Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it.
Over the years I've come up with quite a collection of FAQ to share with people about the low FODMAP diet.
So here in part 3 of my series 'Get rid of your bloating and other random digestive issues' I'll share some things that you really should know before you get started on the exclusion stage of the diet.
So by now we've established that gut bacteria may be the cause of your bloating or other random digestive symptoms. If you've not caught the first two blogs on this topic, check out here and here.
FODMAP foods are a group of carbohydrates that are the favourite food of the bacteria. If you've got an IBS, an imbalance in your gut bacteria, or an overgrowth of some kinds, then a low FODMAP diet may be the best treatment.
1. Can I start the low FODMAP diet right now?
Well, yes you can, but I'd strongly suggest taking a trip to your Doctor first.
You see other conditions can masquerade as IBS.
Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and coeliac disease are very similar and the
low FODMAP diet involves cutting out foods that contain gluten.
If coeliac disease is the cause for your tummy troubles then you need a whole
different diet plan, which includes a life-long avoidance of gluten. But, if you don’t
have coeliac disease then we can work on getting gluten containing foods back in to
your diet (if they are a problem right now). You can follow the low FODMAP diet if
you are already following a gluten free diet for treating your coeliac disease, but are
still experiencing tummy troubles.
Other conditions you should be screened for include inflammatory bowel disease, bowel cancer, diverticulitis and endometriosis (if you're a woman).
2. Can the whole family follow a low FODMAP eating plan?
Yes. This eating plan is safe for the whole family. This means that you can make one
main meal, and not a special meal for yourself. Try and keep everyone’s diet as
varied as possible.
3. I'm going on holiday. Can I still follow a low FODMAP plan?
Yes, you can. It’s best to have at least 2 weeks at home to get used to following the
low FODMAP eating plan first.
If you are going away within 2 weeks, maybe wait
until you get back home. It may be worth having a look on the internet to check out
food availability of, for example, gluten free foods or local produce that will be
naturally low FODMAP.
I have worked with people who have successfully followed the low FODMAP eating
plan whilst on holiday in India, South America, North America, Europe and Australia /
New Zealand. It can take a bit more planning, but can be very successfully followed.
And by reducing your symptoms you can enjoy your holiday all the more!
4. How can I eat out on a low FODMAP diet?
You can eat out on the low FODMAP eating plan. It just requires a bit more
preparation and planning.
Most restaurants are happy to discuss your needs. Just
give them a call a day or two before your visit. Tell them clearly what you can and
can’t have, and negotiate what they can cook for you.
5. How long do I have to do this?
4-6 weeks is ideal. This gives time to get used to the diet, finish making mistakes and start the gut healing.
But most people find within 24-48 hours they're feeling better. Sometimes it can take up to 2 weeks, but (luckily) most find they feel better quickly.
6. Help! I had a FODMAP food, and I feel yuk
You might feel worse during the first stage of the low FODMAP diet if you suddenly have some FODMAP foods.
If you have had lactose, you might find taking a lactase enzyme tablet (from
pharmacies) will help to reduce your reaction.
Take it slow and quiet until your
symptoms pass then get back on the low FODMAP eating plan again. Make a note of
the food and the reaction in your symptom diary.
Katrina Pace, Dietitian
Gut bugs fascinate me. Diet and gut bugs intrigue me. Cooking is essential. Add them all together and you get a fairly interesting opinion on life! In my humble opinion.