Cutting out specific foods can alleviate gastrointestinal issues for physically active people, especially a runner, researchers say.
The study, conducted by researchers from the Anglia Ruskin University in Britain, showed that a low fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide and polyol (or FODMAP) diet reduces some of the issues caused by exercise such as stomach cramps and bloating, and improves a person’s perceived ability to exercise.
FODMAP foods include those containing lactose (milk, yoghurt and cheese), fructans (found in cereals, breads and pasta), galactic-oligosaccharides (legumes and onions), excess fructose (for example in apples, pears and asparagus) and polyols (often added as a food additive).
“We found a clear benefit when following the low FODMAP diet, with a reduction in exercise-related gastrointestinal symptoms amongst otherwise healthy, recreational runners,” said Justin Roberts, Principal Lecturer at the varsity.
For the study, the researchers involved a group of healthy recreational exercisers.
Everyone in the group followed two eating plans for one week at a time, with the key difference being the FODMAP content.
The findings, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that 69 per cent of those following a low FODMAP diet experienced an improvement in symptoms and were able to exercise more frequently and at a higher intensity.
In addition, the improvement in perceived pain, in conjunction with reduced experiences of bloating whilst on a low FODMAP diet, is likely explained by a reduction in intestinal water volume and gas production, caused by fewer indigestible carbohydrates available for fermentation in the gut.
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However, further studies are needed to examine the benefits of this diet when combined with long-term training strategies.
It is important that people take care if deciding to follow a low FODMAP diet, as reductions in total caloric and carbohydrate intake may impact on nutritional quality, Roberts suggested. (IANS)