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Has your doctor has told you to try the low FODMAP diet for your IBS symptoms? Are you confused about what to do?

Take a look at my guide to the low FODMAP diet.

What is the low FODMAP diet?

FODMAP is an acronym standing for:

  • fermentable,
  • Oligosaccharides,
  • Disaccharides,
  • Monosaccharides,
  • And
  • Polyols.

These are types of short-chain carbohydrates found in foods which can’t be digested by humans, so they are broken down by our gut bacteria.

FODMAPs can cause problems for some people by drawing water into the bowel which can create loose stools, or through the fermentation process which can create excess gas.

Foods high in FODMAPs are healthy, common foods, and include things like apples, mushrooms, nectarines, wheat, milk, artificial sweeteners.

The low FODMAP diet works in 3 phases:

  1. Low FODMAP phase (removing all high FODMAP foods for 2-6 weeks)
  2. Reintroduction – Careful reintroduction of the higher FODMAP foods whilst you carefully monitor all your symptoms. This phase can take a long time as there is a specific way to do this. 
  3. Your new diet – a longer term version of the low FODMAP eating as many of the higher FODMAP foods again. You can exclude any foods that triggered symptoms during the reintroduction phase. 

How to use a guide to the low FODMAP diet

  1. First, familiarise yourself with the foods you can eat without a negative effect (e.g. low FODMAP foods like rocket, green beans, collard greens, olives, parsnip, papaya, rhubarb)
  2. Next, identify which foods are allowable in moderate amounts (e.g. 1/4 avocado is ok, but 1/2 an avocado is high FODMAP)
  3. Make a plan for 2-3 versions of breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
  4. Check for FODMAP stacking – this is where you have more than one portion of a moderate FODMAP, which when added to another portion of another moderate FODMAP food makes a high FODMAP meal.

For example if you’re having a apple and avocado in the same meal: 

  • 2 tablespoons of apple is moderately high in sorbitol
  • 1/4 of an avocado is moderately high in sorbitol (sorbitol is part of the Polyols in FODMAP)

On their own these foods could be fine, but if eaten together they could add to your symptoms by tipping the amount of sorbitol into ‘high’ in one meal. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with planning low FODMAP meal plan you can download my 7 day low FODMAP meal plan for inspiration for tasty low FODMAP meals.

If you make a mistake and eat higher FODMAP foods during the low FODMAP phase it isn’t the end of the world, just switch back to a lower FODMAP plan and keep going. 

Get support with the low FODMAP diet

Make sure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet during the restriction and reintroduction phase.

I know that this can be feel a bit daunting, and can be technically very challenging whilst avoiding so many vegetables, fruits and most dairy. It’s important to eat enough protein, iron, calcium etc to keep up your energy.

Working with a registered nutrition professional is the best way to do this so you can be sure your diet will cover the basics whilst you’re on a low FODMAP diet.

Pro tip – You can also download the Monash University app for the complete list of foods high and low in FODMAPs. It covers most foods and it’s really handy to take out and about with you.

Make a plan for assessing your low FODMAP phase

If you’re going to embark on this restrictive diet you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. How will you know it’s working?

I suggest tracking your food intake and symptoms whilst in the restrictive phase, and the reintroduction phase.

Your 7 day low FODMAP meal plan

A tasty 7 day meal plan with over 25 healthy meals for easing IBS flares

If there is no symptom improvement then don’t progress to the reintroduction phase, FODMAPs probably aren’t your issue.

Don’t worry though, there are other things you can try which I’ve written about in this post on what to do when the low FODMAP diet doesn’t work.

Track your IBS symptoms through the FODMAP diet

It’s important to monitor how you feel whilst undertaking the low FODMAP diet. Think about more than just your digestion, e.g.

  • Bloating – when do you bloat, how does it feel?
  • Bowel movements – are there more or less, how well formed are they
  • Excess gas – is there a change in amount or odour?
  • Sleep – is it better or worse, are you waking in the night?
  • Headaches
  • Skin – are there any changes in skin conditions (e.g. eczema or psoriasis)?
  • Mood – how do you feel?
  • Appetite and nausea

These are important factors to notice when you undertake any elimination diet.

Common issues with the low FODMAP diet

Frequently I see new clients who report they’ve tried the FODMAP diet but it didn’t work.

This could be because FODMAPs aren’t their issue, but it often comes down to how effectively the diet has been followed. 

It’s quite a hard thing to do, so if you’re going to do it, make sure you are getting the most information you can from the process, so you can get back to eating a wider variety of foods again.

Are you worried about starting the FODMAP diet? I can guide you through the low FODMAP diet and help you reduce bloating and IBS. 

Contact me for an appointment on info@goodnessme-nutrition.com

 

Your 7 day low FODMAP meal plan

A tasty 7 day meal plan with over 25 healthy meals for easing IBS flares

Hi I'm Anna Mapson, registered Nutritional Therapist.

I help people with IBS, SIBO get control of unpredictable gut symptoms to find long term relief from painful and embarrassing IBS without restrictive dieting.

I can help you to:

  • understand your digestion better, so you recognise your triggers
  • eat a well balanced diet, with tasty meals that are simple to prepare
  • develop better digestion and more energy

“Anna is amazing! I feel totally transformed"

Find more about 1:1 Gut Reset programme