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What is it & how does it work?

Appetite is a very useful evolutionary adaptation that compels us to consume nutrients and energy, the lack of an appetite (seen in elderly and sick people) would result in a lack of compulsion to eat, which ultimately leads to weakness and decline, it makes sense then, that the biological strive to survive axioms have led us to 21st century living, where our super sensitive hunger mechanisms, combined with dizzying levels of distraction and hyper-palatable and calorie dense foods, and a general increase in self-indulgence, have culminated in mass obesity and overweight globally. Appetite is frequently cited as a root cause of indulging or overeating.

This makes sense, as it is incredibly hard to ignore hunger, and the low blood sugar, temper and general lethargic feeling that can come with it. That being said, a simple understanding into how our appetite is regulated from a physical point of view, and a psychological point of view, can help us easily tame this beast.

Let’s look first at what appetite specifically means, a desire to eat (not always from hunger) or a lack of desire to eat i.e. lack of appetite, both are flipsides of the same mechanistic control. Let’s look at the control center for biological hunger, which is the hypothalamus (more specifically, the infundibular nucleus). From this segment of your brain, a whole variety of hormones are released, which either stimulate or suppress your appetite.

The main players in making you feel hungry are the neuropeptides Neuropeptide Y (NPY) & Agouti related – peptide (AgRP), both of which are stimulted via ghrelin release. Ghrelin is released from the mucosa of your stomach and into the brain via blood-brain barrier, when you haven’t consumed food in a number of hours, and blood sugar levels begin to decrease. This trio of compounds results in a decrease in leptin circulation and activity, which is the hormone resulting in us feeling satiated. This tends to happen in tandem with glucagon secretion and decreased insulin secretion, which makes sense, as these are hormonal responses to lower blood sugar levels.

On the flip side, there are two main neuropeptides that inhibit our appetite and make us feel full, which are effected by a large amount of circulating hormones. Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and Cocaine & amphetamine – regulated transcript (CART) are the big players in making you feel full, these are enacted on by leptin & insulin (note that these rise when we eat, in tandem with blood sugar increases), and suppress NPY, AgRP and ghrelin. Other players in this game include incretins (CCK/GLP-1/GIP). all of which are secreted by your GI tract when you eat, CCK reacts mostly in response to consumption of fats & proteins, and inhibits feeding desire, GIP aids insulin action and results in better energy storage capacity, GLP-1 delays gastric emptying and inhibits glycogen breakdown – soe research shows that simply thinking about eating can stimulate the three prior hormones. There are a number of other minor appetite effectors that work at appetite suppression and NPY inhibition.

Slowing down gastric motility, making us feel full, gastric emptying rate, aiding insulin secretion and suppressing our hunger hormones, these are all important elements to remember for the follow on article.

This is the hormonal basis for appetite regulation, though there is also a psychological basis too, and an illness effect. Being chronically sick can result in leptin release, this often happens with chronic diseases and cachexia (inflammatory state resulting in weight loss via appetite suppression). Our mind can also have a hindering or enhancing effect in our appetite, stress can cause cortisol and glucocorticoid release, and can result in increased appetite, whereas anxiety can stimulate our fight or flight response, shutting off digestive processes to favour vital functions and blood flow to muscles (this makes sense as fight or flight is an evolutionary response to threats, and prepares us to flee quickly from predators). The final aspect of the psychological and non-homeostatic appetite regulation is boredom, and hedonism.

In the 21st century, it is not uncommon to have multiple screens on the go, to multitask and alongside the general deifying of being busy all the time, it is no wonder that we are not good at being bored, or relaxing. These are typically the scenarios where we may experience cravings and a desire to eat, though not necessarily hunger, which is an important distinction. When we have a gap in the typical level of stimulus we are used to, i.e. when we relax or slow down, we feel uncomfortable, and we are conditioned to fill this gap with any form of food, usually junk food, which kicks off the pleasure centers in our brains, making it the perfect antidote to being bored, or stressed, or frightened etc…

The next article will look at the practical aspects of what we can do with this information here, a lot of which will be based on slowing down digestion, how we can suppress appetite, how to maximize leptin levels and how we can deal with comfort eating once and for all.

