The Low FODMAP Diet
What is the Low FODMAP Diet?
Most people with IBS are not sensitive to all the FODMAP groups, or to all the foods in each FODMAP group. The trick is to work out which ones produce your symptoms. This way your diet will be less restricted and as liberal and nutrient rich as you can tolerate. Once you know which FODMAP group(s) affect you it will be easier to manage your symptoms in the future.
The FODMAP approach has 3 phases:
1. Elimination phase: 2-6 weeks
During this time you would be removing all of the FODMAP containing foods from your diet. Removing these foods usually results in a significant relief of symptoms within about a week. You will receive a list of foods to include and to avoid and you’ll be introduced to the FODMAP app if you are comfortable using it. It is a wonderful tool that makes shopping and meal preparation easier. Otherwise, you will have your list to regularly refer to. Preparing for the elimination phase beforehand will make the process easier.
2. Reintroduction phase: 4-6 weeks
Once your symptoms have subsided you will slowly reintroduce one FODMAP group at a time to find out which group(s) trigger your symptoms, and how much you can tolerate (if any). This is done in a systematic way that clearly identifies the foods that trigger your symptoms, whether you can tolerate a small amount occasionally or if you should avoid specific foods mostly
3. Maintenance phase: ongoing
Having identified trigger foods, you will have a clearer idea of which foods you can tolerate and which foods trigger your symptoms. We will work together to ensure that you have no nutritional gaps and you are getting all the nutrition that you need to be optimally healthy and well. This should make planning and eating foods more straightforward and your gut more comfortable.
The FODMAP approach provides significant relief to 3 out of 4 people with IBS. For the small number of people who do not achieve significant relief during the elimination phase, other factors that can cause IBS symptoms such as caffeine, alcohol, glutamates, histamines, or salicylates may be implicated. Keeping a journal and recording the symptoms that you experience alongside foods eaten and noting any stressors, is a helpful tool for uncovering patterns and relationships between food and symptoms.