The low FODMAP diet is a therapeutic diet for gastrointestinal symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a medically diagnosed condition. Like all diets, a low FODMAP diet should be instituted under the guidance of an experienced health professional to avoid risks to nutritional intake and/or long-term health.
Here are our top 5 reasons for seeing a specialist dietitian!
5. Refer on to other medical/ health professionals when necessary!
If you haven't seen a GP or gastroenterologist about your symptoms, a dietitian can refer you to a medical practitioner for the necessary investigations. IBS-like symptoms can also occur in other more serious gut conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease. These conditions need to be excluded before a diagnosis of IBS is made.
IBS symptoms can also be triggered by multiple factors, including emotional health, physiological factors and most importantly, diet. A dietitian can ensure that the appropriate multi-disciplinary team is involved in your IBS care.
4. Assess for other dietary triggers
Even if FODMAPs are not a major part of your diet, other dietary factors including capsaicin, caffeine and excess fat can worsen symptoms. A dietitian will be able to determine if other dietary factors trigger your symptoms!
3. Match the flexibility of the diet to your needs!
Believe it or not, your diet doesn't have to consist of bland, boring meals, devoid of all FODMAPs! A dietitian can match your level of FODMAP restriction to your symptom severity. For example, if you have 'mild' symptoms, you may not have to follow a very strict low FODMAP diet. Likewise, if you are nutritionally compromised, or following other, medically-prescribed dietary therapies – your dietitian will be able to prioritise your nutritional needs and tailor the diet accordingly.
If you have had trouble sticking to diets in the past, a dietitian may also give advice on how to simplify the restrictions or provide strategies to 'cheat' on the diet whilst keeping your symptoms under control! More to come tomorrow! [Update: https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/top-5-reasons-why-you-should-see_22/ to see Part 2, the top 1 & 2 reasons]