Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects up to one in five Americans and is also common in Australia, Europe and many Asian countries. It is a condition that is characterised by gut symptoms including abdominal pain, wind, bloating and changed bowel habit (ranging from diarrhoea to constipation). Symptoms can often be debilitating and lead to a reduced quality of life.
A new dietary management approach – the Low FODMAP diet – is being used to control symptoms associated with IBS. The low FODMAP diet is becoming increasingly accepted worldwide as the primary management strategy for IBS as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.
FODMAPs (stands for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Disaccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) which can be found found in a wide range of foods which may be poorly absorbed in the small intestine. Mal-absorbed carbohydrates are fermented by gut bacteria to produce gas. Current research strongly suggests that this group of carbohydrates contributes to IBS symptoms.
Dr. Sue Shepherd developed the low FODMAP diet in 1999. She has proven, through her pioneering PhD research, that limiting dietary FODMAPs is an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS.
Another valuable resource is the work by the Australian Monash University research team who have developed a very useful smartphone application that includes acceptable and forbidden foods for a low FODMAP diet plus recommended quantities, a shopping list, recipes and other relevant information. This diet has been successfully adopted in the UK by the King’s College London University, as well as in Belgium (University of Leuven) and Italy (University of Bologna).
In this blog you can find healthy low FODMAP recipes here.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Contemporary Nutrition Management Strategies. Gerard E. Mullin, Sue J. Shepherd, Bani Chander Roland, Carol Ireton-Jones and Laura E. Matarese. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2014 38: 781.
A Diet Low in FODMAPs Reduces Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Emma P. Halmos, Victoria A. Power, Susan J. Shepherd, Peter R. Gibson, Jane G. Muir. Gastroenterology 2014;146:67.
Dietary triggers for IBS symptoms – the low FODMAP diet approach. Biesiekierski J, Yao, C. Digestive Health Matters. 2011; V20N2: 9-14.