Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsRICARDO COSTA: So what is FODMAPS? Fermentable, Oligo, Di, Monosaccharides and Polyols, a highly-fermentable carbohydrates-- sometimes, they're absorbed, but sometimes some malabsorption occurs. And if they reach the large intestine, where you have a soup of intestinal bacteria, that can naturally use these carbohydrates as a food source. The byproduct of them consuming these carbohydrates will end up as gas and some water, increasing the pressure the intestine-- and in some individuals can cause lower intestinal pain. Thus, during exercise, you're going to have to reduce speed, stop altogether, or withdraw from what you're doing if the symptoms are too aggressive.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsThere is some emerging evidence that consuming a low-FODMAP diet for a short period of time leading into exercise stress can actually reduce gastrointestinal symptoms. And some gut perturbations during exercise. Here at Monash University, in our lab, we've provided a low-FODMAP diet to participants in our study for 24 hours. And we've also shown, and athletes have reported, a reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms during exercise. This is more anecdotal evidence. We are now investigating further using a randomised controlled trial. So why does reducing FODMAPs prior to exercise reduce gastrointestinal symptoms? So as we've previously discussed, during exercise, we have injury to the epithelial wall of the intestine, which the nutrient transporters of carbohydrate are located.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 secondsSo if the transport isn't impaired, there's less ability for these carbohydrates to be absorbed. And there's more probability of them to reach the large intestine and undergo the fermentation process. So the theory is, if you reduce the FODMAP content leading into exercise, maybe you can reduce some of the symptoms and get perturbations naturally associated with exercise. So these are example of high-FODMAP foods. As you can see, they are quite nutritious. They also contain fermentable carbohydrates that if they do not get absorbed, they could cause lower gastrointestinal symptoms in athletes. Conversely, we've provided a template of a low-FODMAP diet that can be modified leading into competition.

Skip to 2 minutes and 34 secondsSo it's a template of a 24-hour diet with low FODMAP foods to meet the energy nutrient requirements but without that highly-fermentable carbohydrate element.

Dietary modification: FODMAPs

Watch Ricardo present an overview of a FODMAP diet, and how it can impact an athlete’s performance and gut health.

In the video, Ricardo mentions the injury to the epithelial wall of the intestine that can occur during exercise. If you’d like to find out more about the impact of exercise on the gut, watch exercised-induced gastrointestinal syndrome. You can then return to this step, and then continue to make your way through the course.

See also

Go to See also for a list of additional articles and research papers that discuss FODMAP diets, gastrointestinal issues and athletic performance.

These papers and articles are included to help demonstrate some of the research in this area, but we do not expect you to purchase a subscription to read the full paper. Hopefully, just reading the summary provided in the free abstract will be sufficient for those that are wanting to know more about this study.


Go to Downloads to access a poster that provides an outline of findings from research carried out by Stephanie Gaskell and Ricardo Costa: A female recreational ultra-endurance runner’s experience adhering to a low-FODMAP diet, in relation to her IBS diagnosis, throughout a mountainous multi-stage ultra-marathon.

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Food as Medicine: Food, Exercise and the Gut

Monash University

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