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Reduce runner's bloat

THE SCIENCE

If you experience GI issues while running, new research suggests cutting out high-FODMAP foods.

For the study, people who regularly dealt with nausea, pain, and bloating eliminated them from their diet for one week. In the end, 69 percent of the athletes saw a reduction in their symptoms.

EXPERT INSIGHT

FODMAP is an acronym for a group of molecules—fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols—notorious for causing GI distress. They’re found in a random assortment of foods including wheat, garlic, apples, mangoes, peaches, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms, beans, and many natural sweeteners.

“They’re highly fermentable in the gut, which can cause gas, pain, and bloating as a byproduct,” explains Danielle Capalino, RD, New York City-based gut microbiome specialist and author of Healthy Gut, Flat Stomach, who was not affiliated with the study. Typically, a low-FODMAP diet is of the elimination variety: You’d avoid the foods for two to three weeks and then reintroduce them one by one. But Capalino notes runners can benefit even from short-term stints.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Stop eating high-FODMAP fare three to seven days before race day to reduce GI symptoms, she says. If you need to swap your mid-run fuel for a low-FODMAP option, do so a few weeks pre-race so your body has time to adjust.

Photo: Nate Hoffman/thelicensingproject.com