The Low FODMAP Diet
There are two phases to implementing the Low FODMAP Diet.
- 1. The Therapeutic Guidelines recommend an 8-week diet trial to reduce intakes of foods high in FODMAPs in people with IBS-type symptoms. It is recommended to commence the diet under the advice of a dietitian, preferably a specialist in gastrointestinal nutrition (shepherdworks.com.au or daa.asn.au). Dietitians will generally advise to strictly remove foods that are high in FODMAPs during this phase. Dietitians are trained to provide expert nutritional advice including suggestion of alternative foods to those that are restricted (focussing on what CAN be eaten), to ensure nutritional adequacy.
- 2. Following the initial strict low FODMAP dietary restriction, returning to the dietitian for a review appointment is encouraged to a) assesses how well the symptoms have responded to the dietary restrictions, and b) to discuss the individual’s own tolerance levels ie. how much FODMAP intake can be tolerated before symptoms are triggered. In most instances, people will tolerate, for example, occasional ingestion of wheat breadgarlic as a minor ingredient and other small/minor intakes of FODMAP-containing foods. Assessing how well a person tolerates the reintroduction of FODMAPs is an essential part of the process – the dietitian aims to ensure maximum variety (whilst still minimising symptoms) in the diet long term. Additionally, FODMAPs have prebiotic effects and therefore all people who have commenced a strict low FODMAP diet are encouraged to try and reintroduce FODMAPs to the level that can be comfortably tolerated.
There is an ever growing number of scientific research studies from around the world supporting the fact that reducing FODMAPs in the diet assist in managing the symptosm of IBS. This is not a fad diet – it is supported by scientific evidence and its use is increasing internationally. . . For example, in a scientificstudy performed in the UK, the low FODMAP diet was proven to be much more effective in relieving symptoms (76% of participants achieved IBS symptom control) than the diet formed by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (where 54% of participants achieved IBS symptom control).