by Kristen DiFilippo PhD, RDN, LDN
For years, my husband asked me if I needed to see a doctor. “My stomach hurts” was such a part of my daily vocabulary that I didn’t know it wasn’t normal. I knew I was lactose intolerant, and that there were certain foods, like onions, and pop and that would make my stomach hurt, but I never put together the connection. It was at a routine check that my doctor suggested I might have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I was shocked. As a dietitian, I had heard about the low-FODMAP diet, had even attended presentations at FNCE, but did not realize that this was diet that would apply to me personally.
The concepts of FODMAPS, or Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols and was originally published in 2005.1 Decreasing dietary intake of these poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates in the small intestine has been shown to lessen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.2 Food lists are available describing which type of FODMAPs are in various foods. Even with my training as a dietitian, I struggled to navigate these lists. For help, I turned to a friend who researches IBS in athletes. She advised me to download the Monash University app. By using the stoplight system within the app, I was able to understand the different types of FODMAPs and successfully embark on an elimination diet. I got to a feeling of “good” that I didn’t even know I could have. Over time, I have trialed different foods, and have been able to reintroduce a number of items to my diet. What started as overwhelming has become second nature, and an easy way to minimize IBS symptoms.
As a relatively new dietary intervention, many dietitians are interested in learning more about the implementation of low-FODMAP diets to support patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders. In fact, in 2017 more of you asked us to provide a learning opportunity on FODMAPs than any other topic. We are excited to answer this request on March 29th when Caroline Tuck, who completed her doctoral training at Monash University with the original FODMAP researchers, shares her insight into how to implement a low-FODMAP with patients struggling with IBS.
Please share any issues or tips you have had either following a FODMAP diet or helping your clients/patients follow the diet.
- Gibson, PR; Shepherd, SJ (2005). “Personal view: food for thought–western lifestyle and susceptibility to Crohn’s disease. The FODMAP hypothesis”. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 21(12): 1399–1409. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2005.02506.x. PMID15948806.
- Staudacher, HM; Whelan, K; Irving, PM; Lomer, MC (2011). “Comparison of symptom response following advice for a diet low in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) versus standard dietary advice in patients with irritable bowel syndrome”. J Hum Nutr Diet. 24(5): 487–495. doi:10.1111/j.1365-277X.2011.01162.x. PMID21615553
This blog was posted by Robin Allen, a member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website on Facebook, on Twitter, and LinkedIn.