Irritable Bowel Syndrome (commonly called IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders today, affecting about 15% of the general population with the majority being women. IBS is a chronic condition and there may be times when the signs and symptoms fluctuate in severity. These symptoms can include bloating, distention, stomach cramping, gas, and changes in your bowel habits.
Since IBS is considered a chronic condition, there isn’t a cure for the disorder. However it can be treated and managed through nutritional counseling. At HGI, we utilize the Low FODMAP Diet to treat and manage IBS symptoms with great success!
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Essentially FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found naturally and artificially in food. These can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and act as a food source for the bacteria that live in the large intestine. When this bacteria digests (ferments) these FODMAPs, it can induce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
What is the Low FODMAP Diet?
The Low FODMAP Diet is a “learning diet” consisting of restricting foods high in FODMAPs from your diet for a period of 2-8 weeks, depending on the severity of your IBS symptoms. This period of food elimination should be monitored closely by a registered dietitian.
After this closely monitored period, you can slowly reintroduce high FODMAP foods (with the help of a dietitian) into your diet in moderation to identify your unique trigger foods. For example, you may find that eating half of an apple works better with your digestive system than eating the entire apple. The end goal of the diet is not to completely avoid high FODMAP foods for your lifetime, but to learn which ones work with better with your system and which ones to avoid if they trigger your IBS symptoms.
Which foods are high in FODMAPs?
- Dairy products, such as cottage and ricotta cheese, milk and milk powder, yogurt, and ice cream.
- Fruits, such as apples, mangos, pears, watermelon, figs, and concentrated fruit juices.
- Vegetables, such as artichokes, garlic, onions, broccoli, and asparagus.
- Legumes, such as baked beans, soy, chickpeas, and lentils.
- Sweeteners, such as honey, agave nectar, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar alcohols (e.g. Xylitol, Sorbitols, Fructol, etc.).
- Grains, such as wheat, rye, couscous, pasta, breads, cookies, and pizza crust.
- Miscellaneous foods, such as cashews, pistachios, chicory, and Inulin.
What can I eat during the Low FODMAP Diet?
Don’t feel like your life is over and that there is absolutely nothing left to eat when following the Low FODMAP Diet! There are plenty of option available during the elimination and discovery phase of the diet. These include:
- Fruits, such as bananas, blueberries, grapes, and oranges.
- Vegetables, such as spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and zucchini.
- Grains, such as oats, gluten-free bread, rice, quinoa, and polenta.
- Dairy, such as hard cheeses (e.g. parmesan and romano), brie cheese, and lactose-free milk.
- Sweeteners, such as sugar, artificial sweeteners (e.g. stevia and saccharin), and maple syrup.
How can I get started with a Low FODMAP Diet?
Here at Zazen Medical, our team can help assist you with controlling your symptoms of IBS through the Low FODMAP Diet. Our highly-trained team offers expert nutritional advice and professional monitoring to ensure successful treatment of your IBS. Along with assisting through nutrition and diet, we can also assist with further testing to better understand and control your IBS symptoms. Please give us a call at 281-869-3009 or request an appointment online to schedule an appointment with our gastro team.