Could you have IBS?



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10 years ago, it was not uncommon for patients to report irritable bowel symptoms over many years without ever really knowing the cause. Gastroenterologists would blame stress; naturopaths’ wheat and dairy and many a dietitian would know that there had to be more to it. Sure enough, there was, and greater understanding of the underlying cause of long term gut discomfort has now brought relief to many, many sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

FODMAPS (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) refers to a group of carbohydrates which are poorly absorbed in the gut. Individuals have different levels of tolerance to these carbohydrates, which means that some people produce excessive gas when these carbs are consumed. As the day progresses, for sensitive individuals, gas, bloating and gut discomfort develops, leaving many people blaming gluten, wheat and /or dairy for their ongoing tummy troubles.

The good news is that once you identify that you are sensitive to some, if not many of the FODMAPS, it is relatively easy to eliminate these foods from the diet, and the gut will respond almost immediately. Of our day to day foods, apples, pears, dried fruit, legumes and onion and garlic are some of the most common, yet poorly recognised culprits of FODMAP intolerance. As garlic and onion are so widely spread through our cuisines and sauces, you can imagine that these can be difficult to isolate as the cause of ongoing gut issues. For particularly ‘healthy’ souls, a mix of fruit, vegetables, oats and homemade dishes can too result in severe symptoms for FODMAP sensitive peeps, even though their diet ticks a number of positive nutritional boxes.

This is not to say that wheat, gluten and dairy do not causes specific symptoms for some individuals 1-2% of the populations have coeliac disease, while up to 5% of Caucasians and up to 75% of non-Caucasians are lactose intolerant. When it comes to identifying which specific component of food may be causing gastric distress, a good description of symptoms suffered is crucial. For example, pungent gas and diarrhea is common with lactose intolerance; while coeliac symptoms include low iron, poor general health and chronic constipation followed by bouts of diarrhea. FODMAP intolerance on the other hand tends to be associated with more general symptoms of bloating and gas. For this reason, if you have had ongoing tummy troubles, it is crucial that you are assessed by a dietitian who specialises in gut disorders, to ensure you get the right diagnosis, rather than an assumption of the underlying causes of your gut distress.

Signs you may have intolerance to some of the FODMAPs found in foods

1. You start the day with a flat stomach and get more and more bloated throughout the day.

2. You cannot tolerate some foods such as beans at all.

3. You always feel gassy after eating out.

4. You know that there is something wrong with your stomach but you cannot isolate the cause of your issues.

5. You frequency suffer from cramping or abdominal pain 2-3 hours after eating.

Shape Me, the 30 day plan is one of the only online weight loss programs that caters for individuals with FODMAP intolerances. 



1 Comment

  • Kate says:

    I have been following the low FODMAP diet since my GP and dietician recommended it to me a number of years ago, and I have found great results from it.

    I have found is missing however are recipes that are both sugar free and low FODMAP, so I have created my own blog with these recipes I have either found or created myself.

    If any of your readers are looking for the same thing as I was check out my blog ‘The Tolerant Intolerant Cook’, and please feel free to request any recipes you’re looking for.


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