Proper nutrition is essential to getting results, no matter if it's muscle growth, fat loss, body recomposition, or simply lifting more weight for more reps in the gym.
While that may seem simple enough in theory, the truth is that the “optimal” diet is highly variable, not only between individuals, but also within the same individual.
For instance, what works for you right now (e.g. high carb, low fat) may not be what helps you stack on track with your results five or ten years from now.
It’s no secret that our bodies change with the passage of time, and this includes what foods are most agreeable with your GI system.
During childhood, you may have been able to drink as much milk and crush as much breakfast cereal as you wanted. These days, the thought of a glass of milk and a bowl of cereal is enough to make your stomach ache and cause fat to accumulate around your midsection.
As such, it’s helpful to be aware of different eating patterns (i.e. diets) that you can explore and experiment with over time.
One of the more popular ones in recent times is the low FODMAP diet.
Today, we’ll discuss what is a FODMAP, why you’d consider a low FODMAP diet, and what are the tell-tale signs that it’s time to try a low FODMAP diet.
Let’s start at the top!
What is a FODMAP?
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols.
FODMAPs are nondigestible short-chain carbs that force water into your digestive tract.
(chemical structure of xylitol)
Since FODMAPs aren’t broken down by our body, they can serve as food for our gut bacteria, which ferment them to produce all sorts of fun things, including short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, which are known to confer a number of beneficial effects to the human body.
However, for some individuals FODMAPs, are not some pleasing as they can lead to:
- Stomach pain
Sources of FODMAPs
FODMAPs can be found in a plethora of foods common to the diet including (but not limited to):
- Oligosaccharides: Legumes, wheat, rye, artichokes, onions, and garlic
- Disaccharides: Milk, yogurt, buttermilk, soft cheese, and ice cream
- Monosaccharides: Apples, pears, mango, watermelon, honey, and agave nectar
- Polyols: Apples, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, and snow peas, as well as sugar alcohols like xylitol, which are commonly used in sugar-free gum, mints, and protein bars
Should FODMAPs Be Avoided?
As mentioned above, FODMAPs have a prebiotic effect, thus promoting the growth of good gut bacteria, which in turn boosts production of butyrate -- an important energy source for cells that line the gut.
Moreover, FODMAPs help increase stool bulk, aid calcium absorption and decrease serum lipid levels.
Is a Low FODMAP Diet Right for Me?
That’s really only something you can answer through experimentation.
If you find that certain foods do not agree with you and cause you to feel the aforementioned GI-related symptoms, then you may want to consider a low FODMAP diet.
Keep in mind that prolonged adherence to a low FODMAP diet could lead to nutrient inadequacies as well as changes to the gut microbiome.(click here if your interested in aiding your gut microbiome)
However, more research is still needed to determine the long term effects of a low FODMAP diet, and there is some research indicating that a low FODMAP diet can be beneficial in the treatment of IBS.
So, don’t be afraid to experiment with your diet, and if you find certain foods aren’t working for you, then try removing them from your diet and replacing them with other nutrient-rich foods that have low or no FODMAPs.
Whether your diet is low FODMAP or not, a healthy level of carbohydrates is needed for peak performance in the gym, be sure to get the most out of your carbs with SlinMax!