of foods people can eat on a Low FODMAPs diet is actually greater.

It’s important for people prescribed this diet to focus on what they can eat rather than what they are giving up.

It may be tempting to self-diagnose any gastrointestinal discomfort as IBS and simply adopt a gluten free diet.

However, it’s extremely important that a medical professional make a diagnosis of IBS or other gastrointestinal disorders

Why? Because the symptoms experienced may be a result of Coeliac Disease. This illness affects approximately 1 in 70 Australians.

However, around 80 percent are undiagnosed.  Coeliac Disease is an extremely serious condition that requires professional advice and attention.

It’s also important to seek advice from a nutritionist or dietitian before commencing a low FODMAP diet.

An accredited dietitian will not only provide you with guidance regarding what you can and can’t eat on a low FODMAPs diet, but will also support you with recipe ideas and general encouragement.

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  • Interesting article,haven’t heard of this diet till now! Thanks.

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  • I should look into this diet.

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  • I had never heard if this until now. Fortunately, I don’t have a need to avoid gluten, so I haven’t eliminated it from my diet. We need carbs, but maybe one day

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  • This was an interesting mini article. Thanks for posting!

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  • That is the for information! I never really understood until now.

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  • Thanks for explaining I had seen the word before but didn’t know what it was.

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  • Thanks for your informative articles. I have never heard of this before.

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  • My daughter had been having issues and was put onto a low FODMAP diet for around 5 months. It was so difficult to find foods that she could eat that she could also take to school as school was very strict on what the children ate and of course no nuts which was one of the only things my daughter could have and to make cookies we would use peanut butter. I feel for the families who have to have their children on this permanently. I think our hardest thing was the no onion or garlic. you don’t realise how many things have inion powder in until you are affected by it.

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  • I always wondered but couldn’t be bothered googling, thanks for the informative article =)

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  • good article

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  • So what can you eat then? These days you can’t eat nothing. The stuff you could eat was just eliminated above…

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  • soooooo sooooo sooooo good to hear people finally starting to talk about FODMAPs rather than gluten. I’ve actually been abused for saying its believed to be FODMAPs not gluten causing the trouble by people who have no idea what they are talking about

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  • Thanks again for this article; has promoted some discussion.

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  • wow i haven’t heard of this particular diet. thanks for sharing it. i just learned something new!

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  • Knowledge of FODMAPs has been a life changing break through for me! After endless tests, a colonoscopy, allergy testing, and having been diagnosed as gluten-intolerant only to find I still suffered similar symptoms even when avoiding gluten I was frustrated and tired at not having a definitive answer or relief from my painful symptoms. My health, general wellbeing and fatigue levels are so much better when I avoid a number of the FODMAP containing foods – it\’s the only thing that has really worked, given me answers and helped rid me of the discomfort and symptoms I lived with day in and day out for years! If you\’ve had similar experiences and still don\’t have any answers it worth giving it a try. You\’d be surprised the foods that contain FODMAPS!

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