The most common question people ask when they agree to trial a low FODMAP diet is “how long do I have to do this for”? When they return after two weeks, feeling so much better, my biggest challenge is to convince them not to follow a low FODMAP diet forever! Here are the reasons why you don’t “go low” for too long.
How low do I have to go?
To start with we ask you to go as low as you can go! The lower in FODMAPs your diet is, the sooner you will get relief from IBS symptoms. It is equally important to expand your food range again until you find a balance between food variety and symptom relief, what we call your “FODMAP threshold”.
How long do I have to go low?
The Gut Feelings program includes a low FODMAP fortnight, so just two weeks of eating low FODMAP foods. For those with severe IBS it might take a bit longer for symptoms to settle, but for most people two weeks is plenty. IBS symptoms occur in response to the foods moving through the digestive system at the time, so taking FODMAPs out of the diet should reduce these symptoms within days, not weeks or months. Improving overall gut health can take a bit longer, but most people are willing to tackle that once they are symptom free.
Do I have to be on a low FODMAP diet forever?
No, it is better not to be on a very low FODMAP diet for any longer than you need to be. If you don’t have a very high “threshold” for FODMAPs, then there are other approaches that are investigated in the Gut Feelings program to help increase that tolerance for FODMAPs. A long term low FODMAP diet is not helpful for digestive health, because FODMAPs are actually prebiotics, so they are helpful to gut health.
Blogged by Kerith Duncanson – May 2015