Transit time? No, we're not catching a train; transit time means the time it takes food to move through your system, from the soup bowl into the toilet bowl. Please click on over to Medline Plus for a quick look at the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract. Did you know that if your intestines were all uncoiled and stretched out they could be as much as 30 feet long? Here is what usually happens in there after you swallow your soup:
- Food is released from your stomach little by little, and is propelled by a coordinated series of muscle contractions (peristalsis) through the small intestine.
- The majority of food digestion and nutrient absorption happens there, in the small intestine.
- Eventually any part of your soup that was not digested or absorbed is passed little by little into the large intestine. Fluids and electrolytes are reabsorbed, normal bacterial fermentation occurs, and formed stool finally drop into the rectum. (FODMAPs usually do their thing here, in the large intestine.)
- You get the "call of nature" and have a nice bowel movement.
Transit time from the mouth to the anus varies) from one person to the next and even in the same person from day to day. The main thing to know is that it is measured in hours, not minutes. For people with very slow transit time (some people with IBS-C), it might be measured in days!
If you eat a piece of rye bread, FODMAPs in that rye bread are not going to make you have an attack of your symptoms 10 minutes later. If that were to happen, it would be for a non-FODMAP reason, say an allergy, a gluten-sensitivity or some other type of sensitivity to an ingredient in the bread. But its far more likely the symptoms were caused by some FODMAPs consumed a few hours ago.
The "look back" time to try and figure out what food caused a problem should go back much further than your last meal. You might need to resist the natural human tendancy to blame the last food or meal you ate. For example, if you feel gassy and bloated right after lunch (as long as you didn't distend your stomach with a meal as big as your head), it is likely to be what you had for breakfast that is causing the problem (High fiber cereal or toast and regular milk or yogurt, anyone, maybe some dried fruit and nuts in there? how about a giant smoothie?) Diarrhea during the morning might reflect the milkshake you had the night before.
Once again, the take home message: Symptoms due to FODMAPs are more likely to occur hours after you have eaten them, rather than minutes.