For an in depth look at how you can control your appetite, and how you can integrate this knowledge into your dietary approach, why not sign up for online coaching and finally stop being a slave to your diet and weight today.

Till next time.

E

This is the final part of the series relating to iron, and will focus predominantly on how this effects athletes, when it’s time to supplement, symptoms to look out for and how you can keep yourself healthy. If you haven’t read parts I & II, covering how iron is absorbed, digested and regulated in the body, you can get part one here, and part two here.

Many people supplement blindly with an iron supplement, assuming that it is a silver bullet and flawless plan for treating and preventing anemia and iron deficiency. There are a number of drawbacks to using iron supplements, including the potential for gastric upset and the ease at which they can lead to toxicity levels. So what, then, can or should an athlete do to keep anemia at bay?

Just to reiterate the fact that there is a difference between iron deficiency and anemia, the former being a depletion in storage iron in the liver, spleen and bone marrow – resulting in depressed stores, decreases in decreased transport and an increase in TIBC, eventually leading to decreasing serum iron (see previous article if that doesn’t make sense). Iron deficiency starts to turn into anemia when ferritin levels drop below 12ug/L and your haemoglobin starts to fall out of range. Taking an iron supplement before this point will have no impact on performance, and one should wait until they are down near this 12ug/L range before supplementing with iron. Until you get to this stage, the best thing to do is to bolster your diet with foods rich in haem-iron and fortified products such as grains and cereals.

How can you tell if you are iron deficient or anemic? The simple and most effective answer is to get a blood test, it is a good idea to this annually anyway, or bi-annually if you are an elite athlete or in the at risk demographic (female endurance athlete). That really is the only definitive way to draw a distinction and place you in a distinct spot on the continuum of iron deficiency, but if your like me, you hate needles, and you won’t get a voluntary blood unless it is absolutely vital, what else can you do to keep tabs of your iron? There are a few physical and clinical signs you can look at, that may point you towards a conclusion.

Having pale skin, thinning hair, kyphosis (spoon shaped fingernails), pale conjunctiva (the red bit behind your eyelids) and noticing a decrease in training performance, by becoming short of breath much quicker and having a decreased exercise tolerance. Whilst this is useful info, it is important to note, that clinical and physical symptoms don’t usually precipitate until you are anemic or borderline. Alongside this, ferritin depression without drops in serum iron or haemoglobin, doesn’t actually impact on your ability to perform on the track, on the road or on the bike, as your oxygen transport capacity isn;t effected until your haemoglobin levels drop.

So, right now, what you can do is book a blood test (maybe wait until COVID has relaxed a tad), and ensure you get adequate iron intake, and pay special attention to the rich food sources and inhibitors, and start emphasizing this on a day to day basis. The biggest thing is to swap to wholegrain products over white options, getting your green veggies, pulses and nuts in on a day to day basis, consuming vitamin C with all these examples and if it’s possible, include lean red meat or offal 1-2 times per week, liver if you can hack it (I cannot).

If you would like some help with nailing your diet, click here to sign up for online coaching, and nail much more than optimizing your iron intake, or, if you just want a 60 minute session with a dietary analysis to get some quick and effective pointers, then click here to book a session in the athlete clinic, at a time that suits you, from the comfort of your own home!

I hope you enjoyed this three part series on iron, it is a vital nutrient for any athlete or sportsperson to optimize in their diet, and can very easily and quickly unravel an athlete’s sporting ambitions. I would love to hear your feedback, if you found it useful or helpful, and if you think others can benefit from it, please share it!

Happy trails,

E

Are we asking the wrong question?

Challenging biases

            This is a much nuanced topic that I come into contact with multiple times per day, as humans we are conditioned to classify and qualify everything, giving things labels and grouping them together, it helps make us feel in control. Ironically, when we do this with foods, the opposite happens and in most cases it will simply leave you fearing every food choice you make, wondering if what you are eating is taking days off your life, or adding inches to your waistline. The short answer, for those who dislike reading, is that there are neither good foods nor bad foods as such; it’s all a matter of context.

