The Low FODMAP Diet for IBS
The low FODMAP diet is the gold standard for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) management. Research suggests that 75% of people with IBS see improvements on the low FODMAP diet.
So what is IBS?
IBS is a functional gut disorder characterised by gastrointestinal symptoms. There are 3 main types of IBS.
IBS C - constipation predominant
IBS D - diarrhoea predominant
IBS M - mixed diarrhoea and constipation
The Rome III Criteria for IBS are:
Recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort at least 3 days/month in the last 3 months associated with two or more of the following:
* Improvement with defecation
* Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool.
* Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.
Criterion fulfilled for the last 3 months with symptom onset at least 6 months prior to diagnosis
Why you can't diagnose yourself?
It is of VITAL importance that you do not diagnose yourself with IBS. The reason for this is because the symptoms of IBS can mimic other more serious health conditions like endometriosis, Chron's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Coeliac disease, cancer etc. You must go to your doctor and rule out these conditions before you undertake the low FODMAP diet.
So what are FODMAPs?
FODMAPS are an acronym for
FODMAPs are basically short and medium chain carbohydrate molecules and sugar molecules that can cause symptoms for people with IBS.
How do you find out if these FODMAPs are affecting you?
Under the supervision of a qualified Dietitian specialising in IBS (such as the Dietitians at The Nutrition Centre), you will undertake a 2-6 week elimination diet. This involves removing all high FODMAP foods from your diet. If your symptoms reduce or subside over this period of time, its a good indicator that you have a FODMAP food intolerance. After this period of elimination, you will undertake a reintroduction phase, which involves systematically re-introducing FODMAP containing foods in small quantities, and if tolerated, larger quantities (over 3 days). From here we can determine your threshold. Once you complete a reintroduction, you must go back to the elimination diet and wait 3 days until you complete the next reintroduction. Once you have completed the reintroductions, we can then create a modified diet that you can continue on with. I do recommend reassessing FODMAP tolerance at a later stage as this might improve with time.
Elimination: 2-6 weeks
Reintroduction: ~10 weeks
Why do I need an reintroduction if I'm feeling so good on elimination?
High FODMAP foods are typically healthy foods that contain probiotics which are essential for gut health. We do not want to limit your intake of these foods unnecessarily long term as this can be harmful to health and wellbeing.
So where to now, how do I get started?
If you haven't already been to the doctor and received the IBS diagnosis, this is the first step. Once you have done this, get in contact and we would love to help you out with the Low FODMAP diet. You can contact us via our contact page. Click below to be taken to this page.