SOUTH Beach, paleo, vegan, juice cleanse… and FODMAPs. Short for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, the name FODMAPs certainly doesn’t have instant appeal, but a diet focused on avoiding these substances is catching on with the public and the medical profession alike. The low-FODMAP diet is based not on celebrities’ waistlines or detox bunkum, but on the premise that a healthy gut leads to a happy life. So popular is it proving that there are now claims the diet could alleviate everything from indigestion to chronic fatigue.
Over the past few years, we have become much more clued up about the extensive influence of the gut in health and disease, and the impact our lifestyle choices can have on what some researchers like to call our “second brain”. Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye, has taken much of the blame, with a growing number of people claiming that they have some sort of gluten intolerance. Global sales of gluten-free food rose 12.6 per cent in 2016, and specialist supermarket aisles now heave with gluten-free products, even though the idea that people can be gluten-sensitive even if they don’t have the autoimmune disorder coeliac disease has been largely debunked.
Now the gut health tide is turning once again, and it appears that gut problems linked to certain foods like bread might be real for many. What’s more, the secret to dealing with these problems could fly in the face of established healthy eating advice.
The most common cause of gut problems is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a catch-all term …