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Readers Respond: How Hard Is It to Follow a Low FODMAPs Diet?

Responses: 30

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Updated August 20, 2012

From the article: Foods on the FODMAP Diet
Researchers in Australia have been looking into a low FODMAPs diet as a way to minimize IBS symptoms. They maintain a strong recommendation that you work with a qualified dietitian in order to ensure proper nutrition. Have you tried to follow a low FODMAPs diet? Did you find it easy to follow or was it challenging to try to follow the diet and make sure that you are getting adequate nutrients? Share your experience here and find out what it has been like for other IBS sufferers to follow a low FODMAPs diet. Share Your Experience!

How Hard Is To Follow A Low FODMAP Diet?

For 2 years I went around in circle thinking to have problems ranging from ovarian cancer to unstable angina. I have seen many traditional doctors as well as naturopath. One of them told me to come off wheat and dairy products, which I did, but after the initial improvement I continued to be sick. After more scans and tests I finally got a diagnosis. I have IBS and despite having to change my diet even more, I was pleased that it was 'only' IBS. I did the 6 weeks low FODMAP elimination diet. My life has improved a 1000%. I now eat 90-95% low FODMAP, when I cheat, I pay. Not worth it. I'm eating more healthily, I can't just buy food that is already made, most processed food is not low FODMAP and therefore I cook more from scratch. When I eat out I usually stick to simple salad with grilled chicken or fish. Sometimes I treat myself to gluten free pizza, a lot of restaurant offer that, just be careful gluten free it is not necessarily low FODMAP. This diet works for 75% of the people. Try it!
—Guest Larah

It really helped

The low FODMAP diet was confusing and hard to follow at first, but there are lots of helpful cookbooks and internet resources including the monash university low fodmap diet app. I felt deprived at first but noticed great improvements in my IBS-D within 2 days. I don't think I could stay on it strictly for long, but doing it for a while helped me identify triggers and also figure out what I can tolerate. Making little substitutions in my daily choices (like snacking on oranges instead of apples) allows me to include some higher-fodmap foods in the same day without overloading my system. I have many sensitivities I would never have identified without trying this diet.
—Guest Lara

Worth a try?

Similar to a couple of respondents, I've had ibs d for last 6/7 yrs and have exhausted most avenues. Was recently recommended this diet by nutritionist, but feel a bit let down by the inadequate explanation of such diet. There's much more info just on this page. €80 for a return visit lasting about 20 mins and getting a printout of fodmap diet? Shows such a lack of compassion for people in our predicament. Life is difficult enough without being taken for so much of our hard earned money, and I mean hard earned- with ibs, everything is more difficult, if it was results based, i'd have no problem paying, but I guess we're all in the same boat. In relation to the foods in this diet, well I too am already avoiding most foods anyway, but I' ll give it a go over next few weeks when I know work will permit. Most of us are aware that a bad choice of food can cause couple of very difficult days in work. One staple is pasta made from rice, and when I'm stuck for time, good tuna in olive oil.
—Guest Philip, rep of Ireland

denanjo

I have been on the Fodmap diet for a week; already feeling much better, but am losing weight. How can I get my calories up?
—Guest Eleanor Hoffman

Fodmap diet UK

I heard of the FODMAP diet by accident on a tv program. Getting a referral to a dietitian wasn't hard but fighting with the 20 year old dietitian for the diet info was. After having severe IBS-D for 30 years I really wanted to try this. I had already bought Patsy Catso's book, gone on her website and emailed her myself and learned straight from her as much as is really needed to do the diet. If you can't get NHS help, just do it yourself. The info the dietitician gave me was out of date as the food list changes and gets updated on the freeatlast website. The only useful item they gave me was a supermarket shopping list but even that was about purchasing processed food. I have had great results with a huge decrease in the distention and constant wind in the evening and through the night.
—Guest GinaC

Try it- it works

I live in the UK and the doctor wouldn't let me see a dietician for a year even though I lost a stone in weight and was very ill with IBS symptoms. All other illnesses were ruled out which was a relief but I was still frustrated the NHS didn't help. So one day I went to the doctor and refused to leave until they booked me a dietician and they did - so do persevere all those people who have lost hope! He put me on the FODMAP diet and for the first week it didn't seem to work but then a month later I was going to the toilet once or twice a day instead of four/five times with no urgency. The diet takes a while to work so don't give up. When I introduced some things back sure enough symptoms recurred again so I know what to avoid. It is sometimes the quantity you eat rather than an actually allergy. I also take bovine colostrum powder which has also helped with my symptoms and I haven't had a cold all year! As yet there is no cure but this diet can completely improve your quality of life.
—Guest Fran

