FODMAP Diet: What You Need to Know

by 
Dr. Shawn Greenan, DACM, CFMP®
FODMAP Diet: What You Need to Know

You may have heard of the FODMAP diet recently. It’s becoming the newest nutrition plan to help ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and for a good reason.

Removing FODMAP’s temporally from the diet has been shown to help ease the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) in 3 out of 4 patients.

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What Are FODMAPs?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, which are short-chain carbohydrates that easily ferment in the intestine.

In the case of SIBO and IBS, digestion has often slowed down, causing an ideal environment for fermentation as well as overgrowth of bacteria that love to feed on high FODMAP foods.

Photo Source: Monash University

How to Follow a Low FODMAP Diet

The FODMAP diet is a relatively easy-to-follow protocol that you can do yourself to see if this way of eating helps ease your IBS symptoms.

If you have a diagnosis of IBS or SIBO and are looking for a dietician to guide you (which we highly recommend), you can find one on the Monash app and website.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • You should only do the FODMAP diet if you have a confirmed diagnosis of IBS or SIBO.
  • The low FODMAP diet is a temporary eating plan that’s very restrictive, and it is not a forever diet.
  • It is a short discovery process to determine what foods are troublesome for you.
  • You should follow the three-step elimination and reintroduction process.

Low FODMAP Three-Step Elimination Diet:

Step 1: Low FODMAP Diet: Weeks 1-6:

Swap high fodmap foods for low fodmap foods.

Step 2: FODMAP Reintroduction: Weeks 7-12:

If your symptoms improve in step 1, reintroduce FODMAPs one at a time. Include one reintroduction food daily for three days to identify which FODMAPs you tolerate and which ones trigger symptoms.

Step 3: Long Term Diet: Continuous:

By week 12, you should clearly understand which FODMAPs you tolerate and which trigger your IBS symptoms. Well-tolerated FODMAPs can now be included in your diet.

Photo Source: Monash University

Summary

The low FODMAP diet is a restrictive temporary eating plan that has been clinically shown to reduce symptoms in IBS and SIBO patients. You should only follow a low FODMAP diet if you have a confirmed diagnosis of IBS or SIBO. We highly recommend you work with a qualified professional before starting the FODMAP diet.

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References

Dr. Shawn Greenan, DACM, CFMP®
Website
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