The Low FODMAP Diet was developed by Monash university in 2004. It is designed to help the 1 in 7 people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) worldwide, and has an increasingly long list of studies supporting its success (links below). FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo, Di, and Mono Saccharides and Polyols. These are carbohydrate chains – molecules that can be fermented in the stomach which cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. By reducing the intake of FODMAPS, many of those with IBS can find a reduction or elimination in their symptoms. There are 6 main groups of FODMAPS as follows:
The low FODMAP diet begins by working to reduce intake of all the FODMAP’s, and seeing if symptoms improve after 2-7 weeks. This is known as the Elimination phase of the diet. One thing that some people do is after they realise the low FODMAP diet is effective, they remain on it across all the FODMAP groups listed above. This is only half the diet, and if you stop at this point you are not only missing out on range of great foods, but you are also not giving yourself the balanced diet and range of nutrition your body needs. For example, several FODMAPS are actually prebiotics and can enhance your beneficial gut bacteria if you ‘can stomach’ them (excuse the pun). So stage two is the challenge or reintroduction phase, where you add in new higher FODMAP foods slowly (every 3 days) into your diet to see if you react to them. Eventually you will find that you only react to certain FODMAPS, or even certain foods and can therefore be careful of what you eat, gaining a greater quality of life through reduced or eliminated symptoms. If you are going to go on the FODMAP journey, it really helps to link with a specialist dietician who knows what they are talking about. Monash also has a great app that can assist in identifying which foods are high fodmap, and which fodmaps are causing you issues. You can also look out for certified foods from Fodmap Friendly or Monash, which ensures the product is low FODMAP. Please note that whether a product is low FODMAP or not often depends on the serving size. The Fodmap diet is one of the more difficult diets to follow until you get an understanding of your food ‘triggers’. We hope the FreeFOD range can help you gain greater freedom in your food choices.
Did you know: IBS affects all ages and cultures, however it has a higher prevalence in women – 2 out of 3 in fact. If you think you may have IBS, it is best to start by talking to your doctor who can rule our more serious conditions.