Exploring Low FODMAP Dairy Options: What You Can and Can't Snack On
Many of you who struggle with digestive issues may be familiar with a type of diet called the low FODMAP diet. The low FODMAP diet has gained a lot of popularity in recent years as a way to manage symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome.
FODMAPs is actually an acronym for types of carbohydrates in foods that tend to disrupt people's digestive system if they're struggling with Irritable bowel syndrome. These types of carbohydrates can ferment in our digestive system, creating symptoms like gas, bloating, or abdominal pain.
The low FODMAP diet consists of avoiding or greatly limiting these types of foods from our diet in the hopes of alleviating common irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
Before we delve further into the topic, allow me to introduce myself. I'm Marcie Vaske, a functional medicine nutritionist working with Oswald Digestive Clinic.
I see many individuals who struggle with bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation, and sometimes, putting them on the low FODMAP diet can be beneficial.
If you or someone you know needs support with their gut health, you can easily schedule an initial appointment. Additionally, I'm offering a free guide: 5 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health, which you can download.
Exploring Low FODMAP Dairy Options
Low FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that ferment in the gut and can lead to bloating, gas, or abdominal pain. One of the types of carbohydrates to eliminate is often dairy.
Apart from dairy, there are other high FODMAP foods to be aware of, such as wheat, onions, garlic, dairy products, and fruits like pears and apples. These foods can be high in FODMAPs.
To determine your sensitivity, you can eliminate these foods from your diet for about six weeks and then gradually reintroduce them.
Why Some FODMAP Foods Cause Discomfort
You might be wondering why some FODMAP foods cause pain, distension, or uncomfortable symptoms. The reason is that FODMAP carbohydrates are poorly digested in our small intestine, leading them to ferment in the large intestine and causing these symptoms.
Understanding Dairy as a FODMAP
Dairy is a challenging food group to eliminate for many individuals, even if it triggers symptoms. One reason is the difficulty in finding suitable substitutions. Let's explore how dairy affects the gut.
Lactase Enzyme and Lactose Intolerance
Individuals lacking the enzyme lactase cannot properly digest the lactose in dairy, leading to lactose intolerance and symptoms like bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort. Additionally, dairy contains another carbohydrate called galactose, which can contribute to fermenting and symptoms.
Now, let's look at some low FODMAP dairy substitutes if you need to eliminate dairy from your diet.
Lactose-Free Dairy Products
Lactose-free dairy products are ideal for those who are only lactose intolerant. These products contain added lactase, which helps break down lactose, reducing digestive discomfort. However, they may not address galactose issues.
Consider nut-based milk alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, and macadamia milk. These options are higher in protein and should be unsweetened to avoid excess sugar.
Explore nut-based yogurts like almond yogurt, coconut yogurt, and macadamia yogurt. Opt for plain flavors to avoid added sugar.
Substituting for cheese can be challenging. Lactose-free dairy cheese may work for those with lactose intolerance. Some individuals may tolerate feta, sheep's cheese, or goat cheese in small amounts, but it varies from person to person.
Dairy is often used in snacks, so here are some dairy-free snack alternatives.
When choosing dairy substitutes, always read the ingredients to ensure they consist of whole, digestible foods.
Individuality in the Low FODMAP Diet
Remember that everyone is different when it comes to FODMAP sensitivity. Keep a journal to track which FODMAPs irritate your stomach the most. The low FODMAP diet is meant to relieve symptoms, not as a long-term dietary solution. Use it as a tool to reduce inflammation and heal your gut.
As you consider the low FODMAP diet, keep in mind that there are various alternatives available. While eliminating FODMAPs, focus on healing your gut and paying attention to your body's signals. Thank you for joining us today.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
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