Studies have shown that up to 75% of patients with IBS get relief of symptoms on the low FODMAP diet. However, the dietary restrictions have led to concerns about nutritional inadequacy.
The low FODMAP diet is consists of three phases: elimination, reintroduction, and modification.The first phase, elimination, lasts about 2–6 weeks. If there is an improvement in symptoms, the next phase is reintroduction of foods to determine food sensitivities and tolerances. The final phase is a modified low FODMAP diet, which excludes foods that are not tolerated.
Effect of the low FODMAP diet on nutrient intake
As the low FODMAP diet requires the exclusion of many nutrient rich foods, there is the potential to decrease nutrient intake. For example, a gluten free diet leads to a decrease in carbohydrate, fiber and iron intake. Likewise, the low FODMAP diet may lead to inadequate intake of nutrients such as carbohydrate, fiber, iron,
B vitamins, and calcium. This may occur during the elimination phase of the diet or during the modified low FODMAP diet, if the diet continues to be significantly restricted.
Data from studies suggest that dietitian support prevents inadequate nutrition intake during the low FODMAP diet. Carbohydrate, energy, and calcium intake may be reduced during the elimination phase and potentially during the modified low FODMAP diet if the diet is still restricted.
Getting enough nutrients on the low FODMAP diet
Eating a well rounded diet under dietitian supervision is the best way to ensure you get enough nutrients on the low FODMAP diet. However, if you are unable to get enough nutrients or you are in a flare, Casa de Sante low FODMAP certified protein powders and meal replacements are a convenient and gut friendly way to get easy to digest nutritional supplementation to stay healthy.
Staudacher HM. Nutritional, microbiological and psychosocial implications of the low FODMAP diet. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Mar;32 Suppl 1:16-19. doi: 10.1111/jgh.13688. PMID: 28244658.
Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD PhD, founder, Casa de Sante.