The term FODMAP is an acronym, derived from “Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols”.
FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. They include short chain oligo-saccharide polymers of fructose (fructans) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS, stachyose, raffinose), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and sugar alcohols (polyols), such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol. FODMAPs are naturally present in food and the human diet.
FODMAPs can cause digestive discomfort in some people, but they do not cause intestinal inflammation. In fact, FODMAPs help avert digestive discomfort because they produce beneficial alterations in the gut flora.
FODMAPs are not the cause of these disorders, but FODMAPs restriction (a low-FODMAP diet) might help to improve short-term digestive symptoms in adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). Avoiding FODMAPs long-term can have a detrimental impact on the gut microbiota and metabolome.
Also, a low FODMAP diet used without a previous complete medical evaluation can cause serious health risks. It can ameliorate and mask the digestive symptoms of serious diseases, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer, avoiding their correct diagnosis and therapy.