The Three Phases of the Low FODMAP Diet
The Low FODMAP diet can be complicated and difficult to stick to without the help of a dietitian. Depending on your current lifestyle and the extent of your symptoms it may take anywhere between 4 – 8 weeks to start feeling relief and improving your quality of life. There are 3 phases in this elimination diet where supervision from a dietitian can help you see results.
Phase 1: Low FODMAP Diet
Under supervision of a dietitian, this phase involves only consuming foods in the low FODMAP category. This phase is implemented for 2-6 weeks. The Monash University FODMAP diet App can be used to help you navigate through the supermarket for low FODMAP ingredients and serving sizes. Your dietitian may also provide you with a specialised meal plan to avoid unnecessary stress over deciding what to eat. By eliminating consumption of high FODMAP food you may see a reduction in IBS symptoms.
Phase 2: Reintroduction
This phase is about reintroducing foods containing FODMAP in a controlled way. This way, you can learn which foods act as a trigger for your symptoms. Patience is key in this phase as everyone may have different trigger foods, sadly there is not a one size fits all solution. This phase should also be monitored by a dietitian to help guide you through each FODMAP subgroup, serving sizes, and help identify your personal triggers. Some people experience triggers to every FODMAP subgroup which can cause plenty of frustration and stress. This phase is implemented for 6-8 weeks so having a dietitian around to keep you on the right track can provide added support and motivation.
Phase 3: Personalisation
Once you have determined your sensitivities and what level of FODMAP containing foods you can tolerate, your dietitian can then help you to create a meal plan or suggest recipes that fit with your lifestyle. This can guide you on to create a long term diet that is achievable and start enjoying some of those FODMAPs that you can tolerate. This is not a long term diet. The gut can heal and change over time. Your tolerance for higher FODMAP foods may change, so check in with a dietitian after a few months.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other digestive conditions affect many people who simply need the help of a dietitian to find what foods trigger their symptoms. If you experience bloating or abdominal pain the low FODMAP diet may be right for you. To avoid restricting intake of vital nutrients it is best to seek help from a specialised IBS dietitian like myself to help you get the best outcome for your health and wellbeing.