My Thoughts on the Low FODMAP Diet
Last updated: June 2018
I want to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the low FODMAP diet, and hopefully start a conversation amongst the community. For those of you who don’t know, the low FODMAP diet is a nutritional therapy for IBS and IBD sufferers, and it helps eliminate specific ingredients that are known to trigger negative gastrointestinal symptoms. Most doctors tend to recommend this diet when patients complain of IBS symptoms, and some people swear it works better than any medicine prescribed. So here are my honest opinions on the diet.
I’ll start off with the cons and try to end on a positive note…
As many of you IBS sufferers already know, every day can be a struggle, but I think one of the hardest parts about managing IBS, is through diet. Part of the strategy when it comes to the low FODMAP diet is that you have to go through almost complete elimination and reintroduction-of-foods process just to be able to figure out specific trigger sources. However, the funny thing about that concept is that it doesn’t always matter what you eat because a flare up can still happen (from my experience). One day I could eat something that sits well with me, but the next day or two I’ll eat the same thing again and all of a sudden it triggers pain. IBS is very complicated and I do think it’s important to watch what you eat. However, it’d be naïve of anyone to think the low FODMAP diet will completely get rid of all the symptoms (forever).
Another con about the diet is that it gets difficult at times because you have to read almost every label to make sure you’re getting the right food product. That can be very discouraging in itself because I personally wouldn’t want to waste time at the store when I’m already in pain and never knowing when I’ll urgently have to use the toilet. Also, the diet requires buying more fresh food, which goes bad quicker, hence having to shop more often and waste more money.
Conversely, there are some good things to the low FODMAP diet. It forces you to be on an extremely healthy balanced regimen, which is great for both managing symptoms and losing/maintaining weight. When I was strictly on the diet for a period of time, my symptoms were a lot more controlled and I was actually looking a lot slimmer. It may not have taken away all the symptoms, but it did reduce them which is still good enough for me. Also, there is one decent aspect about the shopping – all I had to do is look at the low FODMAP list, choose what I prefer to eat, then go to the supermarket and buy it. Granted the difficult part about that is still having to read labels on certain products because there are some hidden ingredients (ex. High fructose corn syrup, wheat, and garlic) that are on the “Do Not Eat” list. However, having the list already created for you can make your choosing groceries less difficult than having to create one off the top of your head.
One thing I like to do is experiment with different food and recipes just to make eating fun. It’s easy to eat the same safe foods over and over again, such as those on the low FODMAP list, but it gets pretty dull and discouraging after a while. Because of this, I have created my own version of a health awareness diet, which consists of a combination of many diets, but I’ll have to share more about that in another article.
What are your thoughts on the low FODMAP diet? Please share below.
Have you ever tried acupuncture to relieve IBS symptoms?