First, there was the low-carb high-fat ketogenic diet, then there was the Whole30 diet plan which promotes the consumption of whole foods rather than processed foods. Now there is a new dieting trend that is targeting the 45 million North Americans living with IBS. The Low FODMAP diet aims to drastically reduce the digestive symptoms of IBS sufferers by restricting certain foods that are associated with irritating the bowels. Another key selling point for this diet is the claim that it reduces bloating a promotes a flat stomach.
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, which are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are not easily digested in the body. Those who consume FODMAP foods can experience abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea. This is because FODMAP foods ferment in the large intestine and while being digested they draw in water and produce carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane gas which cause the intestines to expand. High FODMAP foods contain high amounts of fructose, fructans, lactose, galactans and polyols, all of which can be found in a variety of food such as fruits, vegetables, dairy and legumes.
This means that a Low FODMAP diet is restrictive of many common food items. However, some followers of this diet use it for a short period of time just so that they could give their digestive system a chance to heal. Others who suffer from digestive disorders such as IBS use it for longer periods of time. This is because the diet is commonly used as a treatment for IBS symptoms. Nevertheless, it has the potential to gain more widespread popularity because of its potential to reduce bloating and promote a healthy digestive system.
Considering the fact that gut-friendly foods such as yogurt and kombucha are gaining momentum in the food industry, it is likely that the Low FODMAP diet will attract similar consumers who are interested in digestive health. This, of course, will lead to specialized products that are targeted towards the followers of the Low FODMAP diet.
There is a list of naturally Low FODMAP foods that is available online, however, it looks like food companies are already starting to capitalize on this growing trend. Food giant Nestlé has invested in this category with the launch of their ProNourish line of Low FODMAP digestive wellness drinks and fiber supplements. On top of that, the company also developed a website called LowFODMAP Central where they provide education on FODMAPS and promote foods that fall under the diet.
Another company that is setting a new standard for this dieting trend is Montreal, Canada-based FODY FOODS, which produces a variety of Low FODMAP products such as condiments, soup bases, trail mixes, snack bars, chips and spices. Last year the company raised $2.25 million in a Series A financing round led by Avrio Capital. More recently, the company announced its expansion into over 300 Sprouts locations across 19 US states. FODY products can also be found in Wegmans and Hy-Vee locations across the US.
“Awareness of the low FODMAP diet is growing exponentially and helping many of those suffering from IBS begin to live symptom-free lives,” said Steven J. Singer, Fody CEO. “We are thrilled to play a role in bringing relief to the IBS community, including our fantastic partnership with Sprouts that will allow customers with IBS and other digestive issues enjoy the incredible benefits of the low FODMAP diet and Fody Foods.”