Essentially the low FODMAP diet is an eating plan created for people who have been diagnosed with IBS to identify what food triggers cause their symptoms. So do make sure you have been diagnosed with IBS before starting on this eating plan (always consult a doctor before embarking on these things anyway).
WHAT IS IBS?
Check out my post on IBS if you are not quite sure what Irritable Bowel Syndrome is, or whether you have the symptoms.
So what is the Low FODMAP diet?
The Low FODMAP diet was developed by researchers at Monash University in Australia. It has shown to have healed about 70% of people with IBS. FODMAPs is an acronym referring to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Basically they are complex names for molecules that are found in food that cannot be absorbed by some people. After we eat a meal these FODMAPs are poorly digested and not absorbed by the small bowel causing symptoms like the above.
So what kind of food contains FODMAPs?
Here is a limited example of the main ones below.
- Some vegetables – onions and garlic, pulses, cauliflower, broccoli and sprouts etc.
- Wheat and gluten – bread, pasta, rye etc.
- Fruits – plums, prunes, peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples and pears, fruit juice concentrate.
- Milk and dairy products containing lactose – this only applies to people who are lactase deficient.
- Some sweets – sorbitol in chewing gum and sugar free mints, high fructose corn syrup (used sweetener in fizzy drinks and ready meals)
Please refer here for a complete list: http://www.ibsdiets.org/fodmap-diet/fodmap-food-list/
Now the low FODMAP diet is not meant to be a diet you follow forever. There are two parts to it.
The first phase generally involves a strict restriction of all high FODMAP foods. Again this should be something that you follow with a dietician. This phase should be followed for approx 8 weeks and is the part which my blog aims to help you with. I can’t stress enough that you stick to it 100%. I know its tough but it’s only 8 weeks which is worth it for a life time of reduced IBS symptoms!
The second phase is where the diet is tailored to suit the individual – where the type and amount of FODMAPs are identified and reintroduced so you can work out what you can and can’t tolerate.
My best advice if you are new to the Low FODMAP diet, outside of seeing a doctor, is down download the app produced by the Monash University. The app is fantastic when shopping and operates on a traffic light system so Green is “eat as much as you want” Yellow is “you can have in limited amounts” and Red is “do not touch”
My blog aims to help you through the first part of this process: “the elimination” part of the diet (which it is often referred to). Whilst I have been able to introduce a small number of FODMAPs back into my diet, I do struggle with most. For me the biggest triggers are Gluten, Onion and Garlic, which makes it really hard to eat out or buy food in the supermarket!!
So all the recipes, products and restaurant recommendations I write about will aim to be low FODMAP.
Title photo: Emmylou Kelly Photography