            Let’s take for example, white pasta, sweet potato and 40g of cornflakes, if we control for portion sizing, which one is better? Is it fair or even useful to look at foods like this? Out of the 3 options, the pasta would have slightly more protein, and the sweet potato would have more fibre, but the cornflakes would probably be fortified with a lot of vitamins. Each has their strengths. When we have a bowl of pasta, it is common to add oils, sauces, meats and consume with bread and maybe a dessert. If you have a sweet potato, odds are you have quite a large portion, and you may decide to fill it with some cheese and bacon, and have some meat and vegetables with it. The cornflakes, you can add milk. Are any of these bad? Let’s discuss.

Calorie talk

            If weight loss is your goal, which it is for most people, the main thing you need to look at is your calorie balance during the day, that is the most important thing, and the only thing that actually matters. Yes, we get bogged down in metabolism, fat burning foods, fad diets and dietary modification, however, the fact remains that behind all that, it is calories in versus calories out, it is the first law of thermodynamics, it is as true as the fact that gravity keeps your feet on the ground. If it were breakfast time, the cornflakes would probably be a better option than the other two choices, simply because it’s a breakfast food, use semi-skimmed milk and you are all good. If it were lunch time, the sweet potato would be a good choice, bake one medium potato and stuff it with some low fat cottage cheese and chicken, have it with a side salad, and then you have yourself a good and balanced meal! At dinnertime, opt for the pasta, don’t have bread with it, take it easy on the oils/pesto and try bulk up the dish with veg rather than meat, and that’s dinner. If your confused as to why I didn’t discuss how any of the above were bad options, it’s because they are not and I was making a point, all foods can have a place in your diet, as long as stick with portion sizing, go low fat when you can, include some healthy fats and vegetables, then the individual food item you are worried about, becomes more or less irrelevant.

            If I take 11 g of oil, 5 teaspoons of honey or a 25g scoop of protein powder, which all have 100 calories roughly speaking of fat, sugars and protein respectively, NONE OF THESE are any more fattening than the other. Note that oils and fat rich foods are more calorie dense, but it is calories that matter. Does that mean that having some olive oil, avocado and nuts is bad? No, it is very necessary for baseline health to get your fats in. So, we can now stop classing foods as good or bad based on their fat content, we simply know we need less high fat/high calorie food for weight maintenance.

The “bad stuff”

            Let’s go for a taboo topic, chocolate, croissants, pastries etc. I assume these may be a source of dread, anxiety or even guilt for you, but they don’t have to be. I put “junk food” on EVERY ONE OF MY CLIENT’S plans, EVERY DAY. Let that sink in, elite athletes, professional athletes, some of the fittest people in the world, see here for a sample, they eat junk food every day. There is a condition to this however, and it is the portion. In strict clinical guidelines, and using all the guidelines and world health organisation points, a nutritionist or dietitian may tempted to tell you to avoid all the foods you like, however in real life, with real people, who have real feelings and urges, this doesn’t work. If chocolate is something you hold dear to you, you can 3-4 squares per day, and it doesn’t have to be dark chocolate either (which I personally think tastes like Monday morning). Croissants and pastries are a little harder to get around, as they have very high fat and calorie contents, however, I would say two-three per week is fine. Let’s do a dogmatic exercise, with junk foods, or “bad foods”, a small portion is okay, and for the beneficial mental effect, ability to enjoy your diet, and the added likelihood of you sticking to a healthier eating pattern, I consider it good!

So, if we all agree that a small portion of chocolate is good, does that mean a bigger portion is better, and a huge portion is absolutely fantastic? No, not even close, for reasons I hope are obvious. Let’s look at it in another light, broccoli, the well-respected green vegetable, including a few florets of this in your daily diet is super good for you, but if getting some is good, surely that means in this case, that eating a whole head a day for example, could probably cure death? No, not even close. In fact, eating too much fibre will make you constipated, give you gas, stomach cramps, and nausea, and if you have IBS or any gastric condition, will ruin your day. I wanted to include examples of the importance of portion control, for both foods you view as healthy and unhealthy. Just to reiterate, eating lots of chocolate, and having it at every meal, would be bad for you, and you would likely gain weight, have pretty bad cholesterol and maybe poor control of your blood sugar, and you would always be hungry, that doesn’t mean you can’t have it, it just means stick to a small portion, and enjoy it! If you ate broccoli at every meal, which may not be ideal, for the reasons mentioned above, that doesn’t mean you should eat no broccoli.

