Alternatively, does gluten really make me feel sick even though I don’t have celiac? Here is the link to the extended.
Here is the original script – which barely resembles the video, but some people prefer reading over watching.
Hello everyone! Today I’m going to talk about FODMAPs.
What are FODMAPs? Well the term means fermentable oligo-di and monosaccharides and Polyols. WAIT wait, don’t tune out, this isn’t that crazy or technical. Let me go back to the beginning and lay it out, then you can know if this affects you or someone you know, and maybe this’ll be a starting point for how you can improve things.
Ok, first of all, I’ve always had issues with certain foods. I’ll get sick after eating things like garlic and onions, but then there were other “mystery” foods that I couldn’t pinpoint what would cause me problems. Heck, even garlic or onions seemed to be OK sometimes, but not others, with no rhyme or reason why.
Well things came to a head a few years ago when I decided to increase the amount of fiber in my diet. You know, fiber is “good” for us right? Well the day after my new diet, I was sick. Like really sick. This made me even more determined to eat “healthy”, switched in some more fruits and vegetables to replace my large meat intake, and was even more sick. Switched out more food, started considering becoming a vegetarian, became so sick I stayed home from work. I kept rotating my food to different “healthy” foods but no alleviation of symptons.
Desperate for an answer, I started studying what I was eating, and noticed a lot of high fiber food either had inulin or chicory root. A bit more research revealed that inulin seemed to have this effect on certain people, I also saw something that stood out to me on Armstrong.com, an article with the title “Why does garlic make me sick”.
What the hell? I thought I’m the only one that garlic made sick.
That’s when I found out about FODMAPs. See, certain foods have types of sugars that some people can’t absorb. If your body can’t absorb it, it seems that the yeast naturally in your digestion system happily will gobble the sugar up. At first, they produce gas, but enough of them multiply and your immune system starts reacting to the out of control little guys too.
Now I said sugars, because that’s what they are, fermentable sugars. But not all sugars, particularly not table sugar. FODMAPs refers to a whole category of sugars that many people have trouble absorbing. Like what?
Fructans (my enemy, these are in garlic, onions, gluten products)
Monosaccharides (fructose, also my enemy, in strawberries, stone fruit, and of course, soda)
Polyols (those artificial sugars like sorbitol and xylitol in gum and some tooth products)
Disaccharides (this includes lactose).
Wait, did I say lactose? Yes, in other words, you’ve known about fodmap problems probably almost your entire life! This isn’t some strange or weird diet craze, you probably know someone with a lactose intolerance, which means you know someone with a fodmap problem.
Did you catch the bit where I said that fructans are in garlic, onions, and…gluten products? Yes, there has been research suggesting that people who don’t have celiac, but feel better eating gluten free, are actually having problems with the fructans, not the gluten. In other words, they could probably have all the gluten they want, just stay away from the fructans. Gluten is a protein, if you don’t have celiac, you can probably handle it just fine, the trick is how to have it without getting the fructans. That’ll be a different video. 😉
So what are the symptoms? Well if you are familiar with lactose intolerance, you probably have a rough idea.
Diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, bloating are the ones that probably make you discourage your friend from eating ice cream.
But the not so obvious ones are headaches, anxiety, mood swings, depression, and sore eyes.
For me, mood swings, sore eyes, anxiety all hit me along with intense abdominal pain, sometimes with other flu-like symptoms.
These symptoms occur in two stages for me. Sometime within 24 hours, I get the physical problems. Then, the next day, I get the psychological problems. The second wave of symptoms happens because free fructose binds with an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan creates serotonin. Inability to create serotonin results in depression and other psychological problems.
Why is the amount of time so variable? I could be wrong in my understanding, but the way I picture it, is that I’m probably able to absorb a small amount of FODMAPs. That’s why on any given day, I can have a stick of gum, or a bit of pizza, or a couple slices of bread.
Lets say the combined amount of FODMAPs equals a teaspoon. And lets say my body can absorb a teaspoon in any given 8 hour period. So a teaspoon goes into body, and my body burns through the teaspoon with none or very little leftover.
But then I get brave. You see my brain is smart enough to say if ate something yesterday, and didn’t get sick, maybe I’m cured! So then the next day, I have a slice of pizza, then eat some strawberries, then clean my teeth using gum.
I’m in for a bad day now. You see, now my stomach, or in this case, my bowl, has 3 tsp of FODMAPS, but my body can still only absorb one teaspoon. Where does the other 2 teaspoons go?
Well my buddies the yeast that lives in all of us, happily eats them. Then I have all of the problems.
But because I ate those different fodmaps throughout the day, I never quite know when I’m going to go over my limit, or whether I have more absorption power left.
So what can you do? Well first, I am pretty strict on fodmap sources that I don’t really like that much or notice I almost always have problems with. Grapes, onions, garlic for example. Second, I try to mentally tally how much I’ve eaten in any given 24 hour period, when I have had 1 or 2, I’m done for the day. Third, I take oregano pills as a natural anti-yeast when I know I’ve been bad.
Now, I rarely preach the fodmaps to people and I tell people who don’t know about FODMAPs, that I’m just allergic to things. People are trained to just accept this most of the time. This is problematic though, because sometimes people will catch you eating something that you said you’re allergic to, and they don’t understand that you can have a small amount and probably be ok.
So how does knowing this help? In some ways, just knowing that I’m not insane, that this is a real thing, and makes sense, has really helped. Plus, I’m less likely to be “randomly” sick, though it doesn’t help too much when I’m knowingly eating things I know I shouldn’t. I also can appreciate when someone lactose intolerant says they’re going to eat ice cream and just be sick later. I get that, I’m that guy too! Heck, how can I say no to roasted garlic cloves in my pasta? I’ll just feel like I’m dying for the next couple days. Its worth it…right?
Well, that was my spiel on FODMAPs. I hope it was interesting, and even more so, I hope it helps someone out there. If you have experience with problems like this, or can correct me on what I misunderstood about FODMAPs, please post down below or share this video with someone who might have similar issues.
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