What is IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition in which the gastrointestinal tract is affected,
characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, irregular bowel movements, diarrhea, and
constipation.1 Other symptoms can include urgency and the feeling of incomplete evacuation,
and diagnosis of IBS is based on the Rome IV Criteria.1
IBS may severely impact an individual’s daily activities, social life, work life, and overall quality
of life. Ensuring there is a restroom nearby is usually a constant concern for someone with IBS.
What are FODMAPS?
FODMAPs are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that ferment in the gut and can cause
abdominal pain, bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.2 FODMAP stands for
Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols.
The main FODMAPs are fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), lactose, fructose, sorbitol, and
mannitol.2 Each group consists of different kinds of foods that contain high amounts of that
carbohydrate. These foods include fruit, vegetables, dairy, grains, and sugar alcohols.
How are FODMAPs and IBS Related?
Because FODMAP foods can increase abdominal discomfort and alter stool, those with IBS must
be very cautious about consuming these kinds of foods.1,2 High FODMAP foods can trigger IBS
symptoms or make present symptoms worse.1,2
Everyone is unique and may have different tolerances or triggers than you; therefore, identifying
your personal triggers is significant for improving your IBS symptoms and relief. Implementing
the low FODMAP diet is a useful process to learn what foods you can tolerate.
The low FODMAP diet is broken down into 3 phases: the elimination phase, the challenge
phase, and the re-introduction phase. With guidance from your registered dietitian, following this
process can help you recognize what foods you can tolerate in respective serving sizes.
Tips for Successful Implementation
● Keep a journal. Log the foods and beverages you eat into a daily journal,
including the FODMAP group, the portion size, and the timing of the meal as well
as any symptoms you encounter. Tracking your symptoms can help narrow down
what foods you can or cannot tolerate in certain portion sizes.
are high FODMAP. Always make sure to read the food label and ingredient list to
identify any hidden FODMAP foods. Remember that the first ingredient listed is
the highest amount present in the product, but the last ingredient may be present
in high amounts also.
● Plan out your meals. Organizing your meals into a schedule can mitigate the
challenge of implementing a low FODMAP diet. This reduces the error of
mistakenly consuming high FODMAP foods as well as the stress around
scrambling to make an adequate meal.
● Create grocery lists. Along with planning your meals, creating a grocery list is
beneficial to this process by purchasing exactly what is appropriate to consume
for the week. This will also decrease the amount of time you need to spend in a
● Manage your stress. Stress is a trigger for IBS. Find methods to reduce your
stress that work for you. These may include going on a walk, reading a book,
taking a shower, calling a friend, or talking to a therapist.
● Implement exercise. Exercise is a helpful way to manage your IBS symptoms in
conjunction with diet. Non-jarring exercise including walking, swimming, yoga,
or biking is beneficial for your gut as well as reducing stress. Exercise can also
help with constipation.
● Get adequate sleep. Achieving sufficient sleep every night can lower your
abdominal discomfort, stress, and improve your quality of life.
● Bring all questions and concerns to your dietitian! Your dietitian is there to
support you and help you navigate your way to normalcy.
Talk to your dietitian for more information regarding the low FODMAP diet and IBS. Your
dietitian can help you in identifying your triggers and working towards IBS symptom relief in
order to improve your quality of life.
1 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition Care Manual. Irritable Bowel Syndrome,
Overview. Accessed January 17, 2024.
2. Morariu ID, Avasilcai L, Vieriu M, et al. Effects of a Low-FODMAP Diet on Irritable Bowel
Syndrome in Both Children and Adults-A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2023;15(10):2295.
Published 2023 May 13. doi:10.3390/nu15102295