Food Allergy Institute of North Texas Ask the Dietitian

Ask the Dietitian: FODMAP Diet

Question:

I’ve heard that a low FODMAP diet is good for my irritable bowel syndrome but I really want to lose weight as well. Can I achieve this while on a low FODMAP diet?

Answer:

Lowering your FODMAPS can go a far way in reducing your digestive issues. Problems such as: bloating, gas and abdominal pain can all affect body weight and have the potential to be significantly reduced using this approach.

When it comes to weight loss, your greatest consideration is calories in versus calories out. Provided that you take in less calories than you burn throughout the day, you will lose weight.

This is certainly achievable on a low FODMAP plan considering you make some of the following choices:

-Be careful not to overdo gluten-free breads and cereals. Gluten-free does not mean low calorie.  Watch portion sizes and opt for gluten free selections that are rich in fiber. Great options include oats and quinoa.   Aim for options that have 5 grams of fiber or more/serving.

-Consume a low FODMAP fruit and/or vegetable serving at every meal and snack.

-When selecting dairy alternatives, aim for low fat and low sugar options.

-Enjoy protein rich nuts and seeds for snacks but watch your portion size. These snacks are protein rich but contain a significant amount of calories.  A small handful is all that you need.

-Watch the amount of hidden sources of fats you might be adding to your foods. For example, oils added during cooking, spreads added to grains, or dressings/sauces added to other dishes.

-Choose cooking methods that require minimal fat. For example, grilled, roasted and baked are preferable methods over frying or sautéing.

-Watch added sugars. While choices such as chewing gum may be permissible, those extra calories will have an effect on your waistline.

-Drink lots of water throughout the day.

-Get in lots of exercise. Moving your body on most days of the week has been proven to help with irritable bowel syndrome and weight loss.

-Finally, watch portion sizes and avoid skipping meals. Frequent small meals/snacks will go a long way in curbing your appetite, making you feel satisfied and and will lead to long term sustained weight loss in the long run.

Question:

I’ve heard that fermented foods are so good for health and longevity. How can I add these foods into my diet?

Answer:

Fermented foods have been linked to maintaining healthy immune systems and optimal gut functioning. Here are 10 easy ways to add fermented foods to your daily diet;

Make yogurt parfaits with yogurts that have live active culture.

Make smoothies with yogurt or kefir with fruit.

Add homemade fermented fruit chutney to toast.

Top eggs with cultured sour cream/cultured butter and fermented salsa.

Add sauerkraut to your favorite sandwich.

Add tempeh to salads and stir fries.

Incorporate miso or cultured sour cream to soups.

Drink Kombucha tea

Eat peanut butter and fermented fruit chutney sandwiches.

Add pecorino cheese to your favorite salad.

Be sure to purchase these products in the refrigerated section of the grocery store as the bacteria will still be alive. Any type of canning or pasteurizing kills all of the bacteria.

Question:

I suffer from GERD on a regular basis. What are some dietary ways that I can find relief?

Answer: 

Gastroesphageal Reflux Disease (GERD), is a digestive disorder that affects the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach. Reflux occurs when the muscle weakens and stomach contents flow back up through the esophagus.

This event can be triggered by such conditions as: pregnancy, obesity, or hiatal hernias.

In some cases, diet can relieve symptoms associated with GERD.

Certain foods and beverages can trigger reflux. These include: chocolate, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, coffee and alcohol.  Other foods can cause discomfort to an esophagus that has been damaged by long-term reflux.  These foods include: citrus fruits, juice, tomato products, and pepper.

Other dietary strategies to consider:

-Reduce your portion sizes at meal time.

-Eat meals 2-3 hours before bed. Eating too close to bedtime can allow stomach contents to come back up.

-Being overweight can increase symptoms. Reducing body weight will help considerably.

-Realize that long term use of antacids will produce side effects.

Other natural remedies include: chamomile, licorice, and slippery elm.

 

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Comments ( 4 )

  • Laura

    What types of food are recommended for someone with a compromised immune system. For someone on chemo pills for cancer.

    • Eating a healthy, nutritious diet during cancer treatment can help with so many symptoms. Energy levels can be improved, good bowel function can be maintained, there can be a lower risk of infection, weight can be stabilized, and recovery can be much faster.
      According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the healthiest diet during chemotherapy involves eating smaller, frequent meals as opposed to 3 larger meals/day. At each feeding, have a source of protein which may include: hummus, nuts/beans, fish, lean meats, or eggs.
      Also think about building a healthy plate. This looks like the following:
      ½ of your plate is filled with vegetables and fruits (choose a variety of colors)
      ¼ of your plate is filled with lean sources of protein (choose lots of beans and legumes as your primary protein sources)
      ¼ of your plate is filled with whole grains
      Although there is a lot of information that circulates about the value of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and herbal remedies and cancer, it is best to get these nutrients in through food sources. Taking supplements, extracts, or ointments have the potential to cause harm and may interfere with proven cancer treatments. Consult with your oncologist if you are considering any of the above.
      As for managing side effects that are common with chemotherapy treatment, the following are some suggested tips:
      Constipation: Stay well hydrated, get at least 20 minutes of exercise in daily, and boost your fiber intake slowly.
      Manage Body Weight: Eat frequent small meals and opt for low-fat, low-sugar meals and snacks.
      Taste and Appetite Changes: Water and meats commonly taste metallic during chemotherapy. Try flavoring water with lemon and opt for other protein sources such as chicken or fish during this time. If appetite is low, try nutrient dense snacks like blended soups or peanut butter sandwiches.
      Diarrhea: Avoid high fat, greasy foods. Caffeine and high sugar foods may also aggravate. Opt for foods with soluble fibers such as: oatmeal, skinless fruits, and sweet potatoes to ease diarrhea.
      Nausea: Opt for cool foods instead of hot, try chewing on ginger, sip peppermint tea, and avoid high fat or strongly flavored foods.
      Stay well hydrated. The above symptoms can be aggravated with dehydration.

  • Alejandra

    My son had anaphalaxis reaction to cough syrup.. I was finally able to get in contact with dietician and talk to her about his formula. She recommended us to give Isaiah either neocate or elacate jr fórmulas. I’m having a very hard time with transitioning him. Any suggestions on how to? He is 16months.

    • Switching a formula can be challenging for some toddlers. If such is the case, approaching it gradually over a few days is your best bet. First, be sure to follow the exact directions on preparation and safe handling to keep your son safe.

      To switch him gradually, work on a staged approach. This will involve mixing his old formula with the new one but slowly cut back on the amount of the previous formula while increasing the amount of the new one. A suggested switch could look like:

      Day 1: Start with 3/4 old formula and 1/4 new formula Day 2: Do 1/2 old formula and 1/2 new formula Day 3: 1/4 old formula and 3/4 new formula Day 4: Switch to 100% new formula

      If you think your toddler needs to stay at any one of these stages for up to 3 days, that will be fine. Just work towards moving on to the next phase so that you can eventually wean him off of the old formula.

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