Live Better
 
 

Understanding FODMAPS and IBS

Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Take some advice from dietitian Chloe McLeod

FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols – a group of short-chain carbohydrates. These are found in a whole range of different foods, including garlic, onion, apples, milk, mushrooms, bread and chickpeas.

When these carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, increased water can be drawn into the gut. For some people this can result in diarrhoea, while for others, the carbohydrates travel to the large intestine where they are fermented by bacteria, producing gas.

This gas can lead to symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) including bloating, constipation, flatulence, pain and nausea.

The concept of FODMAPs was first developed by Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian Dr Sue Shepherd in 2005. Since then, the research team at Monash University has been leading the way in research relating to IBS and the role that FODMAPs play in symptoms.

“Research shows that following a low FODMAP diet is the most effective way of managing IBS, with three in four people finding an improvement in symptoms.”

Who needs to worry about FODMAPs and why?

At present, around one in seven Australians suffer from this difficult condition. It is a chronic condition, meaning long term management is required, though symptoms and severity often change over time.

IBS can be defined through symptoms of cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, constipation and diarrhoea. These symptoms can often worsen in times of stress.

Research shows that following a low FODMAP diet is the most effective way of managing IBS, with three in four people finding an improvement in symptoms.

What is the process?

By reducing consumption of high FODMAP foods, symptoms of IBS can clear up in a matter of weeks.

However, a strict low FODMAP diet is a diagnostic tool – it is not recommended to be followed long term. Once it has been determined that FODMAPs are causing grief, moving through a series of food challenges is essential to help determine which particular FODMAPs are an individual’s triggers.

Why not just stay low FODMAP?

Most people’s symptoms are only triggered by a few of the high FODMAP groups of foods. Identifying these means you can reintroduce the groups of foods that don’t cause a problem, and determine tolerance levels of those that do. This is recommended for the following reasons:

  • Most people with IBS can maintain good symptom control with the reintroduction of some high FODMAP foods. This makes it easier to make informed choices and better manage symptoms on a daily basis.
  • Avoidingˆ unnecessary restrictions helps ensure a nutritionally adequate diet.
  • Many high FODMAP foods are also high in prebiotics. These provide food for the healthy bacteria that are found in your gut. Long term avoidance of these may affect the health of your microbiome.

What if a low FODMAP diet doesn’t work?

Other things can trigger symptoms of IBS. These include fatty foods, spicy foods and caffeine. Stress also plays a key role in symptom management, so managing stress levels regularly helps with reducing symptoms.

Latest Articles

Wellbeing

Funeral traditions from around the world

Celebrating life with song, dance, and burial beads.

Read more
Wellbeing

Learning to cope with intense feelings

Psychologist Dr Patricia Zurita Ona shares some advice.

Read more
Wellbeing

Could you have sleep apnoea?

Here's what you need to know about this common disorder.

Read more
Wellbeing

New Zealand: The ultimate travel guide

The land of the long white cloud has something for every kin.

Read more
Wellbeing

Vietnam travel guide

Everything you need to know about travelling Vietnam.

Read more
youtubeui-checkbox-tickui-checkbox-emptyui-checkbox-crosstwitterui-checkbox-tickWellbeing and mindfulness 1Physical Health 1Positive psychology 101 1Wellbeing and mindfulness 4All about gut health 1Understanding Genetics 4Planning for Pregnancy 2During Pregnancy 3The mind-gut connection 4The mind-gut connection 1New Parents 3Page 1Group 10During Pregnancy 2Page 1Physical Health 2Planning for Pregnancy 1Positive psychology 101 1Positive psychology 101 4Planning for Pregnancy 4Understanding Genetics 1Physical Health 4Planning for Pregnancy 3Nutrition 4New Parents 1New Parents 3 CopyMovement for your mind 4Wellbeing and mindfulness 2Nutrition 2sob-icon__mind-bodysob-icon__man-with-laptopAll about gut health 2Positive psychology 101 3Positive psychology 101 2Physical Health 3Wellbeing and mindfulness 3All about gut health 3genetics-changing-what-your-givenUnderstanding Genetics 2During Pregnancy 1Movement for your mind 2Movement for your mind 1Movement for your mind 3During Pregnancy 4