Have you heard of the low FODMAP diet?

It’s a diet specially designed to reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). What on earth is a FODMAP?! The letters stand for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols.

They are a particular type of carbohydrate that are found in foods including various fruits and vegetables, honey, milk and milk products, wheat, rye, onion and garlic, legumes and chickpeas.

FODMAPs are not fully absorbed in your small intestine, so travel further along your gut to your colon where they are fermented by your gut bacteria instead. However, in some individuals this can cause lower abdominal pain, bloating, altered bowel habits and distension. Disorders that affect the normal functioning of the gut include inflammatory bowel disease, bowel cancer, coeliac disease, IBS.

Is this diet for everyone?

Absolutely not. The low FODMAP diet was designed for individuals with IBS. The diet should be followed only when accompanied by patient – tailored advice from a FODMAP-trained dietitian. This is an elimination/reintroduction diet and hence requires tailored advice to ensure that the diet is balanced and that the patient receives all of the nutrients required. With dietetic advice, the low FODMAP diet has shown to be effective and reduce the severity of the clinical symptoms associated with IBS.

The low FODMAP diet was developed by a team at the Monash University in Melbourne and adapted to the UK by the researchers at King’s College London. You can find more information here:

Foods fermented in the colon have been shown to have important health benefits such as reducing risk of colon cancer. FTF recommends that you only follow a low FODMAP diet if you have a medically diagnosed condition (with the symptoms mentioned above). If you think you might benefit from this diet, contact your GP or seek advice from a registered dietitian.

Image: pixabay

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