Brisbane Gut Nutritionist

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Nutrition and IBS

It is common for those with IBS to either have heard of the low FODMAP diet, tried it but the diet was too restrictive to complete or the diet didn’t provide symptom relief.

For some, the low FODMAP diet does provide much needed symptom relief and understandably, they decide to remain on the diet long term for fear of their symptoms returning.

However, research suggests that following the low FODMAP diet for longer than intended can alter the balance of gut bacteria and in some cases, lead to nutrient deficiencies. This is because reactions to high FODMAP foods are a symptom of IBS and not necessarily the root cause.

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The science behind the low FODMAP diet

FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine – meaning they can travel to the large intestine where the majority of our gut bacteria live. Here, gut bacteria have the capacity to break FODMAPS down, and for those with IBS, this can lead to symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel movements.

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Reactions to high FODMAP foods are a symptom of IBS and not the root cause

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Low FODMAP diet and IBS

What does FODMAP mean?

The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are types of carbohydrates found in various foods such as wheat, onions, garlic, dairy products, certain fruits, and artificial sweeteners.

How the Low FODMAP diet works

The low FODMAP diet involves eliminating high FODMAP foods for a period of time, typically around 2-6 weeks. This helps to reduce symptoms and provide relief. After the elimination phase, foods are gradually reintroduced in a controlled manner to identify specific triggers for each individual.

Who can a low FODMAP diet treat

Research has shown that the low FODMAP diet can be effective in reducing symptoms for approximately 70% of people with IBS. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and your trained healthcare professional can provide guidance on the suitability of the diet for you.


It’s important to note that the low FODMAP diet should be done under the guidance of a trained healthcare professional, as the diet requires careful planning and guidance to ensure adequate nutrient intake.

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