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A low-FODMAP diet isn’t another diet fad.
A low-FODMAP diet helps many people with medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to manage their symptoms and get on with life.
Medically diagnosed IBS symptoms can include regular abdominal discomfort, constipation or diarrhoea (or both), plus bloating and gas. It’s estimated to affect 11% of the world’s population.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to rule out anything more serious. A knowledgeable, supportive doctor may improve your quality of life using a mix of treatments, including medications, lifestyle changes and a low-FODMAP diet.
You’ve probably seen low-FODMAP diet cookbooks in the shops, so you may already know that FODMAPs are a group of sugars that aren’t absorbed properly in your gut. They can trigger symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS.
The diet is based on swapping high-FODMAP foods for low-FODMAP alternatives. So, fruits like apples, dried fruits and mangoes are swapped for strawberries, kiwis, or pineapples. Veggies like artichoke, asparagus and cauliflower are replaced by capsicums, carrots and zucchinis. You make similar swaps for types of protein, dairy, cereals and nuts. And you can still get a sweet fix from decadent dark chocolate and maple syrup.
But is it worth the effort? In 2014, Australian researchers published the results of a clinical trial comparing a low-FODMAP diet with an average Australian diet in 30 people with medically diagnosed IBS and eight healthy control subjects. Those following a low-FODMAP diet found that it more than halved their symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS. An incredible 70% of the trial participants said they felt better on the diet.
Now those trial participants had all their food provided, enabling them to follow the diet very closely. But real life makes any diet tricky. You probably don’t have your own personal chef (wouldn’t that be marvellous!) and don’t want to restrict your food choices indefinitely.
Thankfully, that’s not the plan anyway. A strict low-FODMAP diet should not be followed for long because that can affect your microbiome.
You follow the low-FODMAP diet carefully for a few weeks, then reintroduce certain foods in a way that suits your body. You’re more likely to succeed with the help of a specially trained registered dietician who works with you to follow a diet that achieves good symptom control with as few restrictions as possible. Many people are pleased to find that they can safely eat quite a few high-FODMAP foods, though perhaps not as much or as often as they did before.
And if a low-FODMAP diet doesn’t relieve your symptoms, then you resume your normal diet and work with your doctor to find another approach that helps you.
In addition to a low-FODMAP diet, you may also like to consider trying the Life-Space IBS Support Probiotic.
It contains a probiotic strain called Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, which may help relieve abdominal pain, gas and bloating associated with medically diagnosed IBS. There’s also zinc, to help you metabolise macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), and other probiotics to support your general digestive health.
Hopefully, a low-FODMAP diet and other options like a specially formulated probiotic can help you manage your symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS. A bit of pampering to lower your stress levels probably wouldn’t hurt either!
Always read the label. Follow directions for use. If symptoms persists, talk to your health professional. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.