April is IBS Awareness Month! Learn how to reduce your symptoms with the help of a Registered Dietitian.

Low FODMAD Diet for IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (also called IBS) is a common and uncomfortable problem for many people. After meeting with your healthcare provider, you may be referred to a dietitian to help you create a meal plan to reduce your symptoms. Commonly, a diet called Low FODMAP is recommended. For people struggling with IBS, the Low FODMAP diet can be both a relief and a whole new problem. The diet relieves symptoms but can be confusing and challenging to follow on your own.

 

 

 


FODMAP is an acronym that represents fermentable forms of carbohydrate found in many foods, especially healthy vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. For people without IBS, incorporating these fermentable carbs is beneficial and promotes good health. Unfortunately, for people who suffer from IBS, these same fermentable carbs can cause uncomfortable bloating, gas, and diarrhea and/or constipation. Temporarily removing FODMAPs from the diet causes relief of IBS symptoms for many people. It’s important to remember a Low FODMAP diet is NOT intended to be a long-term solution or cure for IBS. Instead, it is a diagnostic diet that helps you identify the foods that may be triggering your symptoms. After a short period on a strict Low FODMAP diet, you will slowly introduce specific forms of carbs and test your tolerance to higher and higher amounts fermentable carbs to identify your triggers. The reintroduction is very important, as long-term use of strict Low FODMAP diets can lead to even worse IBS symptoms and food intolerance because it starves beneficial bacteria in your gut and allows harmful bacteria to grow. 


If it’s been recommended that you follow a Low FODMAP diet, don’t feel like you need to figure it out on your own. Work with a dietitian to help you identify foods that are high, moderate, or low in FODMAPs to create a meal plan that is nutritionally balanced while avoiding trigger foods. You will also work with your dietitian to re-introduce foods as you’re ready. There are also plenty of resources online to help you navigate the Low FODMAP maze. Check out Monash Institute to find up-to-date lists of foods, recipes, and even an app to help you ID foods at the grocery store or restaurants (www.monashfodmap.com


IBS is uncomfortable and annoying, but your therapeutic diet doesn’t have to be. If you think you have IBS or are looking for help to manage your symptoms, call Inspired Health Group to set up an appointment with your provider and one of the staff dietitians.  

 

- Katie Schaeffer, MS, RDN, CDN, CDCES

 

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