As you may already know, a low FODMAP diet consists of several phases. Each one as important as the next, these phases are designed to help you identify your personal thresholds when it comes to trigger foods and your body’s reaction to different FODMAP groupsm, as well as help you manage these reactions effectively.
The three phases of a low FODMAP diet
1. Elimination phase
Replace high-FODMAP foods with low FODMAP alternatives for 2-6 weeks.
2. Reintroduction phase
Test your tolerance to FODMAPs, one group at a time, during 8-12 weeks.
3. Integration phase
Personalise yout diet for long-term and find a balance between avoidance and tolerance levels.
In the long-term, it’s a balance between your tolerated FODMAP-rich foods and the avoidance of others.
Why reintroduction is important
Many of us witness a huge impact on symptoms and general wellbeing at the elimination phase, and too many of us decide to comfortably stay in phase one. The problem with doing that has a social aspect and deprives you rom essential nutrients that are hard to find in low-FODMAP alternatives.
There are several reasons FODMAP reintroduction is important:
· Determine your thresholds
You can learn to prevent the symptoms while still being able to eat your trigger foods in smaller portions.
· Take care of your microbiome
Research shows that reducing FODMAPs long-term can change of the environment of your microbiome in absence of prebiotics and fiber, which feed the bacteria that needs to remain in the colon.
· Add variety
Instead of eating under the daily norm of calories, you will be able to get the calcium, iron and fiber your body needs, as well as get to total calorie goal for the day.
· Establish a healthier relationship with food
Reintroducing some foods can break the barrier to a healthy relationship with food.
When and how to reintroduce FODMAPs
Once you learn to control your symptoms, you need to remain on the low FODMAP diet during the reintroduction. The secret here is to track every challenge and its outcomes, including your tolerance levels to each of the FODMAP foods and the symptoms you experience.
Key tips to adhere to:
- Remain on low FODMAP diet
- Keep each FODMAP group separately
- Be cautious of stacking
- Test FODMAP doses within a 4-hour window
What are the different FODMAP groups?
It’s important to test your tolerance levels with specific foods that don’t have a mix of FODMAP groups within them. Examples of foods that don’t contain group overlapping:
- Lactose: dairy products
- Fructose: honey
- Sorbitol: apricots and peaches
- Mannitol: Portobello mushrooms
- GOS (galacto-oligo-saccharides): almonds
- Fructans: (wheat) bread, (fruit) grapefruit, blueberries, apples, etc., onion, garlic
There is a reason why fructan is one of the most common troublemakers within FODMAPs. Foods can usually contain a mixture of fructans and it is rather difficult to measure the exact mix of every type of fructan in a food.
Integration phase and how to take it further
Once your triggers and thresholds are identified and you’re comfortable in knowing how to manage them, there isn’t a lot of advice out there on how to manage this long-term. For some of us, it’s more manageable than others, yet restricting these food groups for good can be a challenge.
How enzymes can help us
Enzymes are highly specialized proteins that act on a specific molecule, called the enzyme's substrate. One instance some of us are familiar with is when specific digestive enzymes break down the various components such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the food we eat. This process allows our bodies to absorb the nutrients it offers and turn them into energy.
- Prevent the effect of FODMAPs on the digestive system like digestive discomfort, pain, or other symptoms
- Help you receive the nutritional benefits from foods that otherwise you might avoid
- Enable gastronomical diversity and allow you to lift the restrictions placed by the low FODMAP diet
While fast-fermentable fibres like FODMAPs promote gut health they can also, cause trouble for people with increased gut sensitivities. An enzymatic approach can enable people to receive nutritional benefits without having digestive discomfort, pain or other symptoms.
FODZYME’s enzyme blend
FODZYME® is the world's first enzyme blend to directly tackle the FODMAPs fructan, GOS, and lactose. If you are wondering about polyols, they are working on a novel polyol-targeting enzyme as we speak. FODZYME’s enzymes are very specialised proteins produced by micro-organisms that break down specific substrates, in this case, FODMAP molecules.
- Breaks down FODMAPs as you digest your meal, effectively eliminating FODMAPs in your gut
- Contains fructan hydrolase (acts on fructan), alpha-galactosidase (acts on GOS), and lactase (acts on lactose)
- Comes in powder form for maximum integration with high-FODMAP foods
Science behind FODZYME
FODZYME® was administered concurrently with 3g of inulin (a common source of fructan) in SHIME®, a multi-compartment scientifically validated model of the complete human gut, to study the efficacy of FODZYME’s fructan hydrolase in fructan degradation.
Findings indicated a rapid breakdown of fructan to fructose in gastric conditions with ~90% of the inulin mass converted to fructose within 30 minutes thus demonstrating resilience to both gastric pH and protease activity. The study also showed that 70% of fructose was absorbed during the simulated small intestinal transit, thus reducing gas.
You can learn more in the clinical brief here.
If you’d like to make enzymes work on your food, try FODZYME here.