Irritable Bowel Syndrome – What are FODMAPs?

Have you heard of FODMAPs? This acronym has been popping up in mainstream media for some time, but most people are still confused by what they are and what they have to do with the gut.

Simply, FODMAP refers to a group of fermentable, poorly absorbed short chain carbohydrates first discovered by researchers at Monash University. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPs usually act in two ways. They can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine, drawing on water which causes diarrhoea or they pass to the large intestine and are fermented by bacteria producing gas, bloating and constipation.

Typical high FODMAP foods found in the diet include garlic, onion, milk, avocado, mushrooms, sweet potato, bread and apples.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, affects one in seven Australians and is characterised by bloating, flatulence, constipation and/or diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. Following a low FODMAP diet has been shown to be the most effective way of managing IBS with researchers identifying an improvement in symptoms in three out of four people.

It’s important to remember a low FODMAP diet is used to reduce symptoms and should be followed with the support of a Dietitian. A series of food challenges is required to help determine which FODMAPs trigger symptoms as most people do not react to all FODMAP groups.

If you suffer from IBS and are thinking of trialling a low FODMAP diet, contact your local HealthWISE Accredited Practising Dietitian. Our Dietitians can assist in guiding you through the process, identify your trigger foods and amounts whilst also maintaining optimal nutrient intake.

Are you eligible for the NDIS? HealthWISE is a National Disability Insurance Scheme provider specialising in nutrition and dietetics.

You can find more information about our nutrition and dietetics and NDIS services or call 6792 5514 to make an appointment.