A strict Low FODMAP Diet is not a diet for life
Science-based evidence indicates that the Low FODMAP Diet can help manage the gastrointestinal symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The great news is: following a low FODMAP diet strictly isn’t a lifetime change to your diet. Unlike a gluten-free diet for people with coeliac disease, the Low FODMAP Diet is about monitoring your reaction to high FODMAP foods and finding a diet that suits your individual body.
Once you’re diagnosed with IBS, your dietitian will take you through a three-stage plan:
Stage 1 – Following the Low FODMAP Diet
You’ll follow a strict low FODMAP diet under the supervision of your dietitian, for approximately two to six weeks. People who experience an improvement in their symptoms in this strict phase (our research suggests that around three in every four people will) should move into the re-challenge phase.
Stage 2 – The re-challenge phase
During the re-challenge phase, your dietitian will systematically reintroduce higher FODMAP foods back into your diet. This helps to determine your individual tolerance to each of the FODMAP subgroups. You’ll work out the type and quantity of foods that you re-challenge with your dietitian.
Stage 3 – The adapted diet
After reintroducing certain foods back into your diet, you’ll monitor their effect on your bowel symptoms and how the foods make you feel. Your dietitian will then interpret your results and you’ll have a better idea about which foods are a particular trigger for your symptoms.
Although individual FODMAP tolerance varies, most people find that they don’t have to be so strict about their FODMAP intake as they were during the initial stage. This means you’ll eventually have dietary flexibility again – while maintaining reasonable symptom control.
Ultimately, the goal of the Low FODMAP Diet is to achieve a balance between the restriction of some high FODMAP foods and the reintroduction of other FODMAP-rich foods that are better tolerated. In many cases, people are able to reintroduce many high FODMAP foods back into their diet, but may not be able to eat them as often, or in the same quantity as they did before.