If you’ve heard about the latest nutrition buzzword, the FODMAP diet, you might be wondering if this eating plan could be right for you. If you haven’t heard of FODMAP and you suffer from digestive problems, it could be a great solution.

First of all, FODMAP isn’t designed to help people lose weight, although it can certainly have that effect. The point of FODMAP is to eliminate foods that could be causing digestive problems for you.

FODMAP stands for:

F – fermentable;  a certain type of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars)
O – oligosaccharides
D – disaccharides
M – monosaccharides
P – polyols

These types of sugars are not easily processed by the small intestine, so they spend more time in our digestive system. The bacteria that naturally live in our gut begin to feed on the sugars, and produce gases which can cause bloating and discomfort.

Oddly, some very healthy foods are high in these types of sugars. We’re talking about apples, cauliflower, blackberries, wheat, rye, onion, garlic, mushrooms, snow peas, and pistachios. Whole milk, yogurt, and fresh cheeses like ricotta and cottage cheese are also on the FODMAPs list. Even certain herbal teas and classically “healthy” foods like figs and goji berries can be the culprits of digestive problems in some people!

Complicating matters further, many popular “gluten free” products are high in FODMAPs. Diet foods which contain the sugar substitutes sorbitol and mannitol can also cause problems in some people.

If FODMAPs foods are the cause of your digestive woes, a doctor may ask you to follow an elmination diet. Then, high FODMAP foods can be reintroduced to your regular dietary regimen one at a time, so that your individual sensitivities can be pinpointed. Now that you know your trigger foods, you can eliminate them permanently and identify acceptable subsitutes.

Eliminating bloating and discomfort can help flatten your belly a bit, and help you to feel better so that you can pursue a regular exercise routine. The FODMAPs diet won’t necessarily help you lose weight all by itself, but it’s worth pursuing if you struggle with digestive issues. Consult with your doctor for expert guidance if you suspect food sensitivities might be the cause of your problems.