Nancy, I have a story to share with you…
As a recreational runner, I’ve become more and more plant-based over the last few years. To boost my protein intake, I started eating double the amount of beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc. This turned 1/2 cup beans into 1 cup for lunches and dinners. I would eat some other proteins (eggs, nuts, tofu), but beans were the most convenient for me.
I became very gassy and experienced a lot of GI distress while running, even though I would drink only some coffee before my morning runs. It took a dinner of lentil pasta with chickpeas to realize what the true culprit was. I cut out lentils and chickpeas, and my stomach felt so much better.
I’ve started keeping a mental food journal to reflect on what I’ve eaten in the and how it made me feel. I wonder if other runners have had the same experience?
Dear Recreational Runner,
Thanks for sharing that info. You are experiencing a problem with FODMAPS. You are not alone and others might benefit from what you have learned!
FODMAPS stands for FERMENTABLE (i.e., gas producing) Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. Those are fancy words for types of carbohydrate some people have trouble digesting. For example, lactose (milk sugar) is a FODMAP, a di-saccharide, that causes gas, bloat, and intestinal discomfort in people who are lactose-intolerant and cannot digest lactose. Most people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate a small amount of milk (such as in a cup of coffee), but if they were to drink a whole glass of milk, they would be miserable. The dose is the poison.
When you eat lots of chickpeas, you cross your body’s threshold of tolerance for the hard-to-digest carbs in them. The distress often shows up the day after you eat a FODMAP rich dinner, given it takes time for the food to travel into the intestines and get fermented by the microbes there.
For more information, please visit www.KateScarlata.com. She is a FODMAP Queen among dietitians.