Explaining the low FODMAP diet

The low FODMAP diet is a program we frequently use in our clinic due to its ability to produce effective results for clients with persistent IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Originally developed by the team at Monash University led by Professor Peter Gibson and a team of practitioners including dietitian Sue Shepherd, they found that limiting dietary FODMAPs is an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS. The low FODMAP diet has been published in international medical journals and is now accepted and recommended as one of the most effective dietary therapies for IBS.

What are the FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym for

Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS))
Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)
Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people. When the molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine of the digestive tract, these molecules then continue along their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there normally. The bacteria then digest/ferment these FODMAPs and can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal bloating and distension, excess wind (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms. 

Where are FODMAPs found?

A few examples of food sources for each of the FODMAPs are listed below.

  • Excess Fructose: Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup,
  • Fructans: Artichokes (Globe), Artichokes(Jerusalem), Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Spring Onion (white part), Shallots, Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Barley (in large amounts), Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides.
  • Lactose: Milk, icecream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone).
  • Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS): Legume beans (eg. baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans), Lentils, Chickpeas
  • Polyols: Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Cherries, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, sorbitol (420), mannitol (421), xylitol (967), maltitol (965) and isomalt (953).

What can I eat on a low FODMAP diet?

The Low FODMAP diet has two phases:

  1. The first phase generally involves a strict restriction of all high FODMAP foods. This phase should be followed for 6-8 weeks only
  2. Then we will conduct a review appointment to begin the second phase, where the diet is liberalised to suit each client – where the tolerated type and amount of FODMAPs are identified so that the longer term diet can be established.

We work closely with you over these 2 stages to ensure we achieve inflammation reduction in phase 1 and establish a long term diet with reduced symptoms in phase 2. We will provide you with resources for these dietary changes.

For more information or to book a consultation with Angela Busby N.D. please call 0416-775-530 or book online by clicking the button below.