The Low-FODMAP Diet

Following a low FODMAP diet is tricky, but well worth doing if it helps relieve nasty symptoms of IBS. The most important thing to remember is that eliminating all high FODMAP foods for a long period of time is very difficult to do and cause deficiencies in important nutrients, so it’s recommended that you try and reintroduce some foods back into your diet and testing your reaction.

Elimination Phase

During the elimination phase, you should follow the low FODMAP diet strictly and eliminate all foods on the high-FODMAP list for around 6 weeks. You should keep a daily diary and record any symptoms that occur during this period, along with the foods you ate.

You should start to feel the positive effects of removing FODMAPs from your diet, with a significant reduction in IBS symptoms, from anywhere between 1 and 6 weeks.

If, after 6 weeks of eliminating FODMAPs, you haven’t seen any improvements in your symptoms you should seek advice from your GP or nutritionist to find out whether there may be other causes of your symptoms.

Reintroduction Phase

The reintroduction phase should start after the elimination phase has been completed and you are mostly free of symptoms. The aim of this phase is to systematically reintroduce each FODMAP into your diet to determine your level of toleration for each.

The elimination phase lasts 5 weeks and each week a different FODMAP type is consumed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with breaks in-between. Symptoms should be closely monitored and recorded in a diary. You can find a detailed 5 week re-introduction plan to print out here. (*this link appears to be broken now, but I’ve left it here in case it gets fixed)

Here’s a video and blog post explaining the reintroduction phase in detail.

If you experience symptoms after one of the challenge days, you should wait until you are feeling better before you start the next one. It is important to continue to avoid all other FODMAPs for the duration of the five week reintroduction phase, so you can be sure the one you are testing is definitely the one giving you problems.

Trial Diet Phase

After the five weeks of testing each FODMAP type, you should now know which foods you can safely eat without much of a reaction. During the trial diet phase you should continue to follow the low FODMAP diet, but with the addition of these well-tolerated foods.

You should continue to monitor your symptoms and if any issue arise again, you eliminate the responsible FODMAP groups again until you feel better. You can then reintroduce them again, but in smaller quanities, and continue the process.

Maintenance Phase

You can now develop a long-term eating plan in order to make sure you are avoiding the FODMAPs that cause you problems, whilst still eating a varied and nutritious diet. If your symptoms remain steady, you can consider testing your tolerance of some high-FODMAP foods at higher doses or frequencies of consumption.

For more info please read this guide:
http://ethicalnutrients.com.au/sites/default/files/fodmaps-tech-data.pdf

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