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New Test Can Determine If Following a Low-FODMAP Diet Will Help Your IBS

Even though I have had an IBS diagnosis for nearly 20 years now, I had only first heard of the benefits of following a low-FODMAP diet in 2015. Before that, I had never even heard of the term “FODMAP,” which is an acronym for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. Supposedly, foods with high amounts of these carbohydrates can in theory cause IBS flares, so adopting a diet that minimizes them may in turn help settle IBS symptoms.

Will the low-FODMAP diet work?

When I became aware of what a low-FODMAP diet was and checked out the do’s and don’t’s food list, it turns out I already follow it to some extent. It seems I have had organically arrived to a moderately low-FODMAP diet myself just over many years of trial and error in terms of discovering what foods were triggering v. what was soothing for my gut. However, it is not foolproof for me as some foods on their bad list are fine with me and some good ones actually aggravate my IBS.

So, who’s to say a low-FODMAP diet will benefit your IBS? It seems new series of studies seeks to do just that.

In particular, research out of the United Kingdom has found that a low-FODMAP diet can help alleviate IBS symptoms in approximately 73% of those who undertake it. And how can you find out ahead of time without going through all that effort of weeks or months of dieting, whether it will work or not? Well, medical researchers are making progress on that as well.

A new test to find out

Specifically, researchers from King’s College London and the University of Liverpool have partnered to develop a cheap and easy-to-take test that would analyze stool samples of patients with IBS diagnoses for certain compounds. From this, they can surmise whether or not certain patients would benefit from undertaking a low-FODMAP diet with a 95 percent accuracy rate. Yet, the apparatus that originally was designed to perform this analysis was large and clunky. So, scientists are now working on downsizing the equipment to something closer to the size of a coffee maker that can easily be a part of the office equipment of any general practitioner so it is on-hand for faster and easier use. This can help give IBS patients the potential answers they need about possible solutions or treatments for this disorder.

It’s too soon to tell how long it will take for this neat invention to make it into the mainstream in the medical community over in Europe. And it will likely take even longer to make its way to the States. But it is heartening to know that researchers are working to find answers and devise tests to pinpoint the best treatments for those who suffer from IBS. In the meantime, those interested in or curious as to whether a low-FODMAP diet can help lower their IBS flares, will have to go about it the old-fashioned way—by phasing it in via an elimination diet. Fortunately, the potential success rate is high and likely the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t help much (or at all).

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.