The Low-Down on LowFOD

HEALTHY SOLUTIONSTHE LOW-DOWN ON LOWFOD

We’ve teamed up with Monash to debunk the most common low FODMAP myths.

So, what exactly are FODMAPs?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-sacchrides and Polyols but put simply, it’s an acronym that describes a group of carbs that are either poorly digested or malabsorbed and play a role in triggering symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea. The low FODMAP diet is a therapeutic diet that’s scientifically proven to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Many of you have asked if bread is out of the question on a low FODMAP diet but we can assure that it’s not! We want those who experience IBS symptoms to enjoy bread as much as we do, that’s why we developed a loaf especially for you!

To help you navigate the dos and don’ts of the low FODMAP diet (chatting about all kinds of foods, not just bread) and answer your questions, we’ve partnered with Monash University, the founders of the Low FODMAP Diet.

I’ve been experiencing gut symptoms including diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal pain for several months now. Does this mean I have IBS and should try a low FODMAP diet?

  1. Gut symptoms including diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal pain can occur for many reasons, and may indicate that you have a medical condition other than IBS. It’s important to consult your GP for a correct diagnosis before attempting any diets. This is because chronic conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease can also present with similar symptoms.

Will following a low FODMAP diet cure my IBS?

  1. The low FODMAP diet doesn’t cure IBS. Instead, it’s scientifically proven to produce on average ~75% symptom improvement. Although there is a tendency for IBS symptoms to fluctuate over time, studies have shown that long-term symptom benefits/control is maintained for people following a personalised FODMAP diet.

How strictly do I need to avoid FODMAPs when following a low FODMAP diet?

  1. There’s no one way that everyone should be following the low FODMAP diet – this all depends on you and your needs. This is why we suggest working with a low FODMAP trained dietitian following a low FODMAP diagnosis. They will help to determine how strictly you need to follow the diet, or whether a more simplified approach is best.

Is a low FODMAP diet gluten free?

  1. No. Although many gluten-containing grains (e.g. barley, rye, wheat) are reduced on a low FODMAP diet, you can still enjoy foods containing gluten without getting symptoms. Actually, gluten-free products tend to have a lower fibre content and this may compromise your fibre intake on the diet.

Can I still enjoy foods containing wheat, like bread and cereals when following a low FODMAP diet?

  1. If the foods have been laboratory tested as low FODMAP – yes, you can still have that cheese toastie! Some wheat-based breads and cereals are safe to eat in smaller serving sizes, so it’s always best to check the Monash University FODMAP Diet app to make sure you’re not missing out on some of your favourites unnecessarily. Our very own Wholegrain LowFOD™ Loaf, Rolls and Pizza Bases have been lab tested by Monash, so you can enjoy these stress and symptom free!  

Is a low FODMAP diet dairy-free?

  1. No, the low FODMAP diet isn’t a dairy-free diet. Lactose is the major FODMAP present in some dairy products. Reducing lactose intake can easily be achieved by replacing lactose-containing milks, yoghurts, cream and certain soft cheeses with lactose-free alternatives or calcium-fortified, low FODMAP suitable plant milks. A range of mature or ripened cheese (cheddar, Swiss, fetta, brie) contain very little lactose content so don’t throw away the cheese board just yet! Check the Monash FODMAP app for suitable low FODMAP servings of dairy products you can include whilst being on a low FODMAP diet.

What about protein and a low FODMAP diet? Am I at risk of not getting enough?

  1. Protein-rich sources such as meat, fish, eggs, poultry, firm tofu are all naturally low in FODMAP which means it’s a green light to enjoy! You can also use spices and herbs to flavour or cook the protein in. If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can up your protein intake by trying tempeh, firm tofu, a serve of tinned chickpeas, lentils and mung beans, higher protein grains such as buckwheat and quinoa, as well as with a serve of low FODMAP nuts. Be sure to check the Monash FODMAP app for appropriate serve sizes of vegetarian sources of protein, as some of these may be higher in FODMAPs at larger serving sizes.

How long should I follow a low FODMAP diet for?

  1. Generally, a low FODMAP diet is followed for about 2-6 weeks to ensure sufficient symptom relief, followed by a reintroduction period and personalisation. The reintroduction phase can be started earlier if your symptoms have resolved before 6 weeks.

Can I still cook with high FODMAP ingredients (like onion and garlic) if I remove them before eating?

  1. This all depends on the food and type of FODMAP in question. With foods like onion and garlic, the fructans that are in these are water soluble, meaning if you cook with them in a liquid, the FODMAPs will filter out into the surrounding liquid. However, if you cook with these foods in a fat source like olive oil, and remove the garlic and onion before adding the rest of the ingredients, the FODMAPs won’t leak out into the pan, so you’ll still get the great taste without the symptoms! We recommend checking out the Monash app or chatting with your dietitian before experimenting with different food processing or cooking methods.

What steps can I take to ensure good nutrition on the low FODMAP diet?

  1. While following a low FODMAP diet, it’s important to ensure you’re still eating a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups – breads and cereals, fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat or meat alternatives. As much as possible, try and include 2-3 different food groups at each main meal. The Monash FODMAP app contains hundreds of foods and drinks across all food groups that have been Monash tested and rated for FODMAPs. If you’re unsure about foods that have not been tested for their FODMAP content, don’t be afraid to test your tolerance with small amounts over several days and include them within your diet if you don’t experience any side effects.

If you’re planning to start a low FODMAP diet, it’s always a good idea to consult your GP or a health professional first. 

For more info about a low FODMAP diet and up-to-date food guides, download the Monash University FODMAP Diet app. You can also sign up to their online course to learn how to manage IBS symptoms using a three-step FODMAP diet.