The “very bad” stuff

One last point I want to touch on, is the way we pathologize foods, and relate them to diseases. I deal with diabetics Monday through Friday, and the advice for them is to monitor their carb & fruit portions and to eat little and often, it is similar to normal healthy eating. Diabetics are advised to opt for wholegrain options where possible, to better control their blood glucose, this is where some confusion arises, and “does that mean white bread will give me diabetes?” I hear you ask. No, it simply means that a diabetic requires extra steps and care to regulate how quickly sugars from meals transfuse into their blood. A perfectly healthy person will not get huge blood sugar spikes, or diabetes, if they eat some white bread, note I am not saying to eat white bread, I am making a point, wholemeal is better for you, but white bread isn’t bad or dangerous. A similar thing is seen with protein intake and kidney disease, a lot of the studies that “show” that protein shakes and higher protein intakes are bad for you, came to their conclusion via studying high protein intake effects on people who had existing kidney disease, which can be made worse by intaking large protein amounts. This does not mean that a healthy person consuming a higher protein diet should expect to develop kidney disease, that isn’t how it works. A quick tip, if anyone tells you to avoid “that one specific food” or to “eat these foods to stop this disease”, they are liars, wasting your time and making food more confusing than it needs to be.

To summarize, most of the things you worry about relating to foods make almost no difference. No foods are really off the table, you can eat healthily, balanced and still have the things you like the most, and still hit your goals! Pay attention to portion control, include your veg, your fruits and eat little & often. If you have a specific condition, you should seek my help or the help of a dietitian, or if you are someone who is plagued by food guilt, anxiety or simply no longer know what is okay to eat or not, come see me and book a consultation or sign up to the online coaching service, details of all and a sign up pathway are available here, or follow me rant in a similar fashion on my social media platforms, both here and here.

Regards,

E

Spoiler alert: You don’t need to drink bulletproof coffee, you don’t need to shovel carbs down your throat and you don’t need to “convert” to ketogenesis.

The key to maximizing endurance performance, or performance in general, is getting the required adaptations from ALL sessions, you could be shooting yourself in the foot, unwittingly, read on to find out more.

This is a topic that gets hotly debated by many, mostly people on polar opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of high fat and high carb advocates, with both side putting forward their centerpiece argument, be it mitochondrial biogenesis or mTOR pathway activation. Both sides are correct, but it is important to note that both sides are equally as dogmatic and pedantic as they are correct, in technical terms, and nobody wins. Once again, the answer lies in the murky grey area as to how to use carbs & fats in your sporting or fitness endeavors to get the absolute most out of it. In summary, the low carb approach can be looked at almost in the same light as ergogenic aid (a supplement), there are certain sessions where it is beneficial, it has drawbacks if over utilized and it is not magic in isolation, also the results are less likely to benefit increasingly elite athletes.

So why can’t we go low carb for all the time? You can, if your training regime consists solely of easy aerobic work, you don’t train everyday and your not really buzzed about your performance, as your recovery will be impeded, thus your progression will be. If you have no tough sessions, nothing with a hint of intensity, no actual performance goals, and you don’t mind feeling sluggish, then go bananas (or avocados, rather), do all the fasted cardio you can manage, but just consume your carbs after training, don’t hold out on glycogen repletion. If you have an actual race season, some performance goals and you work all elements of your aerobic and anaerobic system (any reps, hill sprints, intervals, weights, threshold work etc.) then you cannot* do those workouts off of no or low carbs. *Technically you can, BUT your rate of perceived exertion will be much higher, your oxygen cost for a given intensity will be much higher and you won’t be able to actually go near the high end of your aerobic capacity, your exercise tolerance will also drop a bit. With increasing intensity, less blood flow gets to your adipose tissue, meaning less fats are metabolized (lipolysis rates go down when intensity rises), when the PH of your muscle drops as a by product of acid formation, transporters involved in getting long chain fatty acids into mitochondria are inhibited, also in part due to a depletion in free carnitine, which acts to buffer excess Acetyl Co-A produced, to allow for maintained intensity (Acetyl Co-A accumulation down regulates how your body makes more fuel available for work). These things all result in you feeling like your parents stuck a limiter after 4th gear in your car. If you want to get the most out of the tough work your doing, if you need to power up a hill or indeed you have a race (which has short bursts of sprints, climbs etc. which often dictate race placings), that isn’t the time for low carb. I hope that makes sense, in essence, if your workout is hard, or intense, only carbohydrates can match the rate of feul burning needed, and won’t be inhibited by the by-products of high intense exercise.

