All about the Low FODMAP Diet
The Low FODMAP Diet
Proven to help sufferers of IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects more than 20% of the population. It’s a debilitating condition which can range from mild/infrequent symptoms to constant pain and suffering which takes over your life. Typical symptoms include a change in bowel habits (constipation and/or diarrhoea), bloating, fatigue, stomach cramps and back pain.
What is the Low FODMAP Diet?
The Low FODMAP Diet has been scientifically proven to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms of IBS in over 75% of people who try it. It works by removing high FODMAP ingredients (such as onions, garlic, lentils & wheat), which are hard-to-digest, from your diet. (Learn more about What are FODMAPs?) The Low FODMAP Diet can be challenging, but totally worthwhile sticking to. Below we go into detail about the three phases of the diet and we’ve included some top tips along the way to help you succeed.
As with any diet, but particularly due to the large amount of foods you will be eliminating to start with on this one, we cannot express enough how much we recommend you to seek advice and guidance from a registered and FODMAP trained dietician. The diet can be difficult to follow, and whilst you are thinking of what meals you could make and scanning food labels for ingredients, you don’t want to be worrying about whether you are getting enough fibre or nutrients etc. Ask your dietitian to help you create a balanced diet and meal plans – it’ll be worth it!
How do Bay’s Kitchen help?
At Bay’s Kitchen we have spent a huge amount of time working with trained chefs and dieticians to create convenient, great tasting Low FODMAP foods. We send all our products for FODMAP Friendly Foods Certification, so you can be safe in knowing they are suitable to eat whilst on the elimination stage of the diet.
We have focussed a lot on the flavour of our fodmap friendly food sauces, to ensure that you don’t have to compromise on taste! So yes, we have award-winning fodmap curry sauces without onion and garlic!
The three stages of a Low FODMAP Diet
The Elimination phase is by far the hardest to conquer but at least it’s out of the way first. The elimination phase should last for around 6 weeks and this is where you remove ALL moderate and high FODMAP foods from your diet. Most people start to see a significant improvement in their symptoms after a week or two of being FODMAP Free! You should be in the Elimination stage for around 4-6 weeks depending on how good your symptoms are.
One of the hardest parts of this stage for me wasn’t the will power to resist high FODMAP foods (the need to get rid of these symptoms far outweighed the desire for any high FODMAP foods!), it was learning and remembering which foods were safe! For this, I found the Monash app really helpful and I still use it regularly.
Remember to check serving sizes – whilst some foods can be moderate or high in FODMAP’s, you might find there is a smaller serving size which is safe, meaning you don’t have to eliminate that food altogether. An example of this is Beetroot – on the Monash App, Beetroot is High in FODMAPs (Oligos in this case) at 40g, but Low in FODMAPs at 20g.
Don’t start the elimination phase at a time when it will clash with something that will make the diet super hard to follow – like Christmas or your summer holiday. Once you are through the first few weeks of the diet, it will become easier and eventually become second nature to you. However, if you start the diet two weeks before Christmas, you won’t have had time to build up your routine and your will power to resist high FODMAP foods.
This stage is all about testing your body, to see which FODMAPs it can tolerate and at what quantities. Most people are able to reintroduce a selection of foods back into their diet and will single out the particular triggers which they will continue to avoid.
It is vitally important you go through this stage, to ensure you can reintroduce as many foods as your body will allow – which will give you a much more balanced diet, as well as make the diet easier to follow (particularly when eating out as you will eventually have a much smaller list of foods to avoid) and so it will give you more variety too!
SO, HOW TO GO ABOUT THE REINTRODUCTION PHASE?
There is lots of advice and many ways to go about doing this, but I will explain my version and you can discuss this with your dietitian to see if they agree and can help you with this.
Some foods, I would be fine with and have no flare up at all, whilst others I might react very quickly to or within the three days of testing it. If so I would stop consuming the food and carry on with my diet as it had been. Then by the following Wednesday my symptoms would have cleared and I would start the next reintroduction test.
If you react badly to a food, make sure you try to reintroduce it again at a later date and try with a smaller serving size to start. Just because it didn’t go well the first time, doesn’t mean that’s it – remember other factors play a part in our symptoms too like stress or lack of sleep. So it might not have been all down to that one food.
For the first four reintroduction tests, I would choose a food which is high in just one of the four categories, so for example:
Honey – high in Fructose
Cow’s milk – high in Lactose
Garlic – high in Oligos
Sweet potato – high in Polyols
Whilst it’s not quite as clear cut as this, if my Lactose and Oligos tests were successful, I would continue the reintroduction with a selection of foods high in Lactose and Polyols to see if they would be as successful. After I had managed to reintroduce some foods, I would then turn to the groups which weren’t so successful – Fructose and Oligos in my case. I haven’t managed to reintroduce garlic or onion to my diet, however there are other foods moderate in Oligos which I have found to be ok, for example beetroot.
The same goes for Fructose – I still can’t tolerate apples, but I can tolerate some mango. Everybody is different, so you need to go through the reintroduction process to find your tolerance levels to foods.
Some people call this the Maintenance phase – but I think Maintenance sounds negative and hard work, so I like Continuation as you are continuing the success of the Low FODMAP Diet!
So, the continuation phase is just that – continue with the diet and include the foods you have successfully reintroduced. Now you know the foods you will be continuing to eat, your dietitian will be able to help you with meal plans and advise on any supplements to ensure you are getting a good balance of protein, fibre, fats, vitamins and minerals every day, to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Resources to help with an IBS Friendly, Low FODMAP Diet
To follow this diet through all stages there are a few things I have found helpful which I have included on further pages and blog posts;
- Top 5 resources for those suffering with IBS (in UK)
- FODMAP Help and Resources I have found useful
- An IBS & Low FODMAP Glossary which defines all those complex medical and technical words and acronyms
- What are the FODMAPs again?
