By: Kathy Kendall, RD, LD
If you have gas and bloating after meals and/or suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you may want to know more about a new dietary approach to solving these nagging, life-stalling problems. In my own lifelong struggle with IBS, I had tried many avenues to find relief before I came across the book IBS: Free at Last! by Patsy Castos.
Skeptically, I tried the low FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) approach outlined in the book. At first, it seemed too complicated and difficult to follow, but I persisted and a transformation followed. For the first time in years, I had mastery over my bowels. The low FODMAPS approach, along with good probiotics and relaxation techniques, has been the key to my victory over IBS.
As published recently in the Wall Street Journal, the low-FODMAPs diet, which originated in Australia, is proving helpful for many with IBS and other gastric ailments. Studies in Australia and the UK have shown this approach to be effective in reducing symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea in 75-80% of IBS sufferers.
For some individuals, their gut may be lacking in enzymes to properly digest the FODMAP sugars, which include: lactose, fructose, fructans, galactans, and polyols. The sugars are found in many types of foods including dairy products, wheat, rye, legumes, artificial sweeteners and some fruits and vegetables. The theory is that when the normal digestion of these foods does not occur in the upper gut, the large molecules pass through into the large intestine where they are fermented by bacteria and produce those unwanted IBS symptoms—gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
The solution? Well, part of the solution is to at least temporarily remove these fermentable sugars from the diet. After the offending foods have been removed for a period of 6 to 8 weeks and symptoms have significantly improved, you can begin to slowly re-introduce one food group at a time.
Could the low-FODMAPs diet help you? Well, the proof will be in the (lactose-free) pudding, so to speak. If you are suffering from IBS and/or the severe gas-and-bloating-after-meals scenario, contact a registered dietitian (RD) to walk you through this somewhat complicated diet. Your RD will be able to help you determine if the diet is appropriate for you—there are other GI conditions that can mimic this malabsorption syndrome that may require medication. If you are a good candidate for the low-FODMAPs approach, your RD will help guide you through following the diet to get the best possible results. Also, as you see success on the low-FODMAPS diet, your RD will be able to recommend supplements such as probiotics that will help maintain your newfound gut health.
As a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, I would love to work with you to solve your IBS issues whether by phone or in person. Following my step-by-step approach to the low-FODMAPS diet is as easy as pie–low-fructose pie of course! Three sessions may be all you need to be on your way to a new IBS-free life!!
Kathy Kendall MS, RD, LD has used the low-FODMAPs diet to overcome IBS-induced symptoms in her own life and can help you do the same.