Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The low FODMAP diet is a relatively new treatment developed in Australia which aims to control the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome through dietary modification. 

Recently featured on Channel 4’s “The Food Hospital” it is already making a big difference for some of our patients.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) falls into a family of problems referred to as functional bowel disorders.  Symptoms can include wind, bloating, diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal cramps amongst others. 

It is now thought that certain dietary components, referred to as FODMAPs (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols), are fermented within the large bowel and can trigger IBS symptoms (wind, bloating, diarrhoea etc.) in susceptible people.  For more support with your IBS, contact the IBS Network.

The Low FODMAP Diet

The low FODMAP diet reduces these dietary components to relieve symptoms and studies have shown that 76% of patients seen by a dietitian trained in the low FODMAP diet experience an improvement in their symptoms.

FODMAPs are found in a wide range of foods and your registered dietitian will work with you to identify sources in your diet and find alternatives that work for you.  Most clients will require at least 2 consultations:

The first session for introduction of the low FODMAP diet includes:

  • Dietary and lifestyle assessment and advice
  • Explanation of the low FODMAP diet
  • Exploration of the food groups
  • Discussion regarding alternatives and substitutes
  • Planning for the initial 8 week elimination phase

Should improvement in symptoms be seen during the elimination phase the first follow-up session involves planning a staged reintroduction of FODMAP containing foods to establish tolerance.  Often no more than 1 follow-up session is required.

It is important that you have had tests to rule out inflammatory bowel disease or coeliac disease before starting the low FODMAP diet.

Hydrogen and methane breath testing for specific FODMAP intolerances such as lactose and fructose can be used to inform the elimination process prior to commencing the low FODMAP diet.  This can help to reduce the number of foods that need to be restricted where lactose and fructose intolerance is not found.

Looking for a low FODMAP diet sheet? 

The reason you won’t find one on this site is that we strongly believe that the low FODMAP diet should not be attempted without the guidance and supervision of a dietitian or doctor who has been trained to deliver it.

This is to protect people from inadvertently disguising the symptoms of more serious conditions such as bowel cancer, coeliac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, to reduce the risk of people accidentally over restricting their diets and to ensure they get the best possible improvement in their symptoms.

If you want to find out if the low FODMAP diet is the right option for you please contact us or speak with your GP or Consultant to ask for a referral to a local dietitian specialising in the low FODMAP diet.