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Why the low FODMAP diet may not be working for you - By Dr Megan Rossi

Why the low FODMAP diet may not be working for you -  By Dr Megan Rossi

by FoodMaestro | 23 September 2016

Why the low FODMAP diet may not be working for you -  By Dr Megan Rossi 

Disappointed with your response to the low FODMAP diet? Rest assure you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at the three likely reasons for this:

a)      Your symptoms aren’t caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

b)     You are one of the many who will be tripping up on some common mistakes people make with the diet

c)      You are part of the 30% of non-responders to the diet

To find out which explanation is more applicable to you take a look at my five top troubleshooting tips:

1. Make sure it's IBS. As you may have read previously , IBS symptoms overlap with several other conditions, some benign (e.g. functional bloating, functional constipation, functional diarrhoea) and others more sinister (e.g. coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer). Visit your GP to rule these out.

2. Check and recheck ingredient lists. Sneaky sources such as onion, garlic and sweeteners like xylitol are often snuck into processed foods. Products may also be reformulated (despite the packaging remaining the same). TIP: check out the barcode scanning function in the FODMAP by FM app which is connected to food manufacturers’ databases ensuring access to up-to-date information on exactly what’s in the food you’re buying.

3. Consider the accuracy of your FODMAP Information. Unlike other nutrition data such as calories, the FODMAP content of food is not readily available in the public domain, meaning when it comes to the low FODMAP diet Mr Google is not always right. Shock I know! TIP: Visit a registered dietitian and only use resources that have been endorsed by reputable sources (both King’s College London and Monash University have accurate low FODMAP resources available).

4. Understand the “aftermath” of a slip up. Research (and common sense) shows those who follow the diet more strictly experience better symptom improvement. But of course unless we lock ourselves in a room it's near impossible to avoid all problem foods for the whole six weeks. So when you do slip up remember it can take three days for symptoms to resolve.

5. Think about other life stressors. Remember many things can aggravate IBS symptoms, it's not just diet related. Therefore, no matter how effective the diet, if you're under severe stress, your symptoms may persist.

If after cross checking the above you still don’t have success, it’s likely you fall into category (c), the non-responders. This isn't to say you need to accept your symptoms, in fact I strongly discourage anyone from accepting symptoms that negatively impact quality of life. Instead ask your GP about other non-diet based therapies which have shown some efficacy in clinical trials such as cognitive behaviour therapy, hypnosis (although few clinics are qualified) and as a last resort medication. I know this can be disheartening but remember to try stay positive and keep striving for that goal of improving your quality of life.

That’s it from me, I hope you’ve enjoyed my series of FODMAP blogs.

Check out my other articles

  1. Introduction to a low FODMAP diet - By Dr Megan Rossi 
  2. The research behind the low FODMAP diet -  By Dr Megan Rossi 
  3. Lactose guidelines for the FODMAP diet by Dr Megan Rossi
  4. Beyond the low FODMAP diet By Dr Megan Rossi
  5. Why the low FODMAP diet may not be working for you

By Dr Megan Rossi 

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