A ‘FODMAP’ diet is a diet low in FODMAPs, certain carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest and causes gastrointestinal problems. It is a diet designed to help people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) identify which foods they are intolerant to, so they can reduce their IBS symptoms. Research has found a low FODMAP diet to reduce symptoms in 86% of people with IBS.
FODMAPs are fermentable short-chain carbohydrates that the small intestine can have difficulty absorbing. FODMAP stands for fructose, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. People who have difficulty digesting them have symptoms including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. High FODMAP foods include:
- Some fruits such as mangoes, lychees, apples, and watermelon
- Some vegetables such as asparagus, cauliflower, onion, and garlic
- Beans and lentils
- Wheat-based foods such as bread, wraps, and pasta
- Dairy-based foods such as milk and ice-cream
The low FODMAP diet is a three-phase diet. The first phase is the elimination phase, where all low FODMAP foods are removed from the diet, allowing the gut to rest and heal. People will generally only be on the elimination phase of the diet for 2-6 weeks. The second phase is the challenge phase. In this phase different groups of low fodmap foods are challenged, one at a time, and the symptoms are recorded. The third phase is the personalisation phase. Here the food triggers and tolerances are interpreted by a dietitian and you only eliminate the foods that triggered your symptoms, reintroducing all other foods.
The low FODMAP diet is very restrictive and should be undertaken with the supervision of a dietitian. A dietitian can help provide resources with food lists that you can and can’t eat, recipes, and a meal plan. A dietitian can also suggest other therapies, foods, and supplements that can help address IBS. A low FODMAP diet is not a permanent diet change, its primary purpose is to identify foods that trigger IBS, so the person can have a wide variety of foods as possible.
If you have symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, bloating, excessive flatulence, and abdominal pain but don’t know if the low FODMAP diet is for you, see a dietitian. They can:
- Perform a nutrition and symptom assessment to identify the best plan for you
- Assist in implementing a simplified low FODMAP plan
- Identify foods that can assist with IBS symptoms
- Help identify food intolerances and food allergies
- Recommend supplements that can help with your IBS and nutrition
- Recommend other therapies that help with IBS
- Guide you through a low FODMAP diet if it right for you
If you would like personalised help with our dietitian, book an appointment online on this website or emailing- [email protected].