Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition affecting the colon or large bowel where people have recurring bowel sensitivity issues. Approximately one in five Australians experience the symptoms of IBS at some point and is more common in women, particularly around the time of menstruation. IBS is characterised by recurrent abdominal pain along with disturbances to defecation, stool frequency and/or consistency. Many people can control their symptoms through diet or additional adjunct therapies but it can be difficult to know where to start.
One of the most common dietary interventions for IBS is the low FODMAP diet which was developed through Monash University. It aims to improve the symptoms associated with IBS by eliminating, then slowly reintroducing FODMAP’s based on symptoms. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. These are short chain carbohydrates in the food we eat such as fruit, wheat, dairy and artificial sweeteners that are poorly absorbed and rapidly fermented producing gas, discomfort and bloating. It is important to know that these food components do not cause IBS, but reducing the frequency of some foods high in FODMAPS can help reduce symptoms.
A low FODMAP diet is not forever, it is usually recommended for 2-6 weeks at a time and regular assessment with a dietitian is strongly recommended. When following the low FODMAP diet it is essential to plan ahead and work with your health care team (GP and dietitian), as balancing good nutrition is still essential. Your dietitian will advise which foods you can gradually reintroduce into your specific diet as many may only need to be avoided in large quantities.
Many FODMAP containing foods are staple foods within our core food groups, so it is important to investigate what particular foods you are sensitive too to ensure you meet nutrient targets. When following the low FODMAP diet is can be difficult to know what to eat, for example how to flavour meals without garlic and onion. To find alternatives and make shopping and cooking easier, the ‘Monash University FODMAP diet’ app uses a traffic light system which can direct you on the type of food to use and appropriate amounts. Your dietitian will assist you in navigating the stages of the FODMAP diet and provide you with inspiration to make nutritious and tasty meals, for example at the bottom of this blog you can view some sample low FODMAP meals and snacks.
While the low FODMAP diet is commonly associated with treating IBS symptoms there are additional adjunct therapies which may be of use. These include pharmacology therapies, gut directed hypnotherapy, use of A2 milk protein, introduction of probiotics and manipulating fibre intake. While there has been some evidence to support these therapies, precise protocols have been unable to put into place due to inconsistencies which highlight the importance of working with a health professional to tailor advice to your needs.
Low FODMAP meals and snacks
BreakfastSpelt toast with 2 fried eggs, served on spinach
Low FODMAP muesli (homemade best)
Lactose free yoghurt with banana and strawberries
Tea or Coffee
Lunch and DinnerChicken rice paper rolls (spinach, capsicum, carrot filling)
Frittata (tomato, spinach, capsicum filling)
Grilled chicken/salmon/steak with steamed potato, green beans and carrots
Lamb shanks with mashed sweet potato, carrots and green beans
Beef stir fry with rice noodles, capsicum, carrot, bok choy, ginger, chilli and soy sauce
Spaghetti Bolognese with gluten free pasta
Snacks1 lactose free yoghurt with a small handful of blueberries and/or strawberries
Small handful of nuts (30g) Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and sesame seeds
1 banana OR 2 Kiwi fruits (green)
Coffee on lactose free milk
2 rice cakes with peanut butter
If you want to find out more about therapies for IBS or the low FODMAP diet, contact Coast Sport today by calling 02 4356 2588, or you can book online via the button below.