The Low FODMAP Diet
The low FODMAP diet is a clinical tool used by dietitians, nutritionists, naturopaths and other nutrition experts as a clinical tool to help relieve the gastrointestinal symptoms of those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
There are 3 phases of the FODMAP diet, which include the following:
The first phase is where high FODMAP foods are strictly eliminated for 2-6 weeks, while gut symptoms are monitored. It is strongly advised this phase is undertaken under the supervision of a FODMAP expert dietitian. If you are looking for a qualified Dietitian to help you through this phase, start here.
The second phase is where high FODMAP foods are slowly reintroduced to determine tolerance to different FODMAPs. This phase involves trialling all FODMAPs, and should also be undertaken under the expert supervision of a Dietitian.
In the third phase, you will work with a Dietitian to achieve a more flexible diet, working with him/her to suit your unique level of tolerance to all the FODMAPs.
The low FODMAP diet has proven the most effective way to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with up to 85% of patients following the diet experiencing symptom relief. A low FODMAP diet is recommended as a preferred treatment for IBS.
What are FODMAPs?
‘FODMAP’ is an acronym which stands for ‘Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Dissacharides, Monosaccharides & Polyols’.
These words are names of a range of poorly-absorbed short-chain sugars found in many different plant foods known to us, forming a part of our everyday diet.These sugars are called fructose, lactose, fructans, galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and sugar alcohols (polyols), like sorbitol and mannitol. To learn more detail about the names of the different FODMAP groups, click here.
In our small & large intestine, these FODMAP molecules deliver an osmotic effect, meaning that they bring fluid into the bowel. FODMAPs are also quickly fermented by bacteria living in the large intestine, producing gas as a by-product of fermentation.
The result of increased fluid and gas in the bowel ‘distends’ or ‘stretches’ the bowel, causing you to feel like you are bloating, with/without abdominal discomfort or pain. These osmotic effects also influence the contraction of the muscles in the small bowel, causing increased muscular movement, leading to diarrhea. In some people, this can also cause constipation.