Low FODMAP advice is a highly effective approach for irritable bowel syndrome and other functional bowel disorders (eg severe bloating,; constipation). Studies indicate that around 70% of IBS sufferers find that they achieve satisfactory relief from their symptoms (Staudacher et al 2011). The approach gives people control over their symptoms rather than the symptoms controlling them.
For many years patients have linked IBS symptoms to eating certain foods such as high fat foods, caffeine, gluten and alcohol. Recent research has shown that a group of dietary sugars, FODMAPs, can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and fermented by our gut bacteria to produce gas, and cause more water to be delivered through the bowel. This can trigger symptoms such as bloating, pain, diarrhoea, nausea and in some cases constipation.
FODMAPs is an acronym for the group of sugars that are poorly absorbed by our digestive tracts:
To help improve symptoms the low FODMAP diet restricts these sugars for 2-6 weeks followed by review with your dietitian to go through the second stage of re-challenging with the excluded high FODMAP foods. The third and final phase involves reintroduction of higher FODMAP foods according to individual tolerance.
Low FODMAP diet can seem quite complex therefore advice is best provided by a dietitian who has received accredited training in this area and can easily explain the diet and make sure it is nutritionally balanced. The course Bridget completed at King's College London is run by experienced researchers who work together with Monash University to further knowledge in this area.