Also bear in mind, for those of you reading this, who are shaking their heads, tutting and repeating over & over that “I am an endurance athlete, I ONLY use fats, because the intensity is LOW”, to you guys/gals, I say, you couldn’t be more incorrect. Fat oxidation is optimized between 45-65% of your VO2max, easy running or jogging would be just about over that range, so unless you plan on strolling race day, or your Sunday long runs are actually strolls, you are using carbs also. Now, it is a sliding scale, and it is still possible to train low carb, I’m just making a point, that carbohydrate metabolism is ALWAYS involved, from low to high end of range. Elite marathon runners will belt around 26.2 miles at 85-90% VO2max, non-elites wont get quite that high, but not from it, you guys are simply slower at running, the intensity may not differ though, triathlon would be similar, there is a case for Iron-man being an exception (which I disagree with, but that’s another blog entirely). So even for longer “slower” events, this still applies.

So when CAN we use the low carb approach, and how do we do it? Great question, let’s take a look. If you are in off season, which is winter for cyclists and most runners, then this is the time to do it, reason being is that you have no races upcoming (no important ones), and the majority of your training is easier in terms of intensity, so recovery has a little more wiggle room at this time of year. Carb fasted sessions take a bit longer to recover from in terms of glycogen depletion and repletion, which in turn can suppress your immune function, and can make subsequent bouts of exercise feel more difficult or be poorly executed. For these reasons, it is silly do it in race season, or in a block of high intensity, where recovery and session performance are PARAMOUNT to adaptations and athlete confidence. So keep it for easy weeks, off season & cross-training. Pick which sessions to try fasted or low carb based off of the following criteria:

1) How long is the session, if its <100 mins, go for it. You have enough body glycogen at low intensity exercise to last approx 100 mins, I wouldn’t push it past that. If your run is longer, take a gel at THIS point and complete the rest of your session.

2) If it’s ONLY easy cardio, go for it. If your questioning this, read the article again.

3) Can it be done first thing in the morning, or after breakfast, if so, do it. It’s okay to train fasted, or to have one meal as a low carb meal (or low GI – you more so don’t want any insulin response for “low carb” training). I don’t think it’s a good idea to opt for low carb protocols for a whole day, as it tends to be restrictive and you cut out many staple foods, risking the overall health composition of your daily diet (remember, I’m a dietitian… health first!!)

If you satisfy all the above criteria, go mad, and enjoy it. Low fat sessions can improve your ability to efficiently oxidize fats, and it can cause elevations in circulating PGC-1a, an enzyme that leads to mitochondrial biogenesis, basically the powerhouse units of your cells get bigger and more in number, meaning you can tack on points to your aerobic capacity.

For more information, or advice regarding how you can optimize your training around your life, goals and needs, get in touch. I specialize in endurance athletes and am confident that if you haven’t already addressed this topic, that nutrition can add dividends to your sporting performance. Get in touch via the website or email me at: fitnutspectrumfitness@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading,

E

The gap between knowledge & success is application

It has become inherently evident to me that there are many things that do not work when it comes to giving out nutrition advice, and having people interact accordingly with it. One such factor was giving people overwhelming amounts of information, which I was privy to doing, with the intent of helping and informing, but in reality what happens is that people become confused, distressed, they don’t understand what figures apply where, and why. This became very apparent with a recent client, with whom suggestions such as low fat yogurts, microwave grains and ready made salads seemed like made up products, and the idea of reading a food label was out of this world.

So today, I am doing my first session of what I hope to become a main pillar in the services I offer, practical shopping guides, and my only regret is that I hadn’t thought of it sooner! What does this entail?

