Friday, April 22, 2016

FODMAP Challenge Week One: Lactose

So I'll be doing food challenges for my FODMAP stuff until the end of May, and will be updating the results of each challenge group once per week.  I'll try to keep these as non-gross as possible, I promise.  ;)

Just to recap, FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols, hence the abbreviation!  Each one of those kooky words is a different type of FODMAP, so during the challenge phases you are testing one group at a time to see what it is that's causing you issues.  Reintroducing challenge food is pretty simple.  You choose a high FODMAP item from the group you are testing, making sure the food only has that one FODMAP since some foods have multiple FODMAPs.  Then you eat designated portions of this food throughout the week and monitor for symptoms.  If you have immediate symptoms, then that food group is something that triggers your IBS and must be avoided.  If you don't have any symptoms, then the food is likely fine for you to eat, and you can add it back into your diet once you have fully completed all of your food challenges.

The Challenge

This week I tested lactose, and my challenge foods were plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and vanilla ice cream (sweetened with sugar, not corn syrup or inulin).  I did go off the schedule a little bit and begin the challenge early, but I ate an appropriate portion size each time.

The Results

I unfortunately did notice symptoms when adding lactose back into my diet, certainly not like when I eat onions, but it definitely didn't agree with me as much as I would have liked.  The main thing was that after enjoying 2 months of pleasant regularity, things started getting backed up by the third day once I added lactose back in, which is obviously a huge deal and my main pain point for the last year.  I didn't have any stomach pains, but there was a lot of weird gurgling and just an "off" feeling after having my challenge foods.  I did also experience a small bit of bloating.

The Verdict?

Lactose did unfortunately have a constipating effect, so I think we can safely assume that it's an issue for me.  It is a bit disappointing, but I'm not completely heartbroken about it.  While I did start with this group solely because I wanted to eat at a new ice cream place over the weekend, lactose actually wasn't on my priority list.  I have been perfectly happy with the lactose free milk and creamer, and the cheeses on the low FODMAP list (cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella) are some of my faves so I'm not feeling deprived really.  I do miss my Tillamook yogurt, but Green Valley Organics makes a pretty solid lactose free kefir that I really like and use for my smoothies.  

Since it didn't give me cramps or serious bloating and since the constipation wasn't immediate, I'm probably going to approach lactose as something I should limit but can have as a very occasional treat.  As I told Eric, I can't see going the rest of my life and never having an ice cream from Salt & Straw or a sprinkling of goat cheese on a salad.  I think if I keep it to once every 2 weeks/once a month, I'll be good.  Again, it's disappointing but it's good to know for scientific purposes.

My next challenge group  will be the fructose group, and I'll be using cherries and asparagus as my challenge foods.  I'm definitely more invested in this group since there are many things I like to eat off of it!  I could eat a bundle of asparagus by myself, so I'll definitely be sad if I have issues!  Wish me luck.


  1. I will keep my fingers crossed for the fructose group! Come on asparagus, you might make pee smell funny, but don't let Mary down!

  2. Hoping fructose is a go! And at least you know you can handle the lactose but in very small doses. You have the right idea of using it as a treat every now and then.

  3. Thank goodness for cheddar :) Sorry lactose doesn't love you as much as you hoped, but hear is to a good report from the fructose group!

  4. Life without ice cream is sad. I'm glad you can at least have it sometimes!