Low FODMAP Diet Explained

If you’ve found your way to this update, then you have at least heard of the Monash University Low FODMAP Diet. Everyone knows someone who’s on it, swears by it, recommended it to everyone they know, and downloaded the App!
So, what is the Low FODMAP Diet and who is it designed for? Let’s start at the very beginning, because as we all know it’s a very good place to start.

FODMAP stands for:

F = Fermentable
O = Oligosaccharides
D = Disaccharides
M = Monosaccharides
A = And
P = Polyols

FODMAP is an umbrella term for a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and rapidly fermented in the small and/or large intestines.

What are short-chain carbohydrates?

“Carbohydrates occur across a range of foods regularly consumed including grains such as wheat and rye, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Short-chain carbohydrates with chains up to 10 sugars vary in their digestibility and subsequent absorption.”

Short Chain Carbohydrates and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Susan J Shepherd BAppSci, MND, PhD, Miranda C E Lomer RD, PhD and Peter R Gibson MD, FRACP

In layman’s terms, these particular carbohydrates are very poorly absorbed by most people and have a tendency to ferment in the intestine causing symptoms such as excessive gas, bloating and diarrhoea associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and a number of other gastrointestinal conditions.

While it would be easy to cast FODMAP’s as villains, they are not so easily set aside. They are responsible for a number of beneficial reactions in the gut. The most important point to note is that FODMAP’s are Prebiotics.

Prebiotics are the non-digestible food ingredients that promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines.

So, what does this mean?.

What this means is that the Low FODMAP Diet is one that may be used for a time, but it is NOT a diet for life!

Who should go on the Low FODMAP Diet?

If you’re experiencing the symptoms associated with a functional gut disorder such as IBS, you should see your GP or an Accredited Practising Dietitian in the first instance.

Once you have been diagnosed, you can work with your Dietitian on an individualised Low FODMAP Diet. This diet should include an initial restriction of dietary FODMAP’s, followed by food re-challenging. Food re-challenging is an essential part of finding, establishing and sustaining a balance between symptom control and a liberalisation of your diet and should be done in consultation with your Dietitian.

Liberalising is the reintroduction of foods in a controlled way so that the effects of the reintroduction can be measured and any adjustments made to the Low FODMAP Diet by your Dietitian.

Liberalisation of your diet is important for:

  • Nutritional balance
  • Prebiotic effects
  • Food variety and enjoyment!​

Remember, the Low FODMAP Diet is NOT a diet for life and should only be undertaken with the supervision of your dietitian to ensure you receive the greatest benefit to your health and enjoyment of life.

Source: Dr. Rebecca Burgell, Dr. Peter Gibson, Dr. Jaci Barrett, Caroline Tuck, CK Yao

We can help

For more information on the Low FODMAP Diet and whether it is right for you, give us a call today.