What is IBS?

You may have heard someone talk about FODMAPs or the FODMAP diet, but what really are they? What is the Low FODMAP diet? And is it something you should consider?

Not to be mistaken with the mathematical formula BODMAS,  FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPs are types of short-chain carbohydrates found in foods that resist digestion and can lead to unwanted symptoms including constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and pain.

Some people can tolerate FODMAP containing foods better than others, which warrants the FODMAP diet being followed for those that don’t tolerate them as well and with a confirmed diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) using the Rome IV criteria.

The FODMAP Diet is a 3-step diet used to help manage the symptoms of IBS.

The FODMAP diet aims to:

  1. Assist the person in learning which foods and FODMAPs you tolerate, and which trigger IBS symptoms. Gaining an understanding of this will assist in avoiding trigger foods long term and creating a FODMAP friendly, nutritionally balanced diet.
  2. Assess whether IBS symptoms are to FODMAP containing foods. Symptoms of IBS aren’t always food related, so it is important to identify whether the FODMAP Diet is right for you.

Steps of the FODMAP Diet:

  1. Low FODMAP Diet/ Elimination – high FODMAP foods are swapped for low FODMAP foods for a period of 2-6 weeks. All food groups (dairy, grains & cereals, meat & alternatives, fruit and vegetables) are included.
  2. FODMAP Reintroduction – high FODMAP foods are reintroduced one FODMAP at a time, one food at a time, over three days. The length of this phase is 8-12 weeks.
  3. FODMAP Personalisation – This phase helps to identify what foods the individual can tolerate or not to carry on long term.

The Monash FODMAP App is a great tool to identify FODMAP containing food and drinks which specifically identify which FODMAP they contain and at what level a person can tolerate them according to their identified FODMAP tolerability.

The FODMAP diet should always be done under the guidance of a Monash FODMAP Trained Dietitian like we have in Georgia Walker at Sandringham Sports Physio.