A low FODMAP diet and IBS Symptoms

by Sarah Pittman Dietetic Student, University of Illinois

A diet low in short-chain fermentable carbohydrates, otherwise known as the FODMAP diet is frequently used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  But following a low FODMAP diet is next to impossible without the right education.

So what is a FODMAP diet?

Fermentable

Oligosaccharides (fructans, galactooligosaccharides)

Disaccharides (lactose)

Monosaccharides (fructose when in excess of glucose)

Polyols (sorbitol and mannitol)

(Staudacher H, Whelan K, 2017).

What CAN you eat on a low FODMAP diet?

FODMAPs are put into 3 categories: low, medium and high FODMAP foods. Anyone following a low FODMAP diet should avoid high FODMAP foods, eat some medium FODMAP foods and depend on low FODMAP foods as much as possible.

Examples of low FODMAP foods:

Vegetables: lettuce, cucumber, eggplant, broccoli and baby spinach

Fruits: blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, grapes

Meats: chicken, beef, turkey

Fats: oils, seeds, butter, peanuts

Starches/cereals/grains: potatoes, gluten-free bread, quinoa, brown rice, popcorn

(Barhum, L, 2017).

Examples of high FODMAP foods:

Vegetables: garlic, asparagus, onions, mushrooms

Fruits: blackberries, watermelon, prunes, peaches, avocados

Meats: sausages, breaded meats, battered meats

Fats: almonds, cashews

Starches/cereals/grains: beans, lentils, gluten-based bread, pastries, pasta

(Barhum, L, 2017).

What does the diet help treat in people with IBS specifically?

  • Decreased abdominal pain
  • Decreased abdominal bloating
  • More consistent stools
  • Decreased flatulence

(Barhum, L, 2017).

How do you implement a FODMAP diet?

The first step in a clinical implementation of a low FODMAP diet includes an in-depth dietary instruction followed by excluding FODMAPs from the diet for 4-8 weeks to assess how the diet affects the person. “Where symptomatic response has been achieved, these carbohydrates are then reintroduced into the diet individually to tolerance while monitoring symptoms, with the ultimate aim of achieving a diverse and nutritionally adequate diet alongside long-term symptom control” (Staudacher H, Whelan K, 2017).

What have you done to help patients with IBS? Have you suggested the low FODMAP diet to any patients? We would love to hear your experience with the FODMAP diet!

Resources:

Barhum, L. (2017, October 17). “All you need to know about the low FODMAP diet.” Medical News Today.

Staudacher H, Whelan K. The low FODMAP diet: recent advances in understanding its mechanisms and efficacy in IBS. Gut [serial online]. n.d.;66(8):1517-1527. Available from: Science Citation Index, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 10, 2018.

Varjú P, Farkas N, Czimmer J, et al. Low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet improves symptoms in adults suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) compared to standard IBS diet: A meta-analysis of clinical studies. Plos ONE [serial online]. August 14, 2017;12(8):1-15. Available from: Academic Search Ultimate, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 10, 2018.

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 Facebookon Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

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