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IBS and a low FODMAP diet

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition of the bowel that presents as sharp or severe pain in the abdomen, loose stools, flatulence, or constipation.

IBS can develop from food intolerances, stress, or an infection of the intestine. While IBS isn't a critical condition, symptoms can negatively impact everyday life.

To reduce personal discomfort and reduce inflammation in the bowel; a variety of treatment options will help a patient take control of the causes of IBS.

Acknowledging that the way foods digest in the gut can trigger recurrences of IBS flare-ups, researchers at the Monash University developed the scientifically-proven low FODMAP diet.


FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols which refer to specific molecules or dietary sugars.

Most people don't absorb FODMAPS well, but in some cases, an excess of bacteria ferments the foods in the bowel, and in others the poorly absorbed food attracts water into the bowel. One or both of these processes then lead to IBS symptoms.

FODMAPS are found in everyday foods such as dairy, wheat, and fruit and vegetables. Reducing or removing high FODMAP foods from the diet has been scientifically proven to reduce IBS symptoms.

A low FODMAP diet can be complex, so it's important that if you’re experiencing IBS, you consult with a Core Specialist Group dietician before making significant dietary changes and starting a low FODMAP diet.

Foods that are high in FODMAPS*

Fruit: Apples, avocado, cherries, nectarines, sultanas, fruit juice, watermelon, plums, mango, dates.

Vegetables: Garlic, onion, asparagus, cauliflower, soybeans, mushrooms, mange tout, celery, black beans.

Dairy: Cow’s milk, cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, custard, ice cream.

Meat: Sausages.

Cereals, grains and nuts: Wheat, couscous, almond meal, cashew nuts, rye, spelt flour.

Foods that are low in FODMAPS*

Fruit: Bananas, grapes, cranberries, kiwifruit, pineapple, lemon, lime, strawberries.

Vegetables: Ginger, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, corn, green beans, broccoli, sweet potato, zucchini.

Dairy: Butter, almond milk, lactose-free milk, whipped cream Greek yoghurt, lactose free yoghurt.

Meat: Beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, pork.

Cereals, grains and nuts: Gluten-free bread, brazil nuts, buckwheat flour, hazelnuts, oatmeal, pine nuts, quinoa, rice cakes, chia seeds, walnuts.

Tips for following a low FODMAP diet*

  • FODMAPS are present in a lot of natural foods that have a high nutritional content, so it's important not to cut whole food groups out when adopting a low FODMAP diet.
  • Monitor your symptoms. It may be possible to reintroduce foods gradually once inflammation has been reduced.
  • Keep a food diary. IBS symptoms can present themselves after a combination of high FODMAP foods (for example mushrooms might not cause symptoms, but mushrooms eaten with bread might).

When experiencing IBS, changing eating habits may have a long-lasting impact on the reduction of symptoms. To arrange a consultation with a Core Specialist Group dietician, call the reception at John Flynn Private Hospital on 07 5598 0955.

* These lists are not exhaustive, and a consultation with a dietician is highly recommended before making significant changes to your diet.