So, you have heard of low-fodmap foods, but are you wondering if you are an ideal candidate for the low-fodmap diet? Determining whether a low fodmap diet is right for you can be overwhelming, however learning about key determining factors can make the information more digestible (pun intended).
Fodmap foods are poorly digested by everyone, but when people with IBS consume high-fodmap foods, an increased negative gastrointestinal reaction occurs. Concisely known as visceral hypersensitivity. In short, experiencing an abnormally high sensitivity level in the presence of normal stimuli. So, the goal of low fodmap diets is to reduce the stimuli to minimize symptoms.
The many benefits of the diet include:
- Identifying food triggers. This simultaneously can lead to an elimination of food fears and will relieve stress.
- Effectivity for 50-80% of people with IBS
- Consumption of all food groups
- Based on scientific research that works
Identifying who the right candidates are for the low fodmap diet is crucial. So, who are the faces of the low fodmap diet?
- Those with a diagnosis of IBS (people who have seen and been screened by a gastroenterologist).
This will rule out disorders like celiac and pancreatic insufficiency, which have similar symptoms but will not be healed by a low fodmap diet.
- Well-nourished people(people that eat a variety of foods and receive ideal amounts of vitamins and minerals- not for picky eaters).
This will rule out people with a zinc deficiency or those who ingest too much magnesium because both can lead to diarrhea, a common symptom of IBS. As well as people who are poorly hydrated or do not intake enough fiber will lead to symptoms of constipation, causing people to misdiagnose themselves with having IBS. In actuality, other factors are at play, so simply eliminating fodmap foods may not solve the problem.
The key here is to receive a diagnosis from a Registered Dietitian to ensure IBS is the root cause of your gastrointestinal symptoms.
Identifying inappropriate candidates is just as important. Who are not the faces of the low fodmap diet?
- Those without a diagnosis
- People who are malnourished
Restrictive diets can trigger maladaptive eating habits in the future.
Technology can be challenging to find the latest information, such as on Monash. There is a financial strain to uphold the diet. There is a risk of malnourishment.
- Those already following a restrictive diet
Such as patients with diabetes or those who have histamine intolerance (low fodmap foods are typically high histamine).
- Those unwilling to make a dietary strain
- Those with Eating Disorders/ disordered eating
Studies show that up to 98% of people with an eating disorder also have a Gastrointestinal (GI) disorder and 16% of people with a GI disorder can eventually develop an eating disorder. Studies also show that most of the time when an eating disorder comes first, this exacerbates their GI disorder and when the eating disorder is treated, in many cases, the GI disorder goes away.
But, if the eating disorder goes untreated “once established, the psychological disturbances can perpetuate and strengthen each other resulting in a functional Gi disorder (FGID) that can persist independently of the eating disorder that originally caused the motor and sensitivity disturbances” Essentially If the eating disorder is not treated, the GI disorder worsens and perpetuates after recovery.
Importantly, there is a way to determine if a patient has an eating disorder with screening tools. One example is the “ecSI 2.0” by Ellyn Satter, a tool backed by research to determine confident eating habits.
While using food as medicine has become a more popular tactic l for treating Gastrointestinal diseases, making sure you are the right candidate for a low fodmap diet is crucial in experiencing progress.
If you are an ideal candidate for the low-fodmap diet, be sure to check out Epicured.com where low-fodmap made-to-order meals are delivered to your door! Making small changes to your diet doesn't get easier than this.
Beth Rosen MS, RD, CDN