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Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, can have a huge detrimental impact on your life. From worrying about where the nearest toilet is to the pain of constipation and bloating, IBS can make it difficult to function in both your personal life and career. One treatment that can help to reduce symptoms for some people is a low-FODMAP diet.
What Is the Low-FODMAP Diet?
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo, di, mono-saccharides and polyols. These particular types of carbohydrates are found in a huge range of foods, including many traditionally thought of as healthy.
People with IBS often have severe reactions to one or more of the various types of FODMAPs. By following a low-FODMAP diet and then gradually reintroducing each group, you can work out which foods are causing your symptoms and avoid them.
Which Foods Contain FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are found most commonly in the following foods:
Oligosaccharides: Onions, garlic, wheat, and legumes (beans and lentils).
Disaccharides: Dairy products such as milk, soft cheese, and yoghurt.
Monosaccharides: Fruits that are high in fructose, such as mango or fig, as well as fruit juice and honey.
Polyols: Sweeteners such as sorbitol and xylitol, which are used in many sugar-free foods.
How to Follow a Low-FODMAP Diet
Although you can attempt a low-FODMAP diet on your own, it is often best to do it under the supervision of a medical professional. Nearly all foods contain some amount of FODMAPs, and online guidelines are inconsistent about which foods are allowed during each stage of the diet. A dietician can work with you to design a diet that is low in FODMAPs while providing enough calories and nutrients.
The basic principle of following a low-FODMAP diet is to completely avoid high-FODMAP foods until your IBS symptoms subside. The next step is to reintroduce FODMAPs one group at a time to find out which ones trigger your symptoms.
Results of the Low-FODMAP Diet
Many people following a low-FODMAP diet find at least partial relief from their IBS symptoms. Many of these people gain long-term benefits from avoiding the particular types of FODMAPs that trigger their symptoms.
However, the low-FODMAP diet does not work for everyone. For a lot of people, it is only part of the IBS treatment they need to overcome their condition. Many people react badly to foods allowed on the low-FODMAP diet, such as eggs, greasy food, or coffee.
The best way to gain relief from your IBS symptoms is to seek medical help. A doctor can check that your IBS is not caused by a more serious underlying condition and then help you to find a diet that works for you. Contact a doctor to learn more about your options for irritable bowel syndrome treatment.