The Low FODMAP Diet For Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Posted By Author on March 31, 2021

Low FODMAP diets are most commonly recommended for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). While symptoms vary widely, many who suffer from IBS have experienced relief through the reduction of high FODMAP foods.

The Low FODMAP diet chart at Charleston GI gastroenterologist

What Exactly is the FODMAP Diet?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, and Mono-saccharides, And Polyols. The dietary approach was developed in 2005 by Australian researchers at Monash University to improve digestive symptoms for those with IBS or, in some cases, inflammatory bowel disease.

Oligo-saccharides include legumes, wheat, rye, garlic, onions and artichokes. Di-saccharides include dairy products containing lactose, such as milk, ice cream and cheese. Mono-saccharides contain glucose and fructose, such as honey and some fruits. Polyols include sugar-free gum/mints as well as select fruits and vegetables.


Foods You Can Eat (Eating More Low FODMAP Foods)

Dairy:

  • Almond milk
  • Lactose-free milk
  • Rice milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Lactose-free yogurt
  • Hard cheeses (like feta and brie)

Fruit:

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries

Vegetables:

  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bean sprouts
  • Bok choy
  • Carrots
  • Chives
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Ginger
  • Lettuce
  • Olives
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Turnips

Protein:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Tofu

Nuts/Seeds (limit to 10-15 each):

  • Almonds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Walnuts

Grain:

  • Oats
  • Oat bran
  • Rice bran
  • Gluten-free pasta
  • Quinoa
  • White rice
  • Corn flour

If you’re thinking about trying out this diet, it’s a good idea to chat with a registered dietitian or Charleston GI doctor. A medical professional will make sure your eating plan is both safe and healthy. 

Foods You Should Not Eat (Avoiding High FODMAP Foods)

Fructose:

  • Fruits like apples, mangos, pears, and watermelon
  • Honey
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Agave

Lactose:

  • Dairy, including milk from cows, goats, or sheep
  • Custard
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream

Fructans:

  • Rye and wheat
  • Vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, onions, and garlic

Galactans:

  • Legumes, including beans (like baked beans), lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans

Polyols:

  • Sugar alcohols
  • Fruits with pits or seeds, such as apples, apricots, avocados, cherries, figs, peaches, pears, or plums

It’s recommended to speak with your doctor directly for any dietary changes for gastrointestinal health. If you’re in the Charleston area, Charleston GI doctors are available 5 days a week. No referral needed! Schedule appointment today! 


What Exactly is the Low FODMAP Diet?

The goal of low FODMAP diets for IBS is to limit the short-chain carbohydrates that are not easily digested and absorbed in the small intestine. In theory, the removal and strategic reintroduction of potential “trigger foods” helps to determine intolerances. It is important for people with IBS to seek medical advice first.

Here at Charleston GI, our specialists can help you identify the high FODMAP foods that trigger symptoms – and how best to avoid them. For instance, if lactose triggers symptoms, we can help create a diverse, lactose-free diet that ensures your body gets the nutrients it needs.

Keep in mind that low FODMAP diets can be difficult to follow, but they are just temporary – and could result in long-term benefits!

 

Are There Any Good Benefits from a FODMAP Diet?

Low FODMAP diets for those who suffer from IBS have proven effective, helping to reduce painful symptoms and improve overall quality of life. In order to maintain a balanced amount of protein, fat, carbs and nutrients, low FODMAP diets should only be followed under a professional’s supervision. Schedule your appointment at Charleston GI to find out if a low FODMAP diet is right for you!

 

fodmap diet meal prep

So, How Does it Work?

3 Steps To FODMAP Diet Process: 

Step 1: Eliminate High FODMAP Foods

  • With guidance from your healthcare provider, start by cutting out FODMAPs from your diet.

Step 2: Gradual Reintroduction Safe Foods

  • Slowly reintroduce carbohydrates, one at a time. Observe how your body reacts and pinpoint any troublesome foods.

Step 3: Journaling and Adapt

  • Keep a food diary and symptom chart handy. Identify foods causing symptoms, allowing you to avoid or limit them while freely enjoying everything else.

Following these steps can make your FODMAP diet journey more manageable and effective. It’s recommended to speak with your doctor directly for any dietary changes for gastrointestinal health.

Medical professionals suggest sticking to the elimination phase of the diet for a duration of two to six weeks. This helps alleviate symptoms and, in the case of SIBO, can reduce abnormally high levels of intestinal bacteria. 

After this initial period, every three days, reintroduce a high FODMAP food into your diet one at a time, carefully monitoring for any adverse reactions. If a specific high FODMAP food triggers symptoms, it’s wise to avoid it in the long run. 

Keep in mind that dietary restrictions vary for each person based on their health, so it’s crucial to have a direct conversation with your doctor if you’re considering the FODMAP diet.

 

IBS Symptoms That Can Improve With FODMAP

While not designed for weight loss, low FODMAP diets may improve the following digestive symptoms:

 

When Should I Talk  to a Doctor About IBS?

