A diet low in FODMAPs may improve your IBS

Did you know that one in seven adults suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Common IBS symptoms include:

  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Altered bowel movement (constipation and/or diarrhea)
  • GI upset sometimes characterizes this condition

5 Reasons Low FODMAPs Diet May Help Your IBS

Research conducted at Monash University suggests that the best way to alleviate the symptoms associated with IBS may be to limit a group of small chain carbohydrates (such as sugars and fibers) that may be poorly digested.  This group of carbohydrates, known as FODMAPs, is well tolerated by most and, in fact, FODMAPs feed healthy gut bacteria.

But for those individuals who do not fully digest these molecules, they enter the large intestine where fermentation causes undesirable symptoms.

The low FODMAP diet has gained popularity for its usefulness in reducing symptoms associated with IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders. So, what exactly are FODMAPs?

FODMAP is an acronym that stands for:

  • Fermentable
  • Oligosaccharides (legumes)
  • Disaccharides (lactose, milk sugar)
  • Monosaccharide (excess fructose)
  • And
  • Polyols (sugar alcohols)

Some common foods high in FODMAPs include

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Mushrooms
  • Sugar-free gum can trigger IBS-related symptoms because it contains sugar alcohols, like erythritol, which are high FODMAP

A diet low in FODMAPs may improve your IBS

Removing problem foods has been shown to improve IBS symptoms by 70-80%. And many foods can be identified in the short-term as not being problematic, thus, making the long-term removal of foods less burdensome.

The low FODMAP diet is a temporary elimination diet rather than a lifetime prescription. The elimination phase is about 2-6 weeks and involves the removal of all high-FODMAP foods from the diet, followed by the gradual reintroduction of these foods by FODMAP category.

It is important to work through the reintroduction period with a registered dietitian for guidance on appropriately reintroducing foods and how to accurately assess tolerance. 

The objective of this method is to identify which foods trigger symptoms.  Adhering to a low FODMAP diet for a period of time can be difficult but there are a variety of resources that may be useful.

You can use the Monash University app will help get you started.

The really good news is that not every high FODMAP food causes symptoms in everyone. This means that after the elimination phase, you can slowly re-introduce foods. If there are no symptoms, you can continue eating those foods.

The slow re-introduction of higher FODMAP foods back into the diet is important in pinpointing which foods trigger your individual symptoms and in what quantities.

Interested in learning more about FODMAPs and IBS? Click here to reach out to me.

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