Your Low FODMAP Diet Guide – Everything You Need to Know
You have probably stumbled across the Low Fodmap Diet in your quest for digestive relief.
Some incredible research has emerged over the years and there is a lot of information out there! We know it can be a very powerful tool for many people with IBS and IBD, reducing symptom severity and improving overall quality of life.
Sounds amazing, right?!
The problem is that the Internet has become a little overzealous on the topic. With all of this valid research there has also come a wealth of misinformation from well-intentioned but unqualified individuals.
Today we will discuss the real research behind the Low FODMAP Diet, its benefits and its limitations. We will help you determine whether it is right for you and what steps you can take to start feeling like yourself again.
What are FODMAPs?
Before we discuss the Low FODMAP Diet, let’s get clear on the science behind it.
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for:
These are some big words, I know! Let me dissect them a little further.
Oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols are sugars and sugar alcohols. These represent the components of many foods that are difficult for some of us to digest, including galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), lactose, fructose, glucose, fructans, mannitol and sorbitol.
Fermentable refers to how these foods actually cause our uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
Essentially, these specific sugars are an ideal source of food for the bacteria in our large intestine.
This can cause symptoms in a few different ways. First, FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. When we consume foods with a lot of FODMAPs, our gut struggles to digest them and draws in extra water to help keep things moving. As you can imagine, this can cause a change in consistency to our stool (think diarrhea and abdominal pain).
Secondly, these poorly digested sugars find their way into our large intestine where they don’t belong! This is where these fermentable sugars become food for bacteria, causing gas and even more uncomfortable gut symptoms.
What does all of this mean for you?
Scientists at Monash University in Australia have used this information to develop an evidence-based diet specifically for the management of digestive symptoms – including diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and abdominal pain.
Enter: the Low FODMAP Diet.
It is designed to help those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Research indicates that properly following a Low FODMAP Diet with the help of a Registered Dietitian can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
How can you follow a Low FODMAP Diet?
Listen, the low FODMAP diet is awesome.
It is one of the pillars of our online program. BUT it can be tricky to implement!
The science is complicated and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different people can tolerate different FODMAPS, and in different amounts. And each and every one of you will have unique symptoms and lives to consider when finding a solution that works!
The great news is that we have seen amazing success with our clients over the years. The key has been true personalization while still following an evidence-based protocol.
Here’s what we do.
Phase 1: Elimination
The first phase of a Low FODMAP Diet is the temporary elimination of all high FODMAP foods. In the Clairity Digestive Program, the goal is to get you to 100% symptom relief (or as close as possible). We know you’re struggling with uncomfortable symptoms, and our first priority is to get you feeling comfortable.
Phase 2: Challenge
Now that your symptoms have subsided, you will begin a Challenge phase. Here, you will strategically test different FODMAP groups, one-by-one, while tracking symptoms. You will learn which FODMAPs are safe for you and which to avoid (and in what amounts).
Phase 3: Reintroduction
Here, you will build upon what you learned from Phase 2 and continue reintroducing different foods to your diet. But this time… you’ll keep them there. You will still avoid FODMAPs that caused you discomfort in the previous phase, while increasing the amount and variety of those that left you symptom-free.
The Low FODMAP Diet is amazing… and complicated!
The research on FODMAPs has been a real breakthrough in IBS and IBD symptom management and we are so happy it helps people feel normal again.
Well, the research is ever-changing! We learn more and more about the FODMAP content of different foods every day, so lists of “safe” and “unsafe” foods become out-of-date quickly.
The diet is also not meant to be permanent. I repeat: The diet is not meant to be permanent! The Low FODMAP Diet is truly designed as a temporary tool to help identify each individual’s unique triggers and tolerances. Long-term adoption risks serious issues with your health, your gut microbiome and your relationship with food.
Even more importantly, food is just ONE piece of the puzzle! Eating behaviours, stress, exercise, and so much else play a huge role in how we digest different foods and how (and even when) our symptoms manifest.
What does this mean for YOU?
Well, know that you CAN feel better.
I know that navigating your digestive symptoms is frustrating.
I had my own years-long battle with IBS before founding Clairity. And let me tell you, I had my fair share at failed attempts too. Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian… You name it, I tried it!
But with some patience and persistence, I’ve experienced relief and so have many of my clients.
Our program will walk you through every stage of the Low FODMAP Diet to make sure you’re successful. You’ll have access to individualized coaching from our team of Registered Dietitians. And even more, we address every aspect of your digestive health—dietary, psychological and behavioural—to keep symptoms away for LIFE!
The main takeaway here is to seek help from knowledgeable and credible healthcare professionals. Following a Low FODMAP Diet without proper knowledge can make things worse long-term.
If you’re ready to take this on, feel free to get in touch. I would love to help you feel comfortable and confident again.
Wishing you well, always,
Stephanie Clairmont, MHSc, RD
Founder, Lead Coach
Clairity Digestive Program