It’s highly likely you’ve heard of the low FODMAP diet, however do you know why it may be used? You can learn more about FODMAPs, and what they are here, in this article we are going to focus on when you should consider a low FODMAP diet.
If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Management of IBS is the key reason to undertake the low FODMAP diet, as it assists with improving symptoms in 75% of people with IBS. The FODMAP diet was first researched by the team at Monash University in Australia, with the finding that reducing intake of high FODMAP foods can help manage symptoms of IBS, including bloating, wind, altered bowel motions and abdominal discomfort. The low FODMAP diet is a diagnostic tool which is used to determine if FODMAPs could be triggering IBS symptoms, then a series of challenges is undertaken to help you determine which of the FODMAPs are your individual triggers.
If you have other gut related health issues
Sometimes people with other gut problems find further relief from the low FODMAP diet. It is important to note that for the following examples, the low FODMAP diet is not always a useful management tool; some people find very little change to symptoms. For example:
- Coeliac disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
This can be a curly one, and not something to undertake on your own; assistance from, and careful management with a dietitian is essential here. For example, a low FODMAP diet is not gluten free, so would need to be adjusted to be made gluten free for someone with Coeliac disease. Also, the diet won’t be able to result in remission of Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, however it may aid symptom management.
What should the low FODMAP diet NOT be used for?
- Weight loss – The low FODMAP diet is not a weight loss diet. Whilst some people do find they may lose some weight, this is more likely to be due to saying no to foods which may have triggered symptoms for them, such as biscuits or cakes.
- Managing non-gut related conditions – I often hear of people feeling frustrated that the low FODMAP diet is not working to help manage symptoms such as reflux or migraines. Whilst some people may find changes in these symptoms, if this is the case (or even if it isn’t), it is worthwhile having a chat with your dietitian to see if there is something else going on.
Chloe McLeod is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Sports Dietitian from Sydney. She is Director of the online course, The FODMAP Challenge, and Co-Owner of nutrition consulting company, Health & Performance Collective.
For 5 steps to improve your gut health – read this