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What is the Low FODMAP Diet

What is the Low FODMAP Diet?

A Low FODMAP Diet is recommended as first-line nutrition or diet therapy for people with digestive sensitivities, including those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Although foods high in FODMAPs are not the cause of the problem, they can trigger gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. A Low FODMAP Diet therefore represents a great option for GI symptom reduction and ultimately better quality of life. Download this handout to learn at a glance about the Low FODMAP Diet .

The premise of a Low FODMAP Diet is to identify and eliminate specific food triggers for each individual, with a keen focus on specific short-chain carbohydrates found in foods and beverages, known as FODMAPs. This is not a passing fad or a trend, but it is a continually evolving nutrition intervention based on scientific findings and progressive research.

A Low FODMAP Diet works as follows:

  • Phase 1: Eliminate foods high in FODMAPs for a 2-6 week trial period.
  • Phase 2: Reintroduce FODMAPs one at a time in a stepwise process to distinguish individual FODMAP triggers and individual tolerance (with the guidance of a registered dietitian nutritionist or healthcare professional FODMAP knowledgeable registered dietitian nutritionist).
  • Phase 3: Personalize your diet with a customized, well-balanced diet designed to restrict your FODMAP triggers and address your personal dietary needs.

Is this Diet for Everyone?

A Low FODMAP Diet is not for everyone and should be used appropriately by the person with food intolerance or digestive sensitivities including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Medical direction for people of all ages is important as common symptoms of IBS can also be signs of other more serious medical issues that cannot be overlooked.


Who Should Not Follow this Diet?

Individuals dealing with gastrointestinal discomfort including gas, pain and altered bowel movements, should consult with a medical professional first. Although these symptoms are common to IBS, a doctor should either confirm an IBS diagnosis, or rule out other medical conditions (e.g. Celiac Disease, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and ovarian cancer, food allergy). The otherwise healthy individual should also not follow this plan because it may compromise nutritional value of meals eaten and could alter the balance of healthful bacteria in the gut.

Who Should Follow this Diet?

Individuals with digestive sensitivities, including those who suffer from IBS, may likely find relief on a Low FODMAP Diet. Often times, people self-diagnose and simply avoid all foods and food categories that give them discomfort, or even fear of discomfort. However, identifying their specific FODMAP triggers can give this person more food options and less anxiety. With the help of a skilled healthcare professional well-versed in the Low FODMAP Diet, this dietary approach can help them find relief and improved quality of life.

Following the Low FODMAP Diet

The most important thing to do before starting this diet is to find out if the diet is right for you. See “Is this Diet for Everyone?” This will ensure that:

The most important thing to do before starting this diet is to find out if the diet is right for you. See “Is this Diet for Everyone?” This will ensure that:

  1. A doctor is consulted to rule out any serious medical issues.
  2. You will take the proper steps to reach out to a FODMAP knowledgeable Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to help find your personal dietary triggers and follow a Low FODMAP Diet with care. From there, getting started will entail the following:
    1. Working with a credentialed FODMAP nutrition expert on a FODMAP elimination diet for a pre-set amount of time.
    2. Tracking your food intake and symptoms during the FODMAP elimination phase.
    3. Step-wise FODMAP re-introduction challenges.
    4. Tracking symptoms and reactions to the challenges.
    5. Identification of specific FODMAP triggers.
    6. Development of an individualized list of FODMAPs to avoid and a customized meal pattern to minimize their intake.
    7. Tracking symptoms and reactions to the meal plan.

In addition, other Resources within this site can help keep a Low FODMAP Diet on track, including tips on label reading, low FODMAP grocery shopping lists, menu ideas, journal trackers and recipe suggestions.

What Are FODMAPs?