About the low FODMAP diet
A team at Monash University, led by Professor Peter Gibson and including Dr Shepherd and others, developed the low FODMAP diet. In their research, the team shows that limiting foods that are high in FODMAPs is an effective treatment for people with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is some research published that this diet may be beneficial for other types of digestive conditions, but it is not evident yet how effective the treatment is. For research articles about the low FODMAP diet visit the Resources page.
FODMAPs is an abbreviation that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are complex names are for groups of poorly absorbed carbohydrates. Many individuals cannot digest or absorb this molecules, but for those with IBS, they symptoms are experienced much greater. When FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small intestine they actually continue on to the large intestine of the digestive tract where they cause and issue. Food does not belong in this part of the gut and thus why symptoms may be experienced. The bacteria that live in the large intestine use the FODMAPs as food causing symptoms as they are digested/fermented.
This diet has been designed to be followed for 6 to 8 weeks only under the supervision of a registered dietitian that specializes in this area. After 6 to 8 weeks, people following the diet with IBS may experience a relief of symptoms and at that point, foods may be reintroduced. However, with the complexity of the diet and ingredients in our foods, it is highly recommended to wait until you see a registered dietitian for nutrition assessment and screening before you begin.
Learn more about how to follow the Low FODMAP Diet on The Blog.
Where are FODMAPs found?
FODMAPs are found in many foods. For a complete and updated list, speak with a registered dietitian who specializes in this area. Some examples of foods that contain FODMAPs include:
Fructose: apples, pears, mango, honey, high fructose corn syrup
Fructans: asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, wheat, rye
Lactose: milk, cream, yogurt, soft cheese
GOS: a variety of beans
Polyols: apricots, avocado, cherries, mushrooms, sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol
Symptoms of IBS
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal bloating and distension, excessive gas (flatulence), abdominal pain or discomfort, and changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both. IBS presents differently in different people and only some or all of the symptoms may be present. Some people with IBS may experience additional gastro-intestinal symptoms as well.