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The Bloat­ing Cure The low- FODMAP diet is all the rage these days, but is it right for you? Here’s ev­ery­thing you need to know about this unique eat­ing plan.

“I look like I’m preg­nant and I’m not.” That’s the most com­mon com­plaint heard by di­eti­tian Danielle Ca­palino, RD, au­thor of Healthy Gut, Flat Stom­ach: The Fast and Easy Low- FODMAP Diet Plan. Bloat­ing, gas, and other di­ges­tive prob­lems can be re­solved with a low-FODMAP plan, she says, but it needs to be tai­lored to you.

What is FODMAP?

More than a decade ago, sci­en­tists at Monash Univer­sity in Aus­tralia dis­cov­ered that cer­tain types of car­bo­hy­drates are hard to digest, and coined the term FODMAP, an acro­nym for tech­ni­cal names of the off end­ing in­gre­di­ents ( Fer­mentable Oligosac­cha­rides, Dis­ac­cha­rides, Monosac­cha­rides, and Poly­ols). FODMAPs are present in many foods and food ad­di­tives ( in­clud­ing sugar- free sweet­en­ers end­ing in “- ol”), but lev­els and in­di­vid­ual re­ac­tions vary. Di­ges­tive is­sues can be re­solved by find­ing which high- FODMAP foods off end your body and avoid­ing them.

“These foods don’t look alike or taste alike,” says Ca­palino. “They don’t have any­thing vis­i­ble in com­mon.” Only lab tests can de­ter­mine FODMAP lev­els. For ex­am­ple, ap­ples and cauliflower are high- FODMAP, but or­anges and toma­toes are low- FODMAP.

How the FODMAP Plan Works

“A mis­take a lot of peo­ple make is to try it in­defi nitely,” says Ca­palino, “but it has three phases.”

Elim­i­na­tion phase: Avoid all high- FODMAP foods un­til symp­toms re­solve, most of­ten in two to six weeks, but some­times more quickly.

“For me, it might mean not eat­ing onions and gar­lic, and for you, it might mean not eat­ing milk and beans, so it’s very per­son­al­ized,” says Ca­palino. The key is to find what works for you.

Test­ing phase: Grad­u­ally rein­tro­duce high- FODMAP foods, one at a time, to iden­tify prob­lem­atic ones. New eat­ing pat­tern: Once you’ve iden­tifi ed your per­sonal trig­ger foods, work to avoid them on an on­go­ing ba­sis.

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