This is the third and final (maybe!) instalment of the Low FODMAP eat plan blog. My intention is to introduce you to a meal plan that might alleviate IBS symptoms. Studies show that following these guidelines can improve quality of life due to improved digestion for those who can not tolerate certain types of sugars. If you have IBS, theres nothing to lose! Only knowledge and experience to gain.
Below are my TOP 5 tips to succeed at the low FODMAP diet.
#1: If you are going to make a concerted effort to follow the low FODMAP diet correctly, do yourself a favour and make an appointment with a FODMAP knowledgeable dietitian. I promise you, a dietitian can truly make your low FODMAP diet experience a whole lot easier and likely, much tastier too!
#2 Get the most up-to-date low FODMAP and high FODMAP food lists, as it ever evolving. Food analysis is still underway and the diet will continue to be altered as new foods are analysed. Because there are many outdated FODMAP food lists online, it can be quite frustrating for those new to the low FODMAP diet. The most up to date resource is the Monash University low FODMAP site. Here you go: https://www.monashfodmap.com/about-fodmap-and-ibs/high-and-low-fodmap-foods/
#3 Don’t grieve the loss of higher FODMAP foods! The low FODMAP elimination and re-introduction phase helps you identify your personal FODMAP triggers. You may find only some of the high FODMAP food trouble your IBS symptoms or that your symptoms are only exacerbated if you eat multiple FODMAPs at one meal. While you trial the low FODMAP diet, do yourself a favour and focus on the foods you CAN eat - not necessarily the foods excluded on the low FODMAP elimination diet. And really, don’t grieve the loss of any foods until you determine they truly trigger your IBS symptoms. Lastly, tolerance to FODMAPs can change over time, so try to re-introduce your FODMAP trigger foods periodically as guided by your health professional.
#4 The low FODMAP elimination diet is not long term! This diet was created to help those with IBS identify which foods trigger symptoms. It is not a life long eating plan. The elimination phase is typically 6 weeks followed by the second phase of the diet: the reintroduction or re-challenge phase. Its during this phase that foods rich in individual FODMAP are added back into the diet methodically to assess if they are triggers. Research has shown that certain health-promoting gut bacteria populations decline while on the low FODMAP diet. The long term consequences of this reduction of microbes remains unknown (a very exciting area of investigation now)! The FODMAP groups most likely to benefit your gut microbe populations are the fructans (wheat, onion, garlic) and GOS (legumes), which have know prebiotic effects (they are the food for our healthy gut microbes). The long term goal for the IBS sufferer is to eat the most healthy and liberal diet as tolerated.
#5 Eat a well-balanced low FODMAP diet. Don’t over- restrict your diet so much that you miss out on key nutrients for overall health while following the low FODMAP diet. White rice and chicken are low FODMAP but we all know do not provide enough nutrients for good health. A dietitian can guide you on how to eat a nutrient-rich low FODMAP diet.
As always, contact me for additional questions or if you'd like to embark on a new eating plan customized to give you more energy and more vitality (but less gas)!