Carbohydrate malabsorption is a frequent but underestimated cause of unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms like meteorism, flatulence, pain and diarrhea. By means of hydrogen and/or methane breath test after ingestion of the respective carbohydrate it can be identified and diagnosed easily, fast and reliably by successful nutritional therapy. Besides the well known complaints caused by lactose and fructose malabsorption, other fermentable oligo-, di-, or monosaccharides and polyols (akronym: FODMAP) can cause abdominal discomfort and IBS-like symptoms. In addition to lactose (dairy products) and fructose (apples, pears, mango, watermelon), FODMAPs comprise galactans (legumes), fructans (wheat, onions, garlic, artichoke) and the artificial sweeteners sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol and xylitol (sugar free candy, light products). A general restriction of all FODMAP components can be beneficial in relieving symptoms and improving quality of life in patients with functional gastrointestinal complaints.
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