New diet for IBS - Low FODMAP diet

The low FODMAP diet- a new and effective dietary approach to the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Low FODMAP Diet as  featured in the Irish Independent

Elaine has had a special interest in functional gut disorders particularly Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and has been treating patients in her clinics with IBS for over 20 years. Most of these patients are referred from Gastroenterologists or GPs, but you may also self refer.

Her interest in functional gut disorders led her to Melbourne in Australia the hub of research in the area. Monash University in Melbourne has carried out extensive research in this area and Dr Sue Shepherd and her research team have developed the low FODMAP diet which is a most effective dietary treatment for functional gut disorder particularly Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Elaine travelled to Melbourne in December 2010 and spent time with Dr Jaci Barrett. Dr Barrett is one of the senior researchers working with Dr Shepherd on the low FODMAP diet at Monash University and the founder of Diet Solutions (dietsolutions.net.au). Dr Barrett very kindly let Elaine observe her in clinical practice and was most helpful in updating her knowledge in this field.

Following on from this research visit to Melbourne, Elaine’s decided to further expand her knowledge base in this area. In May 2011 in King’s College London she completed the professional and executive development short course on ‘The Low FODMAP Diet in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders’.

Elaine has been implementing the low FODMAP diet in clinical practice and finds it a most effective treatment for functional gut disorder particularly IBS.


Low FODMAP Diet

The low FODMAP diet has been published in international medical journals and is now accepted and recommended as one of the most effective dietary therapies for IBS.

The low FODMAP diet originated in Australia and was developed by a team at Monash University in Melbourne. It has been successfully adapted to the UK by researchers at King’s College London and implemented at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in London.


What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs stands for -

  • Fermentable
  • Oligo- saaccharides
  • Di-saccharides
  • Mono-saccharides
  • And
  • Polyols

What is the low FODMAP diet?

Fermentable, Oligo- saccharides, Di- saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols (FODMAPs) are short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. The major FODMAPs are fructose, fructans, galactans, polyols and lactose.

These are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed. In people with gastrointestinal symptoms, a diet high in FODMAPs can cause diarrhoea and/or constipation, bloating, wind, nausea and abdominal pain.

Ingestion of foods high in FODMAPs leads to alterations in fluid content and bacterial fermentation in the colon triggering functional gut symptoms in susceptible individuals. Removing foods high in FODMAPs from the diet is effective in improving symptoms of people with functional gut disorders like IBS.


FODMAP Success in Treating IBS in Ireland

The low FODMAP programme at Elaine McGowan Dietetic Clinics

The low FODMAP programme at Elaine McGowan Dietetic Clinics includes;

  • Individualised dietary modifications taking into consideration usual dietary intake and symptom profile.
  • Assessment and recommendations on which foods high in FODMAPs should be removed from the diet of IBS sufferers for four to six weeks.
  • Documentation of food and fluid intake and symptoms during this period.
  • Follow up consultations (1-3) where foods are reintroduced gradually while looking at the patient’s individual symptoms, and their tolerance to the reintroduction of foods.
  • Comprehensive written materials are provided on dietary recommendations.
  • Careful implementation is required to ensure the diet is effective and ensuring their diet is nutritionally adequate.

FODMAP trained Dietitians

The diet is most effective when FODMAP-trained dietitians provide dietary advice. It has been shown that patients that had seen a FODMAP-trained dietitian reported significant improvement in symptoms after being on the diet.

Elaine specialises in the low FODMAP diet and finds it a most effective treatment for functional gut disorder particularly IBS. Elaine is one of few dieticians trained in the Low FODMAP diet in the Republic of Ireland.


Low FODMAP information

Please be aware that the low FODMAP diet is a relatively new dietary treatment option to Ireland. There have been a lot recent advances in research in this area and many websites and some practitioners may be unaware of such research. The majority of information on the low FODMAP diet available in books and on the internet may be out of date and inaccurate. Research into the dietary strategy continues and information requires continuous updating.

For individual consultations on low FODMAP diet at Elaine McGowan Dietetic Clinics please book appointment.