Eliminate, observe, restore and observe some more.
FODMAP elimination diet 101
The FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Monosaccharides And Polyols) elimination diet is a short-term diet that requires the complete removal of FODMAP-rich foods for at least two weeks, then slowly reintroducing them to your diet again, one food group at a time.
This method of temporary removal and slow reintroduction of FODMAP-rich foods is designed to help you identify which FODMAP food group (fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols) may be causing your digestive discomfort, particularly if you suffer from gastrointestinal disorders.
Best for GI patients
You will often hear the FODMAP elimination diet during discussions about functional gastrointestinal conditions. Patients who have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), in particular, will often receive a recommendation to follow a FODMAP elimination diet, to experience relief from their symptoms.
A number of clinical trials found that IBS patients who went on a low-FODMAP diet experienced greater symptomatic relief, including abdominal pain and bloating. This growing number of medical studies support the claim that a low-FODMAP diet is beneficial to IBS patients.
Not a diet for everyone
Not everyone is sensitive to FODMAPs. But for those who are experiencing digestive discomfort such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and gas after ingesting FODMAP-rich foods – these are usually patients diagnosed with IBS – a FODMAP elimination diet may be the temporary solution that could help them manage their condition better.
Not a diet for life
Unlike a vegetarian diet that you can follow for the rest of your life, a FODMAP elimination diet is a short-term diet. The elimination of FODMAP-rich foods must only be done between two-six weeks, before you slowly reintroduce them again.
Some FODMAP groups, specifically fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides, have prebiotic effects and offer benefits to your gut health. A total removal of FODMAP-rich foods from your diet for life may cause negative effects to your gut health and pose risks to your nutrition.
Your FODMAP journey
After the period of complete elimination has passed, the reintroduction of FODMAP-rich foods will require your close observation to assess which FODMAPs group triggers your symptoms. Once you have identified them with your dietitian, you can work together in developing a low-FODMAP dietary plan to ensure you still receive adequate nutrition while reducing the frequency or severity of your symptoms.
Professional advice required
A FODMAP elimination diet has been proven to be beneficial for patients with GI disorders. It is not a weight-loss diet, or a health fad that you should follow voluntarily, without the advice of your dietitian. To do so would put yourself at a great risk of nutrient deficiency and lower immunity that may lead to even more serious health complications.