Written by Michal Shelton, RDN, LDN
June 13, 2021
This is often what causes pain, bloating and other GI issues. A video explaining this concept in greater detail can be viewed here.
Do you experience uncomfortable abdominal pain, bloating, or changes in bowel movements (constipations or diarrhea) on a regular basis? If so you’re not alone. Many people experience symptoms of the digestive disorder known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). These symptoms can range in severity from a mild annoyance to extreme in a way that negatively impacts a person’s daily life. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of IBS as a variety of factors can play a role in exacerbating symptoms. There is also a link between IBS and small bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Diet modification is often recommended as one of the first lines of defense for treating these digestive issues. Research has shown that following a 3 phased low FODMAP plan can improve IBS symptoms in about 75% of patients.
So what exactly is a low FODMAP diet? The word FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. It may sound complicated but basically these words stand for different types of carbohydrates which are not well absorbed by humans and instead used as fuel for bacteria in the large intestine.
The goal of a low FODMAP diet is to help individuals identify the specific types of these carbohydrates they may be sensitive to and find a way to reduce the total amount consumed in order to improve IBS symptoms.
Some of these high FODMAP carbohydrates are beneficial for overall health so the goal is never to cut them out completely from the diet. This is also why it’s important to follow all 3 steps of the diet (elimination, reintroduction and personalization).
There is still a lot of ongoing research regarding specific foods to eat on a low FODMAP diet which can make it confusing. It’s not quite as simple as a list of foods to eat and not eat. Servings size plays a large role in whether or not a specific food is recommended for a low FODMAP diet. For example 10-15 almonds should be tolerated by most people with IBS but eating more than 20 at once may trigger symptoms. Similarly the way a food is cooked or processed can impact how well it’s tolerated. For example beets that are freshly cooked are high in FODMAPs but beets that are canned or pickled have lower FODMAP content and so are less likely to trigger symptoms.
As an Integrative Functionally oriented Dietitian/Nutritionist who completed Monash University FODMAP training, I am here to help you navigate the specifics of a low FODMAP diet. I can answer questions, provide more detailed information and help come up with an individualized plan that will incorporate your personal symptoms, lifestyle and other health conditions that may need to be factored in.
If you would like more information about this diet or have other nutrition related concerns feel free to contact our office for an appointment.