If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D), finding a diet that is right for you and your gut can be difficult. In this blog, we’ll talk about how to adopt a low-FODMAP diet. We’ve done the research, so you can get off to a good start.
What is a low FODMAP diet?
A low FODMAP diet helps to reduce food from your diet that is often hard to digest and can trigger a flare. Low FODMAP diets should be utilized as a temporary approach to determine which foods work, and which aren’t compatible with your gut. The Low Fodmap diet also allows your gut to recover and return to a more balanced condition while also providing relief from those unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, bloating and gas. FODMAP is an acronym that helps describe foods that are hardest to digest. The acronym stands for,
Fermentable (Process through which gut bacteria ferment undigested carbohydrates to produce gas)
Oligosaccharides (Fructans & GOS- found in foods such as wheat, rye, onions, garlic and legumes/pulses)
Disaccharides (lactose- found in dairy products like milk, soft cheeses and yogurt)
Monosaccharides (fructose- found in honey, apples, high fructose corn syrups, etc.)
Polyols (Sorbitol and Mannitol- found in some fruit and vegetables and used as artificial sweeteners
These five foods are short-chain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. They reach the farthest part of your intestine, where the majority of your gut bacteria live, rather than being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Your gut bacteria then utilize these carbohydrates as fuel, generating hydrogen gas and triggering digestive discomfort in those who are susceptible. FODMAPs can also cause diarrhea by drawing fluids into your colon.
How to know what foods are on the FODMAP list or not?
Finding out what foods you can and cannot eat while on a Low FODMAP diet can be tricky. You can ask Google but sometimes these lists are inaccurate. To get to a very accurate list, go to the Monash University FODMAP diet app. Monash is the leading researcher of Low FODMAP diets so anything new is automatically updated on the app. This app takes the stress out of finding foods that work for you. If you find a low FODMAP recipe online, it is smart to cross reference the Monash App to make sure the ingredients in the recipe are FODMAP friendly. When you download the Monash App, you are required to pay a one-time fee of $8.00 (at the time of writing this blog). There is no subscription plan to use the Monash App.
What are the three phases of a low FODMAP diet?
Phase 1) FODMAP Elimination (Usually 2-6 weeks) – This phase is when you start to identify HIGH FODMAPS that are causing you IBS-D distress and start to eliminate them or replace them with Low FODMAP foods.
For example- replacing a high FODMAP Apple for a Low FODMAP orange.
Phase 2) FODMAP Reintroduction (Usually 6-8 weeks) – The reintroduction phase is used to determine what High FODMAP foods may be triggering your symptoms. This should be done gradually. If a high fodmap snack causes no issues than you can start to incorporate that back into your diet but if it does cause symptoms than it should be removed from your diet permanently.
Always consult with your dietitian or HCP if you need help or have any worries about reintroducing high FODMAP foods.
Phase 3) FODMAP Integration (Lifelong) – phase 3 is when you establish your long-term FODMAP diet. It is recommended to work with a dietitian on creating a diet plan that works for you and your gut.
What if symptoms persist after adopting the Low FODMAP diet?
If you continue to experience symptoms while following the Low FODMAP diet plan, consult your doctor about additional options.
While trying a low FODMAP diet, you can also try enterade IBS-D. This non-prescription, low FODMAP drink works naturally with your body to help manage IBS-D symptoms:
enterade IBS-D is a non-prescription medical food that can be used to complement your existing IBS-D regimen. enterade IBS-D contains a precise combination of amino acids that helps maintain normal digestive function and balance. It also helps replenish electrolytes and minerals that are lost due to frequent diarrhea.
We hope that these tips on a Low FODMAP diet help you find a diet that is right for you and your gut.