When it comes to nutrition, carbohydrates are an interesting topic. You either find people fall into one of three categories when it comes to this macro-nutrient.
Some will avoid carbohydrates like the plague for a variety of reasons. This could be due to an attempt to eliminate gluten from the diet, a belief that carbohydrates make us fat or for other health reasons.
Others will consume carbohydrates in small quantities while only selecting the varieties believed to the healthiest. Sometimes this include carbohydrates that are gluten-free, low glycemic, organic, whole grain or simply fruits and vegetables.
Lastly there are some people who don’t get too excited about carbs. They will eat bread, pasta, cereal and rice without taking a special pill or scheduling an additional training session to burn off all this additional energy.
Gets kind of confusing, doesn’t it?
What information do you follow? Do you go with what the healthiest, leanest person you know says? Do you go with whatever the newest information, i.e. a trend, is suggesting? Or something else?
While this post isn’t about deciphering nutritional sources to determine who or what to trust the short answer is to trust those who are the most educated in a field and where the majority of evidence points.
For example, if I could follow a nutritional recommendation from a nutritionist from someone with a PhD in this field, from a scientist in another field of study or from a well-known fitness person, I’ll trust the person with the PhD in nutrition.
As well, if the majority of evidence, i.e. peer reviewed research, on a topic indicates a particular finding I’ll usually go with that. Consideration must be given to the type of study, duration, number of subjects etc but assuming the methods are solid I’ll go with what most research tells us.
We can look at how to interpret research in a future blog but for now I want to talk about carbohydrates. And in particular, certain carbohydrates which you may want to consider eliminating from your diet.
These carbs are collectively known as FODMAPs and represents a group of foods that are poorly absorbed and may lead to gastro-intestinal issues such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligo-Di-Monoscaccharides and Polyols and in the diet we known them as:
fructose (fruits, honey, HFCS)
fructans aka inulin (wheat, onion, garlic)
galactans (beans, lentils, legumes)
polyols (sweeteners, stone fruits)
The problem with FODMAPs for some people is that they are osmotic meaning they pull water in to the intestinal tract. If they are poorly absorbed in the small intestine they pass through to the large intestine where they be fermented by bacteria.
Since the symptoms which include gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea tend to occur when eating these foods it is recommended to reduce or possibly even eliminate them from the diet.
Should we make it a little more confusing?
It may help to eliminate foods high in fiber as some high fiber foods also tend to foods that are foods high in FODMAPs.
For more information check out the following link from Stanford University. And if you’re someone who suffers from the symptoms described above talk to your doctor and see if a low FODMAPs diet would help.