Bad habit of consuming lots of foods which are high in fermentable carbs like oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols are associated with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and other GI (Gastrointestinal) problems.
According to aboutibs.org – All ages of people can get Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and worldwide it is estimated that 10-15% of the population has IBS.
In particular to this, low fermentable carbs (Also known as FODMAPs) are clinically recommended to relieve the symptoms of IBS.
As per certain studies, 86% of patients with IBS find good improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms.
Read on to know what a low FODMAP diet is, how and for whom it works.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is an acronym of “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols”.
Generally, there are two types of FODMAPs; 1. Low FODMAPs and High FODMAPs.
High FODMAPs include Fructose, Lactose, Fructans, Galactans, and Polyols which are available in certain fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, peas, and legumes.
Consuming such high fermentable foods can trigger symptoms of IBS like bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
On the other hand, low FODMAPs include foods which cannot be easily fermented in the gut area of our body. It is medically proven that such low fermentable carbs help to manage many problems related to digestive system.
However, long-term health effects of such low FODMAP Diet is still unknown.
What is a Low FODMAP Diet?
It is originally originated in Australia and later it has been adopted in the UK by researchers at Kings College, London.
According to Emer Delaney (a specialist dietitian in the UK); around 4 million people are suffering from IBS in the UK and such GPs spend 14% of their budget to get rid of this.
This is where low FODMAP diet comes as a cheap alternative to expensive medications and treatments.
It restricts patients from consuming high FODMAP foods for 4 to 5 weeks, and then an expert suggests to incorporate some high FODMAP foods back into your diet slowly.
As high FODMAPs are also essential nutrients for our body and thus no one should rely on this low FODMAP diet fora long time. This is why it is not a diet for life.
We advise to get an expert help before start following this low carb diet. It helps you to get better results with this diet.
Should You Follow a Low FODMAP Diet for IBS?
Yes, as it is clinically proven that 86% patients with IBS sees an improvement in digestive symptoms and thus you can too follow this low-FODMAP diet.
However, there are few things that you need to confirm first before you decide to embark on this diet such as;
- Consult your doctor to make sure that you actually have IBS
- Try first line diet and check either it works for you or not. If first-line diet doesn’t work for you then you can go for this secondary low FODMAP diet.
- Make yourself ready for this diet, as it requires many things to plan in advance.
If you are ruled out these three things then you are good to go with the low FODMAP diet.
How Long Should You Follow It?
Basically, the entire process of low FODMAP diet can be classified into three stages;
- The Elimination Stage
- The Reintroduction Stage
- The Maintenance Stage
Elimination stage completely restricts you from high FODMAPs to check either low FODMAP diet work for you or not. If you find no improvement in symptoms then there is no point to stay on this diet and consult an expert would be the best option.
If it works for you then go ahead with the reintroduction stage after a week. In this stage, you need to reintroduce some high FODMAPs to check either your body can tolerate them or not. For this stage, we recommend to get an expert advice to know which high FODMAP foods you should incorporate during the reintroduction stage.
In the maintenance stage, you need to keep the balance between what works and what not works for you. Stay away from everything which trigger symptoms even after following a low FODMAP diet under the guidance of an expert dietitian and nutritionist.
In brief, it requires around 2 to 8 weeks to analyses the complete process.
According to Monash University researchers; this typical Australian diet should be followed for just two to six weeks until symptoms disappear. It should not be adopted as permanent diet option.
For a note, the efficacy of the diet would be varied for different people as it depends on the person’s health, tolerance and severity of the symptoms.
List of Low FODMAP Foods [Infographic]
Benefits of a Low FODMAP Diet
This low fermentable carb diet offers many health benefits such as;
Improves Digestive System
Low FODMAP diet has been tested in thousands of people suffering from IBS, and they found it effective.
It decreases the speed of food fermentation in the gut and keeps it clear and healthy which improves the digestive system.
Make Life Easier
Approximately, 25 to 45 million people are suffering from IBS in the United States of America.
Poor digestion can prevent you from enjoying life and decreased work quality as well.
Incorporation of low FODMAPs into your Dish for Diet would be the best option to improve the digestive symptoms.
As per one study, these people found Low FODMAP diet as a great relief and quality life improving.
Poor digestion with IBS like symptoms can affect the quality of sleep.
If it is ignored then it might invite some other diseases like insomnia and other sleeping disorders.
Thus, introducing low fermentable carb diet under an expert guidance would be the best cure to improve sleep with IBS.
Besides it, this typical Australian diet helps in improving love life, better work quality, comfortable stool pass, good mood, etc.
4 Common Low FODMAP Diet Pitfalls and Ways to Avoid them
So have you decided to try a low FODMAP diet? If yes, then be sure that you avoid these four common low FODMAP diet pitfalls such as;
#Pitfall 1 – Following Diet Without an Expert Advice
Never do that!
First, always aim to get medical advice from your primary care provider and discuss your symptoms. Your PCP will recommend you to gastroenterologist for further diagnosis of IBS if require.
Once the gastroenterologist confirm that you have IBS then it’s time to seek for an experienced dietitian because sometimes physicians don’t have skills to recommend you any specific diet.
Follow all the given instructions by your dietitian and keep any eye on the symptoms to make sure that it is improving or not.
#Pitfall 2 – Unrealistic Expectations
Don’t expect too much!
As FODMAPs are not only the reason for IBS and sometimes it failed. You need to keep watching what works and what not with realistic approach and expectations.
#Pitfall 3 – Making Multiple Changes at Once
Don’t change everything at once!
Making multiple changes in your diet, medications, lifestyle, and supplements would make it difficult to judge that which change is working or improving your symptoms.
Thus, when it comes to following low FODMAP diet, keep rest of the things in normal flow. It helps you to track results from your low fermentable carb diet.
#Pitfall 4 – Lack of Variations in Food
Don’t over limiting your diet!
Allowing variations in low FODMAP foods will ensure the effectiveness of the diet.
It is advisable to try multiple low FODMAP foods as much as you can unless you have an important reason not to.
In brief, the low FODMAP diet would be the best option if you’re diagnosed with IBS and it is advisable to follow this low fermentable carb diet under the expert’s guidance only.