FODMAP Diet: Experiment Conclusions

Okay, this is it: the end of the low FODMAP diet experiment. For two straight weeks I adhered to a strict low FODMAP diet – which includes going gluten-free – except for one evening, which I’ll talk about shortly. So how did it go? Did I see any pleasant results? Did I go mad at all?

Well, the first thing that I have to reiterate is that this experiment was exceptionally difficult to stick to with the limited food options I had available to me at my work camp. The bag-up room (where we gather the food we’ll be taking on our 12-hour shift with us) was the worst because aside from (some of) the fruits and veggies and the loose gluten-free bread and donuts, virtually everything in that room is high FODMAP, full of gluten, or has no nutritional info for me to work with. Because of this I ate practically the same thing every day (gluten-free toast with peanut butter, boiled eggs, strawberries, baby carrots…) which gets pretty damn boring and depressing pretty damn quickly. Dinners were better, since there’s always some for of meat and veggies I could eat…until the day there wasn’t. Yes, on one particular day every option was either breaded or some form of pasta; not a gluten-free option to be found. This was the day that I ended up “cheating” (because what else was I going to do…not eat?) and I’ll have more on that in a minute.

So, first conclusion: going low FODMAP is extremely difficult (and depressing), at least when you’re limited by the minuscule number of options at a crappy work camp.

The second thing I have to talk about is the fact that I saw virtually no change in my stomach/digestive issues. At first I thought that perhaps the effect was so gradual that I just hadn’t noticed it, but that brings us back to the day I “cheated”. If my constitution had improved at all, you would assume that suddenly reintroducing gluten to my system would have a violent effect, but nope. I had no problems at all (or, rather, no more problems than usual). Now, someone might say that I wasn’t on the diet long enough to see any real results (the suggested “cleansing” period is six weeks). However, there is one particular issue (which I won’t talk about because it’s majorly TMI) that should have cleared up within the first few days if gluten or high FODMAP foods were the culprits.

So, second conclusion: while I can’t say that this diet wouldn’t work for anyone, it doesn’t seem to do anything for me.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the one good thing that has come out of my two week diet: I actually lost a bit of weight. I’m somewhat surprised, because even though I was, in fact, cutting a lot of sugars out of my diet, I was still getting a full day’s worth of calories, on top of which I snacked on potato chips almost every night since I couldn’t have any of the sweets or desserts. Despite that, and the fact that I did absolutely no exercise the entire two weeks, I still lost four pounds. So yeah, there’s that for sure.

So, third conclusion: this is actually a half-decent (and healthy) diet to go one if you’re looking to shed a few pounds.

And there you have it. It was an experiment worth doing, for sure, although the results were not what I was hoping for. The little bit of weight loss is definitely nice, but I would have traded it in a heartbeat for any kind of relief from my digestive issues. I guess it’s time to look for a new experiment!

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