Knowing when to consult a doctor is crucial when dealing with IBS and SIBO symptoms. 

While dietary changes play a significant role, healthcare professionals often employ additional therapies. Antibiotics are effective in swiftly reducing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can be alleviated with laxatives and low-dose antidepressants.

The most effective approach often involves a combination of dietary adjustments, medications, and stress management techniques. Collaborating with a doctor can help you discover personalized treatments for SIBO and IBS that work well for your specific situation.

 

Schedule an Appointment with Charleston GI Doctors, No Referral Needed

To learn more about low FODMAP diets for irritable bowel syndrome, visit us at Charleston GI today! We offer 4 convenient locations throughout the Lowcountry in Summerville, Carnes Crossroads, Mount Pleasant and West Ashley.

Our team of highly-qualified specialists are committed to providing a higher standard of caring – and relief from digestive symptoms! Schedule your appointment today. No referral needed!


FAQs

What foods are listed as the best Low FODMAP snacks?

We’ve got you covered on some tasty FODMAP snacks while dieting for heath concerns. Here are our top picks for good snacks to eat while on a low FODMAP diet:

  • Gluten-free pretzels or crackers with tuna salad or egg salad (made with lactose-free ingredients)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Plain popcorn (no added flavors or seasoning)
  • Rice cakes with peanut or almond butter
  • Rice crackers with lactose-free cheese
  • Roasted nuts or seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • Small portions of low FODMAP fruits like bananas, grapes, or oranges
  • Veggie sticks like carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or bell pepper strips.

 

How long should I be on the FODMAP diet?

The low FODMAP diet isn’t a forever kind of deal; think of it more as a short-term strategy to handle symptoms while figuring out your specific FODMAP triggers. By embracing this diet, you can pinpoint which FODMAPs your body doesn’t vibe with, and then adjust your eating habits to dodge or limit those carbs, all while keeping your overall nutrition in check.

 

What is FODMAP?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-Saccharides, and Polyols. These are scientific terms for specific groups of carbohydrates that can trigger digestive symptoms.

 

What are FODMAP symptoms?

Not everyone faces issues with FODMAPs in their meals, but for some folks, they might bring on cramps, bloating, gas, or diarrhea. The trouble lies in the fact that FODMAPs pull extra fluid into the gut, creating more gas as they easily ferment in there.

 

Who should be on the diet?

This diet is a key player in treating IBS and SIBO. Studies show that it eases symptoms for about 86% of people.

Since the initial phase of the diet can be a bit tricky, it’s crucial to team up with a doctor or dietitian. They’ll make sure you’re on the right track, following the diet correctly (which is vital for success), and getting the nutrients your body needs.

If you’re on the lean side, don’t go solo on this. The low FODMAP diet isn’t a weight-loss program, but shedding pounds can happen because it cuts out so many foods. For someone already on the lighter side, dropping more weight can be risky.

 

What’s different about the Low FODMAP diet vs Gluten-free diet vs Dairy-free diet?

The low FODMAP diet is all about managing digestive symptoms by limiting certain types of carbohydrates. 

On the other hand, a gluten-free diet is for those with celiac disease, cutting out gluten. 

Meanwhile, a dairy-free diet removes all dairy products and helps with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. These diets serve different purposes and address distinct digestive issues.

 

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome is an intestinal disorder causing individuals pain in the belly, gas, diarrhea, and constipation

 

What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Common irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Some patients maintain better control of IBS symptoms with help of managing a diet, lifestyle chances, reducing stress and other methods. You should partner with a board certified gastroenterologist for further medical assistance.  

 

What are the common causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

The common causes of irritable bowel syndrome is still quite unclear to healthcare professionals. A diagnosis by a board certified gastroenterologist is commonly based on symptoms rather than a specific cause creating IBS.

 

How to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

There are some patients that have controlled their IBS symptoms with help of managing a diet, lifestyle changes, reducing stress, medication and counseling. Forms of treatment would include high fiber diet, dietary fiber, physical exercise, stress management, and relaxation techniques. Mediation and therapy have been a resource for some to treat IBS including biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. You should schedule an appointment with an experienced gastroenterologist for proper medical support on treatments with IBS. 

 

What is the best diet for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

A common diet offered by trained gastroenterologists and other health professionals is the Low FODMAP Diet because it is high in fiber and this benefits patients with IBS. 

 

Can I drink alcohol with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

No, board certified gastroenterologists and other health professionals do not recommend consuming alcohol while suffering with IBS. Alcohol consumption has been shown to irritate the gut and this results in IBS symptoms like flare-ups. Some patients have experienced increased symptoms due to consuming alcohol resulting in an increase of cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. 

 

How long does irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) last?

The time frame of having IBS flare-ups can vary. IBS may last for days or weeks. There is the possibility of your symptoms changing during the flare. You need to partner with a board certified gastroenterologist who can monitor your recovery.

 


More Helpful Gastrointestinal Blogs


READY TO VISIT? SUMMERVILLE | CARNES CROSSROADS | MT PLEASANT | CHARLESTON