Following a FODMAP-friendly diet has resulted in a huge decrease of my IBS symptoms and I no longer get the stomach aches or the pain I used to. It’s also made me think about where our food comes from and what it does to our bodies, while encouraging me to learn how to cook simple, delicious, low-FODMAP food (very rarely did I used to bother venturing past my two-minute cheese on toast comfort zone).
So what is the Low FODMAP Diet?
The Low FODMAP Diet is the only scientifically proven diet recommended by the NHS and worldwide to relieve the symptoms of stomach issues ranging from IBS to Crohn’s disease and coeliac disease. IBS is now diagnosed as affecting 10-20% of the UK population; Crohn’s affects more than 300,000 people; coeliac disease 1 in every 100 and it’s expected that there are many more people who have suffered stomach issues for years without diagnosis.
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for:
Fermentable – meaning they are quickly broken down (fermented) by bacteria in the large bowel
Oligosaccharides – fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) (wheat, onion, garlic, beans)
Disaccharides – lactose (milk, ice cream)
Monosaccharides – fructose (apples, pears, honey)
Polyols – sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and mannitol (mushrooms, apricots, gum)
I know – it’s a lot to take in. But really the above words are just complex names for a collection of molecules (more specifically short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols), found in foods naturally and in food additives.
What does the diet do?
The principle of a Low FODMAP Diet for IBS is to restrict the foods high in FODMAPs causing chaos in the gut, before working out your own personal tolerance thresholds. This means it can be tailored to YOU specifically and as a result hopefully improve your gut symptoms associated with IBS.
What you have to remember is that it’s not about being incredibly restrictive long term. The ultimate goal is to eat and live as freely as possible with the least restrictions you can get away with – the more FODMAPs you can return to your diet without triggering symptoms, the healthier your gut is likely to be. Hurrah!
Behind the scenes we’re building on this space to house more resources on all things low FODMAP, but please find more information here, here and here.
Notes: Everybody is different and this a diet that worked for me.The information and advice on www.shecanteatwhat.com is not intended to replace the services of trained health professionals or be a substitute for medical advice. Speak to your doctor and/or dietician – I was advised to start with an elimination diet first under supervision of my dietician and then add certain foods back in to work out what foods, and what amount of certain foods, I could and couldn’t handle.