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Broad and learned
clinical background

Gut Reaction #31: The Low FODMAP Diet (Guest Blog)

The low FODMAP diet is a relatively new concept in the UK.  It is recognised by NICE as an effective diet for managing the symptoms of IBS such as abdominal pain, wind and bloating. About 70% of people with IBS who try the diet will achieve an improvement in their gut symptoms.

FODMAPS are found in a wide range of foods including: onion, garlic, wheat, lactose, honey, nuts and many fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, broccoli and avocado to name but a few).

Once ingested, some FODMAPs are not absorbed in the small intestine and cause osmotic diarrhoea.  As they pass into the large intestine they are fermented by colonic bacteria which may result in gas production and symptoms such as wind, pain and bloating.

Reducing dietary intake of FODMAPS has been shown to improve gut symptoms in most people with functional bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The low FODMAP diet is a complex approach however and involves a 4-8 week period of restricting FODMAP rich foods. This is followed by the systematic reintroduction of these foods back into the diet. The purpose of this stage is to identify foods that trigger symptoms and ensure a nutritionally balanced diet at the end of the process.

It is important that people who undertake the diet receive good quality advice from a Registered Dietitian on how to follow the different stages of the low FODMAP diet. It isn’t as simple as following a list of ‘foods to eat’ and ‘foods not to eat’. High FODMAP ingredients are often hidden in processed foods. Because the diet is relatively new, the information available on the internet and elsewhere can be misleading and create confusion.

An important point of note is that if the diet isn’t followed properly, it’s unlikely to be effective.

For more information please contact Ali Todd, Registered Dietitian, on 07810 367549 or for an appointment 07757 757571. In addition, further information is available on her website.