Part 2: IBS Series – What is the Role of the Low FODMAP Diet in IBS?
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Understanding the role of the FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Are you struggling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and curious about the FODMAP diet? This article will dive into the role of the FODMAP diet in IBS management and look at its effectiveness in reducing digestive woes!   

Part 2 of a 4 part series to get to the root of your digestive woes and explore the role of a low FODMAP diet in managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome  

Tackling IBS- Role of Low FODMAP Diet

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder, meaning that it is a disorder of the gut-brain interaction. There are no structural abnormalities that would show up on a scope, X-ray, or in blood tests, but there are functional abnormalities or impairments in how the gut moves and works, resulting in symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating (feeling like there is an inflated balloon in the abdomen), distension (a visible increase in abdominal girth), and altered bowel movements.  

IBS is thought to affect between 7 and 15% of the population, and is more common in women. What can be tricky to manage with IBS is the fluctuation of symptom severity from day to day, often leading to frustration and fear when it comes to food and bowel patterns. This has a huge impact on quality of life for individuals struggling with IBS and can result in many consequences, including withdrawing from social activities, increased anxiety and a decrease in productivity.  

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of the series:

Part 1: IBS Series – What are FODMAPs?

How can Food Help to Manage IBS? 

Figuring out where to start with the dietary management of IBS can feel overwhelming, and there are multiple strategies we can try based on your current eating patterns and food preferences. Some common nutrition interventions include:  

  • Creating regular meal patterns and meal spacing 
  • Modifying fibre intake  
  • Increasing hydration  
  • Modifying common triggers including caffeine, fat, spicy, foods, and alcohol  
  • Completing a low FODMAP diet protocol to identify more specific food triggers

If you’re unsure where to start, utilizing the support of a digestive health dietitian can be beneficial in assessing where you’re at, what your biggest concerns are, and what strategies in particular may target these problematic symptoms. If you find you eat regular meals from day to day, are relatively well hydrated and are still struggling with troubling symptoms, a low FODMAP diet may be the right next step for you!  

The Role of the Low FODMAP Diet in IBS:  

Every individual has a unique threshold in regards to what volume of FODMAPs they can tolerate in one sitting or meal over meal. As discussed in our last article (Part 1: IBS Series – What are FODMAPs?), FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that tend to draw extra fluid into the small intestine and produce more gas in the large intestine, which can exacerbate symptoms of pain and bloating in individuals with IBS. We can think about our individual FODMAP tolerance like a variety of beach buckets. We all have our own unique bucket that holds a particular amount of FODMAPs (AKA how much we can tolerate). Once that bucket is full and overflows, we experience symptoms! The 3-phased FODMAP diet can help individuals with IBS to identify which FODMAP categories are their triggers, and how full they can fill their bucket with each FODMAP category before they experience symptoms. For a great video representation of this, click HERE 

The low FODMAP diet is usually completed under the guidance of a digestive health dietitian, as there are 3 unique phases in the FODMAP protocol. They are:  

  • Phase 1: Elimination – all high FODMAP foods are eliminated to create a new baseline for symptoms.  
  • Phase 2: Reintroduction – Each category of FODMAPs is systematically reintroduced and symptoms are monitored.  
  • Phase 3: Personalization – Based on responses in phase 2, the diet is personalized to the individual to allow for as much variety as possible while balancing adequate symptom control.  

It’s important to note that the FODMAP elimination phase isn’t designed to be followed forever, as limiting FODMAPs in the diet also reduces the intake of prebiotics, which are beneficial fibres found in high FODMAP foods such as legumes/lentils, veggies, and grains that are fermented by our gut bacteria and have beneficial effects on our overall health.  

How Effective is a Low FODMAP Diet? 

Numerous studies have shown that a low FODMAP diet improves overall symptoms, and can help to decrease symptom severity and increase quality of life in individuals with IBS. These positive outcomes have been observed in both the short and long term, with individuals still experiencing symptom relief 1 year post elimination and reintroduction. Clinical studies have demonstrated that a low FODMAP diet has been shown to provide adequate symptom relief in about 70% of patients 

In the elimination phase of the FODMAP diet, we are typically looking for an adequate reduction in symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain. If you aren’t seeing a reduction in symptoms after 4-6 weeks of FODMAP elimination don’t fear! Your digestive health dietitian is here to support you in finding alternate strategies and looking at other potential triggers. 

I Want to Get Started! 

If you’re ready to get to the root of your IBS symptoms and are curious if a low FODMAP diet might be right for you, book an appointment with one of our digestive health dietitians today! We are here to support you through the entire process and help your gut feel good!  

Do you have questions regarding your diet and your health? Are you living with IBS and want advice on how to manage symptoms and maintain a balanced diet?

Get to the root of your IBS symptoms by working one-on-one with our digestive health dietitians, contact us today!

Also, subscribe to our weekly newsletter to never miss out on any tips, advice, and recipes!

Make sure to tune in weekly for the next article in this 4 part IBS series.

Check out these related blogs on our website:  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This