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What is the low-FODMAP Diet?

and why you should see a Dietitian if you have IBS


We talk a lot about low-FODMAP foods and meals here at Starmer Nutrition, but we have never really dived into what it is. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are groups of sugars that are not absorbed fully by the intestines. Since they are not easily absorbed, they move very slowly through the intestines and attract a lot of water along the way. When they move through the small intestine and make it to the large intestine, they become fermented and cause gas. If you have diagnosed IBS, that means that this extra gas and water can cause you to bloat and have irritation due to the intestines expanding.

The low-FODMAP diet can be extremely helpful for patients who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, known as IBS. The majority of people eat foods high in FODMAP and do not notice a difference, but in patients that have IBS, it can amplify their bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and discomfort.

The low-FODMAP diet was created by researchers at Monash University and has been proven to help three out of four patients who are diagnosed with IBS. You should be diagnosed by a medical doctor with IBS before trying this diet. Once you have been diagnosed with IBS, you should work with a registered dietitian to properly follow the low-FODMAP diet.

The low-FODMAP diet has three steps:

1: Elinination

2: Reintroduction

3: Personalization.

Step 1 is a two to six-week period where you eat low-FODMAP foods to get your body used to this new diet. Step 2 is reintroducing certain foods back into your diet and seeing what FODMAP foods trigger symptoms. The rest of your diet consists of low-FODMAP foods while adding certain categories at separate times. This phase can take six to eight weeks to complete. The final step is to establish a long-term diet that is catered to your personal needs. Once assessing your food triggers, a dietitian can make a long-term plan and can pinpoint foods that trigger an unwanted response. It is important to continue regularly seeing a dietitian becuase FODMAP tolerance can change at any given time.


3 reasons to have a registered dietitian if you have IBS and want to start the low-FODMAP diet:

  1. To create a low-FODMAP diet that is personalized to your need: During every step of the process, your needs will be different than other people's. Having a dietitian will help guide you during this process and help you learn what works best for your body

  2. To help you work through problems along the way: Problems will come up through this process, a dietitian will help make changes when problems arise.

  3. To make sure you are maintaining a well-balanced diet and following your diet correctly: Applying a new diet to your lifestyle can be challenging to balance. A dietitian will help you maintain a well balanced diet while learning what works best for your body.

If you have IBS, do not let this diet scare you. Let this be a resource that can help you in the long run. If you have IBS and want to make this change in your life, click this link to make a free discovery call with our dietitian. Danielle Starmer RD is the only practitioner in the state of Alabama to complete the specialty training on FODMAP through Monash University. She is an expert low-FODMAP educator and has helped hundreds of people find food freedom using the low-FODMAP diet.



Written by dietitian student Emma Wilson and approved by Danielle Starmer RD.

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