It’s estimated that 50% of people with IBS may benefit from following a low FODMAPs diet. These benefits include lessened gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, excess gas, constipation and/or diarrhea.
The three phases of a low FODMAP diet include elimination, reintroduction and integration.
The Elimination Phase: The objective of this phase is to identify the high FODMAP foods in your diet that are aggravating your IBS symptoms. As such, Harris-Pincus says that “the goal is to reduce IBS symptoms by only eating foods considered to be low in FODMAPs.
“Serving size matters as well,” Harris-Pincus continues. “it’s important to pay attention to the portion of any FODMAP-containing food. For example, five strawberries are categorized as low FODMAP while eight strawberries are high in FODMAPs.”
This phase typically lasts between two to six weeks. Some individuals can start to feel better within two days of the elimination diet, but for others it can take weeks.
The Reintroduction Phase: During this phase, FODMAP foods are reintroduced. This phase usually lasts between six to eight weeks. The objective of this phase is to determine which high FODMAP foods trigger symptoms and which do not.
During this phase, high FODMAP foods are gradually introduced back into the diet. If a certain food causes no symptoms, then that food can be included in your regular diet moving forward. It’s important to reintroduce each subgroup of FODMAPs separately while your daily diet remains low in FODMAPs, so you can better understand what specifically may be causing your symptoms.
Because the reintroduction phase can be tricky, it’s recommended to read on the advice of a registered dietitian, who can help you figure out when to reintroduce a certain food. Taking a few days in between the reintroduction of foods is also recommended to avoid any crossover effects.
The Integration Phase: During the third phase of a low FODMAP diet, the objective is to establish a longer-term, personalized diet that provides you with a range of vitamins and nutrients. This likely means adding medium to high FODMAP foods that do not seem to trigger your gastrointestinal symptoms back into your daily meal plan