New York Times Columnist Jane Brody on FODMAPs

The New York Times has discovered FODMAPs! Yes, they’ve decided to call it “Fodmaps” instead, but we’d say that’s a tomato-tomato issue.

In her October 6 Personal Health column, Jane Brody covers the research on non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) that briefly set the Internet on fire earlier this year. Many researchers—including Peter Gibson, coauthor of The Complete Low-FODMAP Diethave concluded that NCGS (symptoms associated with eating gluten but not caused by the autoimmune disorder celiac disease) is real, but a 2013 study by Gibson’s group introduced some doubt.

Gibson and his colleagues reopened the case because some people with irritable bowel syndrome aren’t completely “cured” by a gluten-free diet. The researchers wondered whether FODMAPs might be involved, because wheat, rye, and barley contain not only gluten but also FODMAPs (fermentable carbs that can cause digestive distress). Their second study revealed that, for many, the true culprit may in fact be FODMAPs, not gluten.

As Brody reports, Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Dr. Joseph A. Murray recommends that those who suspect they are sensitive to gluten “Test first, test right.” Once someone has been gluten-free for some time, the tests for celiac are no longer accurate (since they look for antibodies and internal damage that disappear if the diet is successful). A blood test and endoscopy before going gluten-free is the way to go.

After that, although there’s no quick test for FODMAP sensitivity, patients can test themselves (ideally under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian) by adopting a low-FODMAP diet. Brody gives a quick crash course in going low-FODMAP. For more details, check out the infographic below and our two essential books on the subject.


Research suggests a low-FODMAP diet can resolve about 75 percent of irritable bowel syndrome cases, so we’re thrilled Jane Brody is spreading the word about FODMAPs (er, Fodmaps). For way, way more information than any blog post or article can give you, plus delicious recipes to get you started, we hope you’ll check out The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet and The Low-FODMAP Diet Cookbook.

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