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Everything You Need to