Breaking Up With Avocado

07/04/2017 15:26 BST | Updated 07/04/2017 15:26 BST

It's the one thing I said I could never live without, yet I sit here enjoying my last moment with this beautiful fruit, reminiscing about the good times, trying not to cry.

Just when we thought we were safe with a high fat, and gluten-, dairy-, refined- sugar-free existence, we learn that avocado is a high FODMAP food.

WTF is FODMAP?!

What, do you ask, is FODMAP? Well, allow me to explain...

FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, which are foods that easily ferment and are poorly absorbed in the gut. In people with sensitive stomachs and IBS, they can cause bloating, diarrhoea, and intense pains. Avocado is, unfortunately, a polyol.

If that's not bad enough, other fart-inducing foods include cauliflower, coconut, sweet potato, onion, garlic, alcohol, some nuts, and a handful of other fruits and veg. I don't really need to mention it as we're all aware of the beans song, but beans and legumes also feature highly on this list.

Eliminating high FODMAPs have scientifically been shown to reduce symptoms of IBS, and whilst they don't cause the condition itself, they are known to aggravate it a lot.

... and what is SIBO?

One of the most common reasons that these foods can cause trouble is due to a condition called SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth as is it known in the medical world. SIBO occurs when bacteria from our colon runs a little wild, rebels, and ends up sitting in our small intestine. It's basically like a squatter (no pun intended) that tries to eat our food when it shouldn't, and can cause malabsorbtion of nutrients, IBS symptoms and possible stomach lining damage. Symptoms of SIBO can include: nausea and vomiting; bloating; fatigue; skin issues like rashes, acne, eczema, and rosacea; anemia and B12 deficiency; and mood issues like anxiety and depression.

Good and bad news: This can be a massive dietary challenge, but may explain why you've been feeling so rotten when the rest of Instagram is thriving in their 'clean eating' selfies.

Why does SIBO occur?

Commonly, SIBO happens when there is low stomach acid, either from stress, low levels of zinc, or from taking those fabulously marketed antacid medications. It can also arise due to diabetes, structural defects, immune system issues, diverticulosis, coeliac disease, or from the natural ageing process.

If no smashed avo, what can I eat?

Don't be alarmed folks; if you have to experiment with low FODMAP foods, there are plenty of fun foods on the list (Although vegans and vegetarians a little less so...).

  • Protein: opt for fish, meat, eggs
  • Grains: oats, quinoa, buckwheat, rice
  • Fats: olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil (ok in oil form)
  • Nuts and seeds: Pecans, flax, hemp, chia and most other seeds
  • Milks: Almond milk (yes, if its not in nut form it's ok), hemp milk, rice milk
  • Vegetables: most greens, carrots, peppers and salad ingredients (except celery)
  • Fruit: berries and bananas
  • 100% chocolate, or make your own with stevia or maple
  • Protein powders: brown rice concentrate or hemp

The good news

As the beneficial bacteria in the rest of our gut needs some fermentable foods to keep us feeling healthy long-term, a low FODMAP diet is not designed to be forever. Sometimes just taking the offending foods out for a few months and treating any bacterial overgrowths with antimicrobials is enough to solve the issue, and then you can begin to gradually reintroduce foods and see how you cope! Hurrah!

A word of warning

Please don't be thinking that just because you have wind and depression, that you absolutely have SIBO and need to make some rapid dietary changes. Many of the symptoms overlap with various other digestive conditions, for which this dietary protocol may not be necessary. It's always best to speak with a nutritional therapist/ functional medicine practitioner who can guide you down the right path!

If you think this may be relevant to you or you'd like help with any digestive issues, please visit: www.jodiebrandman.com