Has anyone ever suggested trialling a low FODMAP diet to help with gastrointestinal symptoms or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Before you do, let’s talk about IBS, what are FODMAP’s and whether following a low FODMAP diet might be right for you.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects one in seven adults. The most common symptoms include:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Excessive wind
- Gut distension
- Altered bowel habits (e.g. diarrhoea or constipation)
Symptoms can overlap with several other serious medical conditions, so it is important you speak with your medical practitioner.
One of the treatments for IBS may be to trial following a low FODMAP diet to see if your symptoms improve. This diet can be effective for approximately 70% of people with IBS.
What are FODMAPs
FODMAPs are a group of sugars that are not completely digested or absorbed in our intestines. These may trigger symptoms in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.
FODMAPs are found naturally in many foods. FODMAP stands for:
A process through which gut bacteria ferment undigested carbohydrate to produce gases.
Fructans & GOS: Found in foods such as wheat, rye, onions, garlic and legumes/pulses.
Lactose: Found in dairy products like milk, soft cheeses and yoghurt.
Fructose: Found in honey, apples, high fructose corn syrups, etc.
Sorbitol and Mannitol: Found in some fruit and vegetables and artificial sweeteners.
So, what is a low FODMAP Diet?
The low FODMAP diet is a 3-step process. Please note that this diet can be limited in nutrients if undertaken without the help of a dietitian. The Dietitian would work with you to ensure you get all of your nutrients and stay nourished during the 3 phases of the diet.
Phase 1: Following a low FODMAP Diet
Approximately 2-6 weeks to see if symptoms improve
Phase 2: Undergo staged FODMAP reintroduction
Approximately 6-10 weeks where appropriate foods would be re-trialled to see if there is a response and at what amount your body can tolerate.
Phase 3: Develop FODMAP Personalised Plan with your Dietitian
The Dietitian will balance out your personal requirements against the foods you can tolerate on an adjusted FODMAP diet. Most people DO NOT need to stay on a full low FODMAP diet.
If you feel this may help with your symptoms, contact Annette Murphy, our Dietitian, and team at Beechnut Medical.
Article Source: Monash University