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What is the FODMAP diet, and how can it help me?

FODMAP is an acronym which stands for Fermentable Oligo- Di- Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These are indigestible, or slowly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates that can cause symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea or constipation (or both), cramping, pain and excess flatulence. These symptoms can be due to disturbances in gut movement after eating foods that contain high FODMAPs, or heightened gut sensitivity. A doctor will test to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and rule out any other medical conditions.


Diagnosis of IBS can then lead to undertaking the FODMAP diet, which contains three phases. Our dietitians have exceptional skills in supporting patients through the low FODMAP diet, which starts at Phase 1, eliminating high FODMAP foods and reducing symptoms, and then moving on to Phase 2, which includes slowly reintroducing FODMAP foods to find the source of gut symptoms, and then Phase 3, creating a healthy balanced diet for each individual that lowers the risk of symptoms.


During the FODMAP diet, or before, it is important to note any “trigger” foods or meals, and including the symptoms experienced with those times. For example, noting down that eating pizza while out at a restaurant led to experiencing bloating, flatulence and cramping. This can assist our dietitians in identifying the FODMAPs that may be triggering the symptoms, such as garlic or onion.


It is important to speak to your dietitian or doctor about your specific symptoms. Phase 1, removing all high FODMAP foods, is a great way to reduce symptoms and relieve IBS, but this can significantly restrict the diet which can potentially lead to further illness and nutritional deficiencies. Commencing Phase 2 and trialling FODMAP foods back in the diet can sometimes feel a bit scary, but it is very important to ensure the best overall health and wellbeing moving forward.


At Nutrition Solutions Victoria, we are here to help with all signs and symptoms of IBS, finding strategies, solutions and recipe ideas that are unique to each patient we see. One size does not fit all when it comes to IBS diagnosis and treatment, so we are here to ensure every patient receives the best nutrition support specific to their needs.