Confused about Gelato

I have IBS with normal to constipated bowels. Gas and bloating are by far my biggest concerns, so I may try this diet to see if it helps. But why is Gelato, listed as ok, when Ice Cream is listed as bad? They both contain milk sugars.
—Guest Joe Johnson

vicki

I'm concerned because many of the foods that are on the low FODMAP list are foods that I've already had to eliminate because they cause canker sores on my tongue. Pretty soon there won't be anything left to eat. I am going to try doing away with all artificial sweetners. I've read elsewhere that they can cause intestinal distress. I'll let you know how things go.
—viki81754

yes to fodmap diet

I have been on this diet for about a month and the differences are significant. Prime triggers for me are dairy of any kind. I have found lactose free yogurt, cheese and milk. I recommend NO prepared or processed food from stores; stick to simple, naturally prepared fruits and veggies on the list. The same with meat and stick to little red meat and more fish and chicken. I do miss honey and apples but no more bloating, gas and feeling like my intestines are at war with the rest of me. Please consider yoga to manage stress, as this aggravates the bowel (at least in me). Overall, there are still so many foods allowed and not all forbidden foods are necessarily triggers for all; but as my doctor said, cut it all out and clean it all out. Then introduce one thing on the list and see what happens. Eating 5 smaller meals instead of 3 main ones is also beneficial. And... after you eat, walk around or stand and move. Sitting after eating is terrible for IBS.
—Guest Shellie

TRYING TO FOLLOW TWO STRICT DIETS

I am on the Intercystial Cytitial (IC) friendly diet, and now I am diagnosed with IBS so I am trying the FODMAP diet as well. It has been extremely hard because I am so restricted because of the IC diet already. I am in contact with a dietician, but it still is hard to shop for food, plan meals, and because I am not feeling well, eating is not enjoyable at all. It's not because I don't like the food, I have no problem with the the taste, it's the pain I have from eating, it's unbearable. I hope that over time, as I am able to introduce foods back in my diet, I will start to feel better. What I don't understand is when do you start doing that? I know the FODMAP diet is not meant to be a long term diet. But if I am still in pain after going on it and and eliminating those things, how will I know what foods are the trigger foods? How do I safely reintroduce foods to see if they had caused me problems? My dietician didn't really know very much about the FODMAP diet.
—Guest Tabmeoms

Great Expectations

I've just recently heard about FODMAPS from a Wall Street Journal article. At 85 years of age I've had my life controlled by my digestive system for a long time, and the info I've seen so far gives me hope and matches some of my worst triggers. Is there a resource to get answers to question. For example, Why do raw apples cause me so much trouble when cooked applesauce doesn't? I live in an area where Fodmaps are not well known, so I'm just experimenting on my own. I find the Red & Green "Eliminate Foods/Foods Suitable" Chart very helpful. I'm also learning about the special foods in the Nutrition Depts of the Grocery store, And reading labels more carefully. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. This plan may not cure me, but I think it can improve things.
—Guest Alice

UNDESCRIBABLE PAIN

I was diagnosed with IBS. The vomiting, pain beyond belief scares me to death. Sometimes I think I am going to die from the pain, constipation, diarrhea and vomiting. I thought I was the only one with this type of pain. I am embarrassed and don't discuss this often because I don't want people to think I'm sickly. My doctor is a gastro guy and gives me antibiotics. I also have diverticulitis. I am so tired and disgusted. I am drained after an episode and feel so hopeless.
—Guest SUE

Contradictions

The printable list and the list in the article have many foods that are listed as high fodmap one place and low fodmap the other. I find this very confusing.
—Guest jackie

complete evacuation is main solution

Use this and other diets as a guide only. Keep a diary as to what foods are OK and compare day by day. If you have IBS, chances are, in my opinion, this is mainly due to incomplete evacuation. Spend a longer time in the loo. Don't leave until you're finished. No alcohol. Keep sweets to a minimum. An ordinary, bland diet might be best to start with. Most people seem to tolerate carrots, potato, peas, corn. Unfortunately a lot of the "bad" veges here are quite good for you. The main point to these and other diets is to choose foods that are least likely to cause colonic upset. Too much fibre can cause spasms, which means the evacuation process is longer and more difficult. Diet is only one aspect of IBS. To me, the main concern will always be incomplete evacuation.
—Guest LeakyGasser

See a Dietician

A lot of people have mentioned half these foods do not have an effect on them or they have not noticed one, this is why you NEED to see a dietician to determine which specific parts of the FODMAP diet you need to follow, for example I do not need to exclude dairy because I have already discovered this is not a trigger for me. This is also why if you are just researching on the net you can find conflicting guidelines. The FODMAP diet also explains why you may not notice symptoms every time you eat certain foods, it is certain FODMAPS in excess that will cause symptoms. Everyone can process a particular amount of each FODMAP and the diet is designed so you can determine your individual capacity. It's not a forever diet, it is supposed to be followed for 1-2 months and then you will work with your dietician to reintroduce certain FODMAPs. The only way this diet is to be a success is if you work through it with a qualified dietician!! Yes its difficult, but the results are worth it!
—Guest Emily

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How Hard Is It to Follow a Low FODMAPs Diet?

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