The Low FODMAP Diet for IBS

A FODMAP diet is a 3-step diet to help manage the symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS. It may be considered when symptoms persist following first line dietary and lifestyle advice for IBS. FODMAP trained dietitians are uniquely qualified to provide this treatment.

What are FODMAPs?

Some carbohydrates may contribute to bowel symptoms in functional bowel disorders such as IBS. These are fermentable carbohydrates known as FODMAPs found in a variety of foods:


Oligo-saccharides: e.g. fructans (found in wheat, rye and some vegetables) and galacto-oligosaccharides (found in pulses and legumes)

Di-saccharides: e.g. lactose(found in mammalian milk)

Mono-saccharides: e.g. free fructose (found in some fruits and honey)

Polyols: e.g. sorbitol and mannitol (found in some fruits and vegetables)

How might FODMAPs affect your gut symptoms?

FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small intestine resulting in fluid changes leading to pain, bloating and loose stools. When FODMAPs reach the colon they are fermented by the gut bacteria producing gas triggering symptoms including excessive wind, bloating and abdominal pain.
FODMAPs will only cause these symptoms in sensitive individuals; they should only be avoided if they are suspected of worsening IBS type symptoms.

How effective is the low FODMAP diet?

Avoiding FODMAPs is an effective treatment for about 70% of people with gut symptoms such as bloating, wind, abdominal pain, and an altered bowel habit. It recognised by national guidelines produced by NICE as an effective diet for managing IBS symptoms.

How to follow the low FODMAP diet?

Stage 1

High FODMAP foods are swapped for low FODMAP alternatives for 2-6 weeks to reduce symptoms

Stage 2

If your symptoms improve it’s time to reintroduce FODMAPs. Remain on a low FODMAP diet throughout this step

Stage 3

You should now know which FODMAPs you tolerate and which trigger IBS symptoms. FODMAPs can be included in your diet to meet your nutritional needs, prevent an overly restrictive diet and boost gut health

Why you should see a dietitian to follow the low FODMAP diet?

The low FODMAP diet is a complex and restrictive diet, which can be difficult to follow if you do not receive good quality advice about how to follow the different stages of the diet. It is also less likely to be effective in improving gut symptoms if it is not followed properly.
A recent evaluation has shown that 76% of patients that had seen a FODMAP- trained dietitian reported an improvement in their symptoms after being on the diet.
A low FODMAP-trained dietitian will be able to educate, support and monitor you throughout the process. They will ensure you are following the low FODMAP diet correctly, individualise the diet to complement your usual dietary intake and make sure your diet is well balanced.
The low FODMAP diet is not designed to be followed for life, therefore the reintroduction stage must be completed under the supervision of a dietitian to prevent long term changes to gut bacteria.
It is strongly recommended that you see a dietitian to follow the low FODMAP diet and not try to follow the diet yourself using information from unreliable resources from the internet.
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