A Unique Strategy to Help Manage IBS:
The Low FODMAP Diet
Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team
Struggling with digestive upset after every meal? The Low FODMAP diet may help.
Learn about FODMAPs and a Low FODMAP diet from Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Carrie Taylor.
Are you struggling with bloating, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea or other digestive troubles related to food? If you answered yes to any of the following questions, the low FODMAP diet may be a useful tool for you.
The low FODMAP diet is a temporary elimination and food challenge meal plan developed specifically for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as a way to evaluate which foods cause digestive issues.
The acronym “FODMAPS” stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharide, Monosaccharide And Polyols, which are all types of carbohydrates that could cause intestinal distress for individuals with IBS due to poor absorption in the gut.
In order to implement a low FODMAP diet properly, it is important to work with one’s healthcare team, specifically a registered dietitian specializing in digestive health. The FODMAP diet lasts for 2 to 6 weeks and cycles through phases of eliminating and reintroducing high FODMAP foods to identify triggering foods.
A low FODMAP diet is very limited, therefore individuals should not follow it for a long period of time nor without working one-on-one with a registered dietitian.
FODMAPs are found in many foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains and milk products. For example, wheat products such as wheat pasta and wheat bread contain a type of monosaccharide called fructans that may trigger digestive distress for individuals with IBS. Dry beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas contain an oligosaccharide called GOS or galacto-oligosaccharides that may also cause issues. Milk products such as cheese, milk and yogurt contain lactose, a disaccharide some individuals with IBS have trouble tolerating.
Other foods considered high FODMAP are vegetables like garlic and onion and fruit such as apples, watermelon and mango.
That said, there is plenty of low FODMAP or “safe” foods for individuals with IBS. For example, hard and aged cheeses containing a small amount of lactose may prove acceptable such as Havarti, cheddar, brie, goat cheese and feta. Certain fruits like cantaloupe, strawberries, oranges, pineapple and grapes are considered safe. Protein-rich foods such as plain seafood, eggs and meat do not contain FODMAPs. Once other ingredients are added, such as breading or marinade, their “safe” status may change. Gluten-free and rice-based products are typically low FODMAP choices as well.
Suffer from painful digestive issues?
Learn if following a low Fodmap diet is worth considering with your healthcare team. Before beginning, be sure to work with a gastroenterologist and registered dietitian specializing in IBS and Low FODMAP diets.
And as always, for general guidance on how to best grocery shop for your health needs, learn more about our FREE virtual nutrition events with a registered dietitian at www.bigy.com/LivingWell/GetSocial.
Scarlata, K. (2015-2021). FODMAPS 101. https://www.katescarlata.com/fodmaps-101 Monash University. (2019). High and Low FODMAP Foods. https://www.monashfodmap.com/about-fodmap-and-ibs/meet-team/
Barrett JS. (2017). How to institute the low-FODMAP diet. J Gastroenterol Hepatol;32 Suppl 1:8-10. doi: 10.1111/jgh.13686. PMID: 28244669.