- Check our FODMAP Friendly Certification
- There’s lots more useful information about IBS and the Low FODMAP Diet in our FAQs section.
Low Fodmap Diet hints and tips from Bay’s Blog
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FODMAP Diet FAQS
What is FODMAP?
FODMAP is an acronym (abbreviation) for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are scientific names for a group of sugars which are not easily absorbed in the gut, but can be easily broken down by bacteria in the large intestine.
How Do FODMAPs Cause Symptoms in People With IBS?
FODMAPs are a group of short chain sugars (carbohydrates) found in various foods. Most carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed in the small intestine, but FODMAPs aren’t well absorbed. This means they move through the gut undigested, attracting water as they go. Once they arrive in the large intestine, FODMAP sugars are consumed by the microbes that live there, which results in gas formation. The gas and water in the large intestine stretch the walls of the gut, and this can trigger pain and bloating in people with IBS.
What is a low FODMAP diet?
A low FODMAP diet is a type of diet which limits foods high in certain carbohydrates (sugars) known as FODMAPs, which can trigger symptoms like pain and bloating in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
You can find out more about FODMAPs and the Low FODMAP Diet on these pages:
When Should I Think About Trying a Low FODMAP Diet?
The low FODMAP diet isn’t the first thing to try when it comes to managing IBS. Simple lifestyle changes such as cutting down on caffeine and alcohol and reducing stress levels can be really effective first steps. Read more about these first steps here.
How Long Does a Low FODMAP Diet Last?
From start to finish (when you enter the personalisation phase) the diet lasts about three months. This is a big commitment, so it’s important to be aware of what’s involved, and to get dietitian support to ensure you have the best chance of achieving good symptom control.
CAN PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE DIGESTIVE ISSUES EAT BAY’S KITCHEN PRODUCTS?
Yes! Bay’s Kitchen products can be enjoyed by all the family. Even though they don’t contain hard-to-digest ingredients such as garlic and onion, they are suitable for everyone. However, it is not advisable to only eat Low FODMAP products unless you have been advised to do so by a medical professional, as the diet is very restrictive.
What does FODMAP stand for?
Fermentable describes the process by which bacteria breakdown sugars for energy.
Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols are names for groups of short chain sugars which are found in a variety of foods.
What are high FODMAP foods?
High FODMAP foods are foods which contain high levels of FODMAPs- a group of carbohydrates (sugars) which aren’t easily absorbed by the gut. FODMAPs are found in a wide range of foods, including wheat, garlic, onion, milk and some fruits and vegetables. There’s no way to ‘guess’ how many FODMAPs are in a food – instead foods are laboratory tested for FODMAP content by Monash University, and this information is made publically available. Some foods are ‘Low FODMAP’ at certain portion sizes and ‘High FODMAP’ in bigger serving sizes.
What are the 3 Stages of a Low FODMAP Diet?
There are three stages to the low FODMAP diet, and it’s important to follow each in turn.
Stage 1 is Elimination – in this stage all high FODMAP foods are reduced in the diet, and replaced with low FODMAP alternatives. This stage lasts for 2-6 weeks. If there has been an improvement in your symptoms, you then move to stage two.
Stage 2 is Reintroduction – in this stage you’ll reintroduce high FODMAP foods one at a time in increasing portion sizes to see which ones trigger symptoms. This stage can last for 8-12 weeks as you work out which high FODMAP foods you can tolerate.
Stage 3 is Personalisation – in this stage you’ll go back to a normal diet, including the high FODMAP foods you can tolerate, and avoiding those you can’t, or eating them in smaller portions.
How Do I Get Started With a Low FODMAP Diet?
If you want to try a low FODMAP diet, you first need to get a medical diagnosis of IBS. This is important, as IBS shares the same symptoms as other gut conditions.
Once you have been diagnosed, your doctor may suggest trying medication or other lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms. If symptoms persist, you can then consider a low FODMAP diet with the support of a dietitian. You can ask your doctor for a referral to an FODMAP specialist dietitian, or request support from a private dietitian. Some private health insurers will also cover sessions with a FODMAP trained dietitian.
WHAT NEW PRODUCTS ARE YOU DEVELOPING?
We are currently developing lots of new Low FODMAP, Gluten Free products, including new sauces, gravies and stocks! So keep an eye on our website and social for news and updates on this!
We’d love to hear what products you’d like to see from Bay’s Kitchen, so please let us know by filling out our contact form. You can also sign up to our newsletter below to make sure you’re the first to know!
ARE ALL YOUR FOOD PRODUCTS LOW FODMAP CERTIFIED?
Yes. They are certified by FODMAP Friendly – you can visit their site here to find out more about their certification: http://fodmapfriendly.com/
Our sauces are also Gluten Free certified and Vegan approved!
CAN PEOPLE NOT ON A LOW FODMAP DIET EAT BAY’S KITCHEN PRODUCTS?
Yes! Bay’s Kitchen products can be enjoyed by all the family. We have really focussed on taste of the products, so everyone can enjoy them together!
However, it is not advisable to ONLY eat Low FODMAP foods unless you have been advised to do so by a medical professional, as the diet is very restrictive. Anyone not on the diet can enjoy our foods, but ensure it is part of their usual balanced diet.
Bay’s latest Low Fodmap Diet Recipes
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