Most people experience the tight, uncomfortable feeling of a bloated stomach at some point in their lives.
This could just be caused by overeating or eating too quickly, but some people find the problem a regular occurrence.
Digestion problems can happen following consumption of certain foods, with symptoms such as a bloated stomach, stomach cramps, flatulence and diarrhoea.
Symptoms like these can be common among people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and irritable bowel disease (IBD).
However, they can also happen to people who are simply eating too much of something which their stomachs are having trouble digesting.
But what sort of diet should someone experiencing these symptoms follow? Josh Dyson, performance nutritionist at The Manchester Institute of Health & Performance, part of HCA Healthcare UK, offered his advice.
Dyson recommends the low FODMAP diet – which originated in Australia and is continuing to be researched at Monash University in Melbourne.
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which is a group of carbohydrates.
So in other words, a low FODMAP diet is one which cuts out foods which are high in certain carbs.
According to Dyson, high FODMAP foods can be poorly absorbed by the gastro-intestinal tract, which can cause digestion problems and lead to bloating.
Under a low FODMAP diet, high FODMAP foods are eliminated for a short period, before gradually being reintroduced in phases.
When reintroduced, tolerance to the high FODMAP foods will be monitored, under the guidance of a medical practitioner, Dyson explains.
“This will then inform which foods can and cannot be tolerated, allowing the individual to personalise their diet,” said Dyson.
So what foods are classed as high FODMAP and what are classed as low FODMAP?
There are a whole host of foods in both the high and low FODMAP categories.
Both high and low FODMAP foods can include certain vegetables, fruits, dairy products, protein sources, breads and cereal products, sugars and confectionary, and nuts and seeds.
If removing a particular food from a diet, Dyson warns on ensuring it doesn’t have a negative influence upon the overall nutrient density of the diet.
To compensate for a lack of certain nutrients, integrating alternative options can ensure adequate nutrient intake is met.
“It is important to stress that any individuals with persistent bloating issues, or any other gastro-intestinal symptoms, seek further advice from either their doctor or a dietitian,” Dyson said.