  • 30-45 minute shopping trip to your local supermarket (Aldi/Lild/Tesco)
  • A software analyzed report of your typical diet
  • Suggested meal plans
  • Suggested shopping lists
  • Meal prep guidelines & recipes

The session is basically a walking tour of a supermarket, discussing aisle by aisle, pointing out your habitually consumed foods that are contributing most to your calories/fats/salts/sugars and some suggested alternatives. Being shown first hand where to find the foods you need to plug the holes in your diet, and compiling a shopping list that meets your weekly needs, which will fit into both easy cooking and practicality time wise, followed up by a round up in my where we discuss budget/food storage/prepping and some finer points of label reading.

I really think this has the potential to actually reach into practical elements of healthy eating & living by ensuring you have:

1) A good food environment

2) Constant food availability

3) All your nutritional needs met

4) A plan

I will be properly rolling this out in the coming weeks, but will be taking bookings. If you are interested, and think this could benefit you, get in touch and let’s organize your groceries!

Get in touch via Facebook/Instagram platforms or email: fitnutspectrumfitness@gmail.com

Stay healthy,

Evan

This is hotly debated topic, what is FODMAP, what is it for, how does it work? All is explained below!

Having IBS and issues with bloating, cramps and malabsorption can really wreak havoc with your life, it can cause food to become a source of anxiety, it can destroy your appetite, cut you off from your social and ruin your confidence, not to mention feel powerless in terms of never knowing what to eat. The FODMAP protocol is designed to help you avoid specific sugars and fibres that either are poorly digested, are broken down rapidly by gut bacteria to create gas, or which can draw water into your intestines, these sugars and fibres are well defined, and there are clear cut ways to avoid them, it just takes a little know how and a little practice. Let’s look at what FODMAP stands for:

  • F is for fermentable. The sugars and fibres that your gut bacteria love to eat and make lots of gas with, very quickly, leading to bloating and abdominal pain, and possibly reflux/nausea.
  • O is for oligosaccharide. These are compounds consisting of fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides. These are very poorly absorbed and difficult to digest for humans in general, and can be common sources of gastric distress. Sources include onion, garlic, legumes, pulses, wheat and rye.
  • D is for disaccharide. These are two molecule sugars such as lactose, the sugar in dairy products, ice-cream, creams and milk would be the biggest offenders. High fat cheeses should be fine.
  • M is for monosaccharide. Fructose is the main one here, it is well absorbed in the presence of glucose, foods usually have a mix of the two, but in high fructose foods, you may be prone to malabsorption issues, foods high in fructose will include honey, apples, watermelon and watch out for high-fructose corn syrup on labels (also known glucose-fructose, isoglucose, glucose-fructose syrup). Avoid juices in excess.
  • A doesn’t stand for anything. It’s purely to make the acronym easier to say. Just FYI.
  • P stands for polyols. These are sugar alcohol sweeteners that contain about 3 calories per gram (just nice to know they are not calorie free). These are not absorbed, and they can draw water into your gut, giving you the urge to go to the bathroom and potentially to have diarrhoea. These include sorbitol and mannitol, anything ending in –ol is most likely a sugar alcohol, unless you are drinking actual alcohol, which has 7 calories per gram.

How we approach it

The FODMAP protocol should be stuck to for approximately 4-6 weeks, sticking to lower FODMAP food options for this period of time, Monashe university have useful resources and an app that is quite useful and can inspire some recipes! After the six week period, you can start slowly introducing some of the trigger foods, basically anything that isn’t on the list. This should be done under the guise of a dietitian or registered nutritionist, as the nature of the low FODMAP diet can put people at risk of energy and nutrient deficiency, an expense for lower incidence of gastric issues. Taking a multivitamin, speaking to a doctor and getting a blood test to check your nutrient status prior to embarking on this would be a good idea. The main thing to note is that this diet is only designed for short term, the whole point is to include more and more items as your gastric symptoms allow, in increasing amounts.

Food lists (to include)

Low FODMAP carbs: Options include rice, potato, gluten free bread, rice noodles, gluten free pasta pasta/spaghetti, oats, corn, quinoa, buckwheat, popcorn, oat/rice/potato flours are fine, fruit is okay, but that is a separate category below.

