First, some of you may be asking…what’s FODMAPS? It’s a diet created by Monash University in Australia, which has been proven to help with the symptoms of IBS (it’s also sometimes recommended for people with SIBO, Crohn’s, colitis, and other GI disorders). The acronym stands for:
- Fermentable – the process where gut bacteria ferment undigested sugars and produce gas
- Oligo-saccharides – found in jicama, onions, garlic, and wheat
- Di-saccharides – mainly dairy products
- Mono-saccharides – found in honey and fruits
- Polyols – found in some fruits, vegetables, and artificial sweeteners
The goal of the diet is to help you understand your IBS triggers and control your symptoms. It’s not going to cure them unfortunately, but it is going to make them tolerable while you’re trying to find the root of the problem. Research shows that around 75% of people who try low FODMAPS have improvement in their symptoms, which is impressive, but what about the other 25%?
When FODMAPS isn’t enough
I was part of that 25% unfortunately. See, those with IBS have more going on than just bloating, gas, or abdominal pain. It goes much deeper than that. Oftentimes IBS is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), but it can also be food sensitivities or intestinal permeability.
Whatever the cause, diet can help. Before even attempting a low FODMAPS, I ask my clients to identify if they already have any trigger foods, or things that make them feel worse after eating. If they do, we can see if there are any foods in the same family that may also be issues. From there it’s crucial to remove inflammatory foods- artificial ingredients, trans fats, soda, and highly processed foods. Many times, drastic improvement comes from just taking that step.
Beyond that, if someone is still experiencing IBS symptoms, then we can move into a therapeutic diet, like low FODMAPS or even autoimmune paleo. While restrictive, these diets are only meant to be temporary to allow for each person to identify any food sensitivities and triggers. Personally, I prefer to start with a paleo approach. Why? Because inflammatory foods are all cut out which can allow for healing. Taking out FODMAPS may provide some relief, but it doesn’t help with healing- it’s more symptom management.
What Should You Eat?
If this all seems complicated, start with the basics. Bone broth is a very nourishing food, so whip some up in a Crockpot or Instant Pot and start sipping on that daily. I’ve got an easy recipe HERE. Additionally, aim for a serving of high quality protein, fat, and carbohydrates (ideally veggies) with each meal. Fruits are certainly allowed, just go easy on them and opt for lower sugar fruits like berries until your GI tract has healed enough for you to incorporate more. Make sure you are chewing your food well since undigested food causes issues on its own, and stick with water to drink.
Still stuck? Post a comment below or shoot me an email and I’m happy to help guide you!