Low FODMAP: A gut-friendly diet plan for IBS sufferers

Low FODMAP: A gut-friendly diet plan for IBS sufferers

If you are among the 1 in 20 people diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may live in fear of an upset stomach, pronounced bloating or frequent trips to the bathroom after every meal. The good news is that recent studies have found that a low FODMAP elimination diet can settle your inflamed gut and identify IBS triggers.

“FODMAPs are osmotically active, short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed and rapidly fermented by gut bacteria,” explains Dr. Yuchen Wang, a gastroenterologist at Aurora Health Care. “This means they bring water from the tissues to your gut, causing distension and gastrointestinal symptoms in susceptible patients.”

IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that impacts the small intestines. Medical experts don’t know the cause of IBS but do know that eating certain foods and stress can cause flareups.

The low FODMAP diet temporarily restricts foods that contain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and therefore cause IBS flareups. Once your gut has settled, you begin slowly adding high FODMAP foods back into your diet. It’s important to pay attention to any IBS symptoms you experience with each addition. “This allows you to identify which foods are triggers and which foods are well tolerated and no longer need to be avoided,” says Dr. Wang.

Examples of low FODMAP foods:
  • Almond milk
  • Cucumber
  • Eggs
  • Feta cheese
  • Kiwi
  • Non-processed meat
  • Seafood
  • Tofu

The American College of Gastroenterology recommends following a low FODMAP diet only for a limited trial to improve symptoms since the diet can be tricky to follow long-term.

Besides making changes to your diet, the following habits can help manage IBS flareups:
  • Eating slowly
  • Managing stress
  • Avoiding highly processed foods
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Getting regular exercise

“If you are experiencing IBS symptoms, it’s important to let your doctor know. Some conditions, such as celiac disease, have similar symptoms and can be ruled out with a blood test,” says Dr. Wang. “Your doctor can also help you manage IBS symptoms and connect you with a dietitian to help navigate the low FODMAP diet.”

Are you trying to watch your weight? Take a free online quiz to learn more about your healthy weight range.

Related Posts


Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is an external communications specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her bachelor's degree in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in health care public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.