Access Allied Health

Food Intolerances and FODMAPs

Access Allied Health - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the low FODMAP diet

Irritable bowel Syndrome or IBS isn't really a dinner table topic of conversation but it affects around one in five people at some time.  IBS is a long term condition that has a long list of symptoms including abdominal pain and distention, bloating, excess wind, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation or a combination of both) and other gastrointestinal symptoms.  The cause is unknown but there are some known triggers such as change in routine, emotional stress, infection and diet. Unfortunately IBS cannot be cured with medication.  The good news is that research by Dr Sue Shepherd from Monash University in Melbourne has proven that there is a very effective dietary therapy for IBS.  It's the low FODMAP diet.

 food map

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat.  FODMAP is an acronym (abbreviation) of certain molecule collections found in food that are poorly absorbed by some people.  These molecules shoot through to the large intestine (rather than being absorbed by the body) and become a food source for the bacteria that live there naturally.  The symptoms experienced by those with IBS are the outcome of the complex molecules (FODMAPs) being digested or fermented by the bacteria.

 

The low FODMAP diet has two phases.  The first phase involves eliminating high FODMAP foods for a period of 6 - 8 weeks.  The second phase involves gradually testing these high FODMAP foods to see which ones can be reintroduced and are suitable for each individual.   Obviously each low FODMAP diet is going to look different for each individual.  Tim Black our principal dietitian has completed two training courses at Monash University in Melbourne on the low FODMAP diet and has excellent success helping his clients find relief from the symptoms of IBS.   






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