Has the FODMAP diet worked?

Before proceeding we must first state our vested interest.  We have low FODMAP recipe sites, thus it would be fair to question our impartiality on this subject.  With that said,  all our IBS sites, they are free and from day one our mission has been to provide free help and information to fellow sufferers, the recipe sites are an extension of that aim.

So to the question in hand, has the low FODMAP diet worked?  It would seem from the feedback we have received that the results have been mixed.  The initial tests showed improvements in over seventy percent of sufferers, however it would be difficult to ascertain whether this has played out now that the diet is readily available.  The other factor which will be effecting results, will be the participation of dietitians.  

In the initial trials dietitians were involved and while in principle the low FODMAP diet is simple to follow, we have always, and continue to recommend that anyone serious about the low FODMAP diet, utilizes the skills and training of a registered dietitian if they possibly can.  While you may be successful without one, why take the chance?  You could miss out on a diet which may have profound effects on your quality of life.

The misses

Like any IBS treatment, the age old problem will occur.  While we feel like a stuck record on this matter, the issue of definition never goes away.  In a hundred years from now it is very unlikely that IBS will exist, as it is far to general to offer a concise diagnosis of a digestive complaint.  

For many, any digestive disorder will be lumped into this one term, thus inappropriate treatments will be given.  We often use fibre as the best example of this as it simply highlights the issue.  If you have IBS-C you need lots of fibre, in particular insoluble fibre.  If you have IBS-D insoluble fibre will have you rushing to facilities at a great rate.  Thus you can not say fibre is good/bad for IBS.  For normal functioning digestion fibre is vital.

It is here we feel many sufferers will have issues with the low FODMAP diet.  A personal example relates to my own high motility.  I have to avoid insoluble fibre, this has been the case since birth.  The low FODMAP diet has quinoa as an acceptable food.   

Quinoa is a wonderful food stuff, high in fibre, protein and tasty too.  However, if you suffer with rapid, or frequent motility with your BM’s, quinoa can be the stuff of nightmares.

Personalize

The heavy handed point being made here, is simply that we accept that if you follow the low FODMAP diet verbatim, it will not work for all.  While it may not address some of the motility issues, the majority of sufferers report that it has alleviated bloating and cramping.

IBS sufferers put up with a lot of pain and discomfort which over time can simply be accepted.  It is only when non sufferers complain (and boy do they complain) when they get stomach pain, that you realize just how much you internalize.

The reduction of pain and discomfort for those suffering with such symptoms seems to be where the low FODMAP diet is at its best, when followed correctly.  For those with severe symptoms it may not be the panacea you wished, but for most it appears to offer a great deal.

Summation

When we first began compiling our IBS resources, much of the writing was very angry.  Anyone who has suffered IBS long term will have suffered the frequent offer of hope being extinguished by treatments which promised much and did not deliver.

The net result was angry articles pertaining to treatments and products which had not worked for us. Peppermint oil was a real bete noire in the IBS Heath offices.  Statistically it performs well, but for us it was useless.  Similarly we wrote an angry piece about the ‘Can’t wait card’ which some may be familiar with, simply as we did not wish to use one.

We were very eloquently corrected by a lovely lady on this subject who pointed out that we should not dismiss something simply because it did not suit us, because it just might help others. This leads us to our final assessment of the low FODMAP diet:

The low FODMAP diet may or may not work for you.  Do not try it with the belief that it will fix your IBS instantly.  What the low FODMAP diet represents is another tool in the treatment of IBS.  If you try it and it works fantastic, if it does not try the next thing.

Do not make our early mistake of dismissing treatments which do not work for you as invalid for all. IBS is a very broad term and as such requires a number of tools and strategies to treat, there is no one way to treat IBS.  There are also a wide variety of factors, ranging from stress, to sleep and lifestyle which need to be considered.  A change in diet will also not work if you won’t give up or moderate known triggers such as coffee, junk food and alcohol.

We like the low FODMAP diet, it has not fixed IBS, but it has improved our quality of life.  While it may or may not work for you, it is certainly worth a try.

Please note:  All blogs and IBS Health articles have been written by IBS sufferers for fellow IBS sufferers.

We respect and appreciate all other opinions and write with the sole aim of providing empathy, support and ideas for others who live IBS everyday. We do not write cause offence.

While we have the shop and other sites, we have always ensured that we are ferociously independent and that our sites are free to use.

Back FODMAP Diet - A success? ‘Diets, like clothes, should be tailored to you.’ Joan Rivers