A Low FODMAP Diet has been promoted as a way to help people with stubborn digestive issues. You may be wondering if you should recommend this diet to your patients. Read on to learn more about the low FODMAP diet.
Digestive disorders are a common complaint among primary care patients. Gastrointestinal disorders include a wide range of problems. They range from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD to irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS.
In many cases, a diet that supports gut health can completely resolve digestive issues. The Low FODMAP Diet has recently been recognized as being very helpful for some patients with gut problems.
FODMAP stands for the following fermentable carbohydrates: oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These carbohydrates usually don’t cause problems in people with normal gut functioning. However, in patients that have digestive issues, they can cause bloating, gas, pain and diarrhea.
Low-FODMAP diets have been extensively researched for digestive issues. Evidence strongly supports the Low-FODMAP Diet in the treatment of IBS. Another study found that low FODMAP diet reduced the severity of symptoms in more than 75 percent of patients with IBS compared to a standard diet.
The reason that Low-FODMAP diets work is that consuming foods that are high in FODMAPs exacerbates symptoms. These carbohydrates feed harmful bacteria in the gut, which leads to intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Eliminating them from the diet can help reduce harmful bacteria in the stomach.
The Low-FODMAP Diet
So, now that you know that a Low FODMAP Diet is an appropriate treatment for Digestive issues, you might be wondering what foods would be considered to be Low FODMAP. Here (Link Solving Fibromyalgia handout) contains a list of the main high FODMAP foods that your patients should avoid when following a Low FODMAP Diet. These include apples, oranges, prunes, pears, garlic, artichoke and more.
The foods on the above list should be avoided for approximately 30 days. Although it seems like there are a lot of foods on the list, these can be individualized. Some patients have more problems with certain foods than others.
After the 30-day trial period, I would recommend slowly introducing the high FODMAP foods back into the diet. You could encourage your patients to add the foods one at a time to determine which ones are better tolerated.
What If The Low FODMAP Diet Doesn’t Help?
If your patient adheres to the Low-FODMAP Diet consistently and still has issues, you might consider testing for SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. If SIBO is an issue, then that will need to be treated as well.
Digestive disorders include a variety of conditions. These condition are responsible for growing number of hospitalizations and doctor visits. However, dietary changes may help completely resolve these issues.
Do you treat patients with digestive issues? Have you recommended a Low FODMAP Diet? If so, how has this helped your patients? Leave your comments and thoughts in the comments below.