Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects one in five people in the UK and women are most likely to suffer from it. But it seems there may be light at the end of the tunnel by way of the low FODMAP diet
Those of us who suffer from IBS know what a nightmare it can be. It’s a chronic, recurring and often life-long condition and symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating and a change of bowel habit, such as constipation or diarrhoea.However, there could be solution. Research into the efficacy of the low FODMAP diet showed that up to 86 per cent of people who follow a low FODMAP diet notice a significant improvement in IBS symptoms.
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Thank goodness for the catchy acronym. More simply put, FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates found in a whole host of foods, including onions, garlic, mushrooms, apples, watermelon, lentils, rye, milk and other diary products. These sugars are poorly digested, leading to painful and unpleasant digestive problems.
The diet, developed by researchers at King’s College London, involves working with a dietician to eliminate high FODMAP foods from your diet for six to eight weeks and replacing the foods with suitable alternatives. Small amounts of FODMAP foods are then slowly phased in to help find a tolerance balance without triggering IBS symptoms.
The FODMAP diet isn’t intended as a long-term diet because many high FODMAP foods are necessary for a healthy diet. Discuss your options with your GP if you think this diet could be beneficial to you.