21 Nov 2014

Low FODMAP and preventing the next fad diet

Dr Jane Muir and Prof Peter Gibson have written an article about the emerging story of dietary fibre and gut health. The article notes that the evidence is strengthening for the role of a low FODMAP diet in managing IBS, but researchers are concerned that it doesn't become the next gluten-free fad.

According to the article, dietary fibre is found in fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds. While fibre has a major impact on many aspects of our overall health and wellbeing, it appears to be vital for gut health. However, dietary fibre acts differently for sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS now affects about one in seven Australians and is the most common reason for visiting a gastroenterologist. 

With the emergence of the FODMAP diet, the article warns against it becoming another food fad. A low FODMAP diet is a special therapeutic diet for treating gastrointestinal symptoms associated with IBS. The article is particular in highlighting that people who are healthy and do not have IBS symptoms should not place themselves on a strict low FODMAP diet. It urges that low FODMAP diet should not be viewed as ‘good for digestive health’ as it is a diet that restricts FODMAP which also restricts ‘prebiotic’ intake (fructans and GOS) and may result in changes in the luminal bacterial populations. 

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