Low Fodmap Diet for Gut Health

gut health dietitian

Research indicates a number of benefits to low-FODMAP eating in individuals with IBS, including improved digestive symptoms and improved quality of life. Although guts can benefit from low FODMAP diets in certain ways, many higher FODMAP foods actually contribute to good gut health, as they are prebiotics. The Low FODMAP Diet has been shown not only to help many individuals with IBS, but can be beneficial for other intestinal conditions, like coeliac disease, Crohn’s, and Colitis. Following the Low FODMAP Diet also decreases the diversity of plant foods that we eat, simply because many fruits and vegetables may contain FODMAP which can trigger symptoms of IBS.

FODMAPs do not cause IBS, but restricting intake may offer symptom management opportunities for some patients. It is also important to consult with your IBS dietitian and keep in mind that, unlike individuals with most food allergies, who need to completely avoid specific allergens, individuals with IBS may be able to tolerate small amounts of FODMAPs. Some foods containing FODMAPs are safe to consume up to a certain quantity, but it is important to know the stacking of FODMAPs.

Manufacturers can add FODMAPs to foods for a variety of reasons, including serving as a prebiotic, fat substitute, or lower-calorie sugar replacement. Most plant foods contain some degree of FODMAPs, so it is impossible to completely eliminate them unless you follow a strict meat-free diet, which is discouraged. People following such a diet often believe that they need to go without all FODMAPs for an extended period, but that phase only needs to be lasting for 4-6 weeks. Then, every three days, you can introduce one higher-FODMAP food back into the diet, one at a time, to see if that causes symptoms.

IBS DietitianMost patients can at least tolerate some, if not many, high FODMAP foods in the long run without problems. The low FODMAP diet has shown promise in relieving symptoms for patients with IBS in Australia and Britain, but because diets and food sources are different in those regions, research will need to take place in North America to prove if a low FODMAP diet would work effectively for patients with IBS here. The results from studies conducted with The Low FODMAP Diet show its promise as a possible method for managing symptoms of IBS, especially in patients who suffer from diarrhea-predominant IBS. The low FODMAP diet has also been found to decrease inflammation, measured as histamines in the intestine, which can decrease neurologic symptoms, such as brain fog, that can be associated with IBS.

Because diet does not necessarily help you discover the underlying cause of IBS, an IBS dietitian may help with tests to check for bacterial or fungal overgrowth, which can be the cause of IBS, and may work with you to address other causes of your health problems. Once a doctor has checked you out for other conditions, like coeliac disease, the low-FODMAP diet may help reset your gut, alleviating symptoms while working on the underlying causes of your intestinal issues, ideally with a healthcare provider. Instead, visit your GP or a gut health dietitian, who will evaluate your gut symptoms, do any tests necessary to rule out other conditions, and provide you with a definitive diagnosis of IBS, before starting a low-FODMAP diet. Unless you are already diagnosed with IBS, this diet can cause more harm than good.

There is increasing evidence that nutritional interventions using low-fodmap diets can improve functional gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with IBS, especially via interactions with gut microbiota. It has been speculated that a subset of patients with IBS might have intolerances of food triggers, such as gluten and high-FODMAP foods, that could change gut microbiota and the metabolomes of patients with IBS, leading to deterioration in their symptoms.

People with intestinal disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), have been found to have altered microbiome compositions when compared with normal, healthy individuals.

Depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions may affect gut bacterial responsiveness and trigger relapses in digestive problems. For some people with sensitive guts, the by-products of fermentation produce chronic symptoms of gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and distension. While fermenting prebiotic fibers is very healthy, one side effect is it produces gases, which may cause gas and stomach pain. While this fermentation is a natural, healthy process, intestinal bacteria may create excess amounts of gas when they encounter hard-to-digest fodmap, leading to all of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

For those suffering from IBS, eating certain FODMAPs may cause symptoms like altered bowel movements (constipation, diarrhea, or a combination), excessive gas and bloating, flatulence, reflux, and stomach pain. A low-fodmap diet is designed to help those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) gain better control of their symptoms by restricting some foods.

At the same time, diets that are low in these fermentable carbohydrates, low-FODMAP diets (short for fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols), are growing in popularity as treatment options to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Inspired by observed symptom reductions in patients with IBS, low-fermentable carbohydrate diets have emerged as an adjunctive strategy in multiple gut diseases. Furthermore, several studies have also indicated that low-FODMAP diets resulted in the opposite compositional effects in patients with gut disorders, that is, reductions of health-associated bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium, and alterations that are similar to those noted in dysbiosis systems. High-FODMAP foods, such as beans, wheat, lentils, and fibrous vegetables, are among the healthiest foods on the planet, and diets high in FODMAP foods, such as beans, have been linked to lower rates of heart disease, some types of cancer, and type-2 diabetes.