Wednesday, January 30, 2013

FOD Whats? Heck No I Don't Want to Eat That

"Sue Shepherd says she never expected to become famous for taming cantankerous stomachs.
"The 38-year-old Australian dietitian invented a food regimen with a bizarre name in her early 20s to relieve symptoms of bloating and stomach cramps. It’s now being adopted internationally, changing the way doctors manage a set of digestive troubles known as irritable bowel syndrome."
I'd heard of the term "FODMAPS" from Chris Kresser, but hadn't followed up at all, so I found this explanation interesting.  The sample diet the posted was interesting but raised many questions.  

I think this is a telling statement:
"Because it avoids foods with high-fructose corn-syrup, it can be difficult to procure appropriate products in the U.S. where the ingredient is widespread, he said, in everything from jelly to ketchup."
In other words, if you eat stuff in packages with labels, you are eating food with FODMAPS.  
So here's the BLUF:  if you eat according to the Paleo template (meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, no sugar no wheat) you will have eliminated most FODMAPS anyway, and several other problematic foods that the FODMAP diet seems to include.  To me, then, this diet is an explanation for one of the reasons why the paleo template serves us so well.

Meaning - you'll feel better, which is the point, and one I probably should make more often. Losing fat is great, being healthy is great, not being embarrassed or limited by a "beer tumor" is great, but the point of any of it is that your best life starts when your pursuit of what makes your life great is not limited by the side effects of eating nasty "foods".

Otherwise stated - it is easy for us paleolithic types, stuck in a neolithic society for which we are not optimized in many ways, to fixate on gaining pleasure from food by eating sweets, wheat, alcohol and other treats which we become addicted to (in greater or lesser degrees).  This is self evidently not the best way to have a fulfilling, satisfying, or exciting life, and for many, boils down to bare existence.  The trick is to eat such that, unhindered by health or energy deprivations, you can fill your life with activities and relationships that fulfill you.  

One of the characteristics of a "good diet" then, is that it does not require your effort and attention day and night to sustain it for years, or to sustain it when not in your normal routine.

At least, that's the way I see it.  

Here are a few more tidbits from the FODMAP article.  The story is another nail in the "more fiber is better" bandwagon, and generally aligns with the observations of the paleo template, but I found the story interesting in and of itself:
“I pieced together what was an experimental diet,” said Shepherd, who began teaching the regimen in her private dietetics practice in early 1997. “I wasn’t randomly picking these foods -- they all had something in common: they were all potentially not absorbed in the small intestine.”
"Peter Gibson, gastroenterology professor at Melbourne’s Monash University, helped coin the term Fodmap to describe the molecules people with irritable bowel syndrome have difficulty stomaching -- fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols found in dozens of everyday things from apples and wheat to milk, high-fructose corn syrup, and sugarless chewing gum."
"Shepherd, who has celiac disease, tested her diet on 25 people, preparing all their meals herself for 22 weeks in a study that formed part of a PhD thesis at Monash. She found the diet quelled symptoms in at least 70 percent of participants, compared with 12 percent given a placebo meal resembling typical Australian fare."
Usual diets here in the U.S. are laden with Fodmaps,” Portland dietitian Catsos said. “Doctors have pushed high-fiber diets and fiber supplements almost across the board for IBS patients. Therefore, health-conscious Americans are guzzling smoothies filled with yogurt and fruit, juicing, eating loads of cruciferous vegetables, beans and high-fiber nutrition bars and nuts, then they wonder why their IBS has gotten worse.”

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