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Could FODMAPs Be Causing You Pain?

When you are living with type 2 diabetes, you may become accustomed to feeling more pain. Needle pricks, insulin shots, these do not come without a sting. Gastrointestinal discomfort may also be a nuisance.

FODMAPs and type 2 diabetes

Many people choose to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet when they learn of their diabetes diagnosis. While some discomfort or gas can be normal as the body adjusts to more fiber, other people may find that it never seems to quit. Some people try removing obvious sources such as dairy, but what if the cause is FODMAPs?

What are FODMAPs?

“FODMAP is an acronym standing for fermentable oligosaccharides (fructans and galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose) and polyols (sugar alcohols).”1 FODMAPs are naturally found in foods as sugars and fiber and different foods can have various amounts of them. They work by pulling water into the gut and the bacteria ferment them, causing gas.1

What do I do if I think I have a problem with FODMAPs?

Because each person reacts differently to FODMAPs, it can be difficult to know if they are the reason for any discomfort. Speaking with your physician to help decide if it is something worth pursuing is the first step. The second step would be to follow a low-FODMAP diet under the guidance of a Registered Dietitian. Following this diet would be short-term, with the goal of finding the foods that cause the most pain and discomfort. It may be a long process so making sure that you have ruled out any other reasons for gastrointestinal issues with your physician is an important part of the journey. “The most common offenders are garlic, onions, wheat, apples, and lactose-containing foods.”1

What kinds of foods contain FODMAPs?

“According to Stanford University Medical Center’s Low FODMAP Diet handout, FODMAPs can be found in everyday foods (and dishes made with them). For instance, they’re in watermelon, berries, chickpeas, beans, broccoli, soy-based products, all dairy products, honey, agave, avocados, peaches, cherries, barley, rye, mushrooms, pistachios, cashews, and cauliflower. Other sources include sugar substitutes made with sorbitol or mannitol, chicory root, inulin, high-fructose corn syrup, mints, oolong tea, rum, sugar-free gums, medicines (like cough drops made with xylitol and supplements.”1 Sugar substitutes can be highly consumed when you are someone living with type 2 diabetes and may be a source of some unwanted gastrointestinal side effects.

Points to remember

If you do not have frequent GI discomfort such as bloating, cramping, diarrhea and gas, you do not have to worry about FODMAPs. If you are having these symptoms, it is important to discuss them with your physician as there are many possibilities for such issues and he or she can help you determine what kind of testing, if any, is necessary.

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