A Low FODMAP Elimination Diet Protocol
Its What You Don’t Eat That Matters
When you do a low FODMAP diet, it is sometimes something you stick with, but for most people it is a type of elimination diet.
This means you eliminate certain foods for a period of time (usually a few weeks), then gradually start re-introducing foods back into your diet.
This allows you to see exactly what foods are giving you digestive issues or triggers your IBS symptoms.
Take a look at how the typical FODMAP elimination diet protocol works.
Instead of jumping right into this or any other elimination diet, it is important to learn as much as you can about it.
The first thing to understand is exactly what FODMAPS are and why you want to stick to the low ones, and avoid the high ones during the beginning of the low FODMAP diet protocol.
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo, Di, mono-saccharides and Polyols. Essentially, the low FODMAP diet is going to allow you to eat foods that are lower in certain types of fibers and sugars, which are known to contribute to abdominal cramping, gas, nausea, and pains related to digestive issues like IBS.
What are included in the high FODMAP foods? This includes lactose, fructose, sorbitol and other sweeteners ending in “ol”, GOS, and fructans.
Removing the High FODMAP Foods
Like many elimination diets, there are three main phases to the low FODMAP diet.
The first phase is eliminating the high FODMAP foods from your diet, followed by re-introducing some of these foods one at a time, then adapting to a new eating lifestyle and avoiding any of the foods that triggered symptoms.
For the first stage, you need to look at the food lists of low and high FODMAP foods, and eat only what is on the low FODMAP list.
Some of the high FODMAP foods can be eaten sparingly, but for the sake of the elimination stage, it is best to avoid them entirely.
After a few weeks of eating only low FODMAP foods, you will then enter the re-introduction phase.
This requires you to start introducing those high FODMAP foods, but only one at a time.
This allows you to see how your body reacts to different types of sweeteners and fibers, so you know what your body can handle without digestive issues, and which ones you will need to cut out of your diet for good.
Success Tips for Low FODMAP Eating
Before you begin the low FODMAP way of eating, it helps to know some tips and strategies to help you be more successful.
Any time you eliminate a large number of foods or complete food groups, it can be difficult to adapt and learn how to plan your meals.
Here are some tips for being the healthiest and most successful while on a low FODMAP diet.
Learn the Low and High FODMAP Foods
First thing’s first:
learn what you can and can’t eat.
Over time, you will memorize what you are able to eat based on the low FODMAP plan, but for now, print out the food lists so you have them available at all times.
Have them saved to your phone and computer, bookmark sites with the lists or food ideas, and also have a printed version when you are meal planning or headed to the grocery store.
That way, you can stick to the elimination part of the diet, and know what to eat even after the first few weeks and know what you are re-introducing into your diet slowly.
Track Your Symptoms and How They Change
Throughout the low FODMAP diet, you should be tracking your symptoms and how you feel.
Keep track of what you eat, and mark down any notes about foods causing illness or not.
Do you feel better during the elimination diet or still have digestive issues? When re-introducing high lactose foods or fruits with a lot of fiber, are you suddenly having stomach cramps again?
You need this information so that you can create a custom diet that makes you feel good.
Focus on Proper Nutrients
Any time you start a new diet where it is restricting certain foods or food groups, you are at risk fro malnutrition.
This can happen even if you are not “starving” or even hungry, but as a result of not getting the right amount of nutrients.
Make sure that when you choose from the low FODMAP food list, you are choosing foods with a wide range of nutrients, from fiber foods like chia seeds and berries, to plenty of vegetables and lean meats.
Have Low FODMAP Snacks Ready to go
It might not be realistic to be home and able to cook every meal and snack of the day, so prepare ahead of time with some fast favorites.
Keep grab-and-go snacks available like berries in portion-controlled containers, gluten-free crackers, and nuts or nut butter.