investigating the low-FODMAPs diet

Yeah! Ok, I am 2 days shorts of my 30 days, but I had started before and will be continuing eating Paleo. I am quite happy and it has become second nature to eat gluten-free, dairy-free, legume-free and processed food-free. Although the Paleo diet has not miraculously cured my problems like I hoped it would, I am sure it helped me alleviate my symptoms and give a bit more strength to my immune system to fight this parasite. When I described the symptoms I still had to my gastroenterologist last week, which include fatigue, brain fog, abdominal distension, abdominal discomfort and at times, pain and cramps, she mentioned it may be due to the bug or to something else… like fructose malabsorption.

Fructose malabsorption is an inability to absorb fructose (and other fermentable short-chain carbohydrates), which result in abdominal distension and other symptoms I am currently dealing with. However, I first thought this didn’t make any sense since I was not eating sugar nor fruit. However, after investigating a bit more, I realized that other carbohydrates, such as fructans and polyols could be causing problems for me, especially with the huge amounts of onions, leeks, tomato, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and avocado I used to eat on a daily basis.

I have been experiencing with a low-FODMAPs diet, which was created by Dr. Sue Shepherd and stands for

Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galactans)
Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

I have had some improvements already by following a low-FODMAPs diet, but still need more time to figure out whether it is my problem or not. There is a test called breath hydrogen/methane test that can be done to diagnose this problem but I have to wait at least 4 weeks after my last antibiotic dose.

I’ll be taking a break for the next few days and will start posting again my new journey of eating Paleo & low-FODMAPs. Fortunately, eating Paleo has made it easier because I already avoid dairy, legumes, grains and sugar, and limit fruit. So, my biggest concern is to get the right veggies in the right amount. I have had to eliminate coconut (flour, dry, milk, cream, butter, except coconut oil) because of its high fructan content. A more comprehensive list can be ordered from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, where most of the research in this field is taking place.

IMPORTANT: If you know someone with functional gastrointestinal disorder, IBS or experiencing IBS-like symptoms that do not improve by eating Paleo, fructose malabsorption may be the issue!

Learn more about the Personal Paleo Code

13 thoughts on “investigating the low-FODMAPs diet

  1. Funny you’re arriving at this conclusion. I arrived at this conclusion yesterday after eating banana pancakes (coconut flour) and becoming bloated by 2 inches within 2 hrs. I am Paleo/Archevore (no grains, sugar, legumes, PUFAs, etc) but still do cream, butter, cheese, occasional yogurt. I had been keeping to berries for fruit but I like the occasional 1/4 banana or 1/2 apple. Yesterday’s bloating to whole banana pancakes now has me wondering if fructose malabsorption may be a problem. And the more I think back the more I wonder. Every time I have banana or white wine, I get terribly shakey and jittery but not like when eating wheat. I made sour dough bread (testing that hypothesis) with 2d old starter,/2d old sponge/ 2d old refrigerated fermented dough and had no bloating (but did get stomach pains and was horribly fatigued all day and night long like I USED to be!). So wheat doesn’t bloat me (pasta not included) but bananas do. Hmmm, fructose malabsorption. I would never had believed it before but now it’s so easy to discern what bothers me.

    How does all the chocolate you eat factor in?

  2. To Sandra,
    It could very well have been the coconut flour. Yes, bananas are considered “safe”, but they have to be well ripened, and you can only have about 1/2 every other day. (some can have it every day, but I wouldn’t if you are just starting out.

    I make a banana bread with flax meal, quinoa, and almond flour, and I tolerate it well.

    I don’t use sugar, but I do use dextrose. Dextrose is glucose. So I will sprinkle it on foods to help make them more digestible. You can sprinkle it on berries, and some veggies to make the fructose to glucose ratio better.

    good luck

  3. Just came across your blog while researching FODMAPs. Your journey is very close to mine. I have been Paleo/Archevore for about a year now. Like you it has not helped all my digestive issues. My current symptoms are virtually identical to you. I have done all kinds of single food eliminations (eggs, tomatoes, dairy, fruit, etc..) But nothing seemed to make a difference. My tests showed some parasites as well. I have been trying the herbal route to get rid of them to no avail. I haven’t tried the antibiotics yet.

    I have been researching FODMAP all week and I am going to start the elimination this weekend. I will definitely keep following your blog and hope we all figure this out soon.

    One question for you. I noticed mayo in lots of your posts. Do you make your own? I would like to start making some since the store bought stuff is all junk.

    • Hi James, I am glad that you have found my blog.

      TO answer your question, yes I made my own mayo using macadamia oil and free-range eggs with a bit of salt only. However, I have had to eliminate it as well for now as part of my elimination diet. After eliminating all FODMAP-containing foods and even ALL fruits and ALL vegetables, I was still having some symptoms and am now trying to eliminate salicylates, amines and glutamates, which are natural food chemicals that may be problematic. Unfortunately, macadamia oil is high in those food chemicals ( Let me know how it goes for you. =)

      • Thanks for the link. I have a feeling will be going the same route. I better stock up on some grass-fed beef 🙂

  4. I have had distension and pain, bloating along with bouts of diarehha, too, before cutting out lactose and going on a low fodmap diet for 8 weeks. I saw immediate results and had comfort for the first time in months on low fodmap. GI dr. says because I see an improvement with a change in my diet, then its not IBS. I incorporated bits of wheat and then chocolate after the 8 week low fodmap as holidays were here – but did not get a good result beyond week 2. I also notice high fructose corn syrup causes the pain, distension and smelly gas. I am almost 7 months pregnant so they cannot do many of the tests. Living in the US, not used to making my own foods like breads, mayo, etc from scratch. Could it be my body is just changing at 40? I hope not. Can’t imagine living chocolate free for the rest of my life. I miss Garlic terribly also.

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