IBS is probably more common than you think, with 15% of the world’s population affected by the condition. In recent years, the Low-FODMAP diet has proven to be a successful dietary intervention that relieves symptoms in up to 75% of patients.

However, in order to gain the most benefit from the diet, it is imperative to follow the recommended guidelines and take things slowly. By doing this, you are likely to reap the biggest rewards.

Why Should I Try A Restrictive Diet?

There is often a reluctance to experiment with a restrictive diet as it can be difficult to maintain. It is important to note that Low-FODMAP is not a permanent dietary plan. In fact, you should stop the diet after 4 weeks if you do not see a reduction in symptoms.

The success rate for the diet has been such that it is one of the most effective strategies for tackling IBS, therefore the short-term difficulties should be weighed against the long- term benefits. You may be able to accurately identify foods that trigger your IBS and eliminate them successfully from your diet.

Common symptoms of FODMAP intolerances include:

  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Belching
  • Diarrhoea

It’s possible these symptoms could be significantly reduced by trying the Low-FODMAP diet.

How It Works

The diet is implemented over a 3 step process.

  • Replace High-FODMAP food for Low-FODMAP food for 2-6 weeks
  • Reintroduce High-FODMAP foods over 8-12 weeks, one food at a time over 3 day periods
  • Permanently avoid foods that have been proven to trigger your IBS during the reintroduction phase

As the diet can involve a significant change in nutrients for some people, it is only recommended to proceed under the care of a qualified dietitian – they will be able to guide you and ensure that your body is still getting all the vitamins and minerals that it needs.

Your dietitian will also be able to regularly review your progress and help to identify and rectify any issues you may be having.

Other tips that will make adhering to the diet much easier include:

  • Keeping a diary that tracks your food intake and flags which High-FODMAP foods you are intolerant to
  • Writing a list of Low-FODMAP foods that you are allowed to eat
  • Checking the labels of the foods you are eating and seeing if there are any High-FODMAP ingredients in them
  • Using the Monash University app that makes choosing Low-FODMAP foods easy

Can Vegans Try The Diet?

It is more difficult for vegans to give the diet a go, as many of their protein sources naturally have High-FODMAP levels, but with a dietitian to guide you it is certainly possible!

Organisation is very important to ensure your diet includes important nutrients such as:

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B12
  • Omega 3 acids

Again, by following the tips in the section above it will make the process easier – the Monash University app, as well as your dietitian, will help you to identify suitable food sources that will adequately cover your dietary needs.