Low FODMAP fruits: Banana (green), blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries (1 tbsp), clementine, grapes, guava, honeydew and galia melon (NOT watermelon), kiwi, lemon & limes (juice is okay too), mandarin, orange, passionfruit, papaya, pineapple, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry.

Low FODMAP veggies: Bamboo shoots, bean-sprouts, beetroot, broccoli (1/2 cup), Brussel’s sprouts (2), butternut squash (1/4 cup), cabbage (1 cup), carrots, chick peas (2 tbsp), courgette, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, green beans, ginger, kale, lentils (1-2 tbsp), lettuce, marrows, olives, parsnip, snow peas (<5 pods), peppers, potato, pumpkin, seaweed, spinach, sundried tomato (<4 pieces), sweet potato (1/2 medium potato), tomato, turnip, yam, zucchini.

Low FODMAP dairy: Butter, brie, camembert, cheddar, cottage, feta, goat , Monterey Jack, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta (2 tbsp), Swiss, dairy free chocolate pudding, margarine, almond milk, hemp milk, lactose free milk, rice milk (200ml), sorbet, soy protein (avoid soya beans), Swiss cheese, tempeh, tofu , whipped cream, coconut yoghurt, Greek yoghurt (small portions), lactose free yoghurt.

Low FODMAP nuts/seeds: Walnuts, pecan, pine nuts, brazil nuts, almonds, chestnuts, chia seeds, hemp seed, sunflower & pumpkin seeds.

Low FODMAP condiments: Butter, strawberry jam, maple syrup, marmalade, peanut butter, pesto, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, soy sauce.

Low FODMAP protein: Beef, cold meats, cod, chicken, egg, haddock, lamb, mussels, oysters, plaice, pork, prawns, Quorn, salmon, trout, turkey, tuna (avoid breaded or marinated options, flavour foods yourself as much as possible.

Low FODMAP drinks: Water, lactose free milks, lemonade made fresh, tea, coffee, gin, whiskey, wine, 1 glass sugar free soda max.

Sneaky things to avoid

  • Sugar free soda or squash, chewing gum, mints. Check labels for sorbitol/mannitol/xylitol, these are sugar alcohols and can cause some gastric pain and diarrhoea in IBS sufferers.
  • Avoid dried fruits; they have an increased concentration of fructose sugars as a result of the processing.
  • Avoid anything with garlic or onion, garlic infused oil is fine.

Portions

  • Gluten free pasta (100g/7 tbsp/3 handfuls)
  • Gluten free spaghetti (100g/bunch 1 inch diameter)
  • Brown rice/couscous/Quinoa (80g/5 tbsp)
  • Buckwheat (75g/5 tbsp)
  • Popcorn (40-50g)
  • Potato (2 egg sized potatoes)
  • Bread (2 slices wholegrain, 1 slice Maltese bread, 1 wrap, 1 small bread roll)
  • Cereal (2 Weetabix, 40g cereals, 50g oats)
  • Fruit (1/2 banana, 1 apple/orange/pear, 6-7 grapes, 10-15 blueberries, 3-4 strawberries, 2 dates, 1 cup of chopped melon/pineapple)
  • Veg (1 handful broccoli/spinach/kale, salad veg, 1 carrot, 1 marrow, 1 cup of chopped pumpkin/squash, 2 tbsp peas/corn/beans)
  • Seeds (1 teaspoon)
  • Nuts (6-8 nuts)
  • Oils/dressings/honey (1 teaspoon)
  • Dairy (200ml milk, 125g yogurt, matchbox/thumb sized portion of cheese)
  • Chocolate (2-3 squares, 2 cookies, 5-6 maltesers, small chocolate bar)

How can you add flavour to your food without risking side effects?

  1. Use garlic/onion/chili/herb infused oil. FODMAPs cannot infuse into oil, but you can get their flavour to, use these to keep your meals kicking!
  2. Use good old herbs and spices, these are all okay.
  3. Add a little salt, and a little pepper.
  4. Sauces like soy and salad dressings should be okay.

Thanks for reading, I hope you find this helpful!

Get in touch:

  • fitnutspectrumfitness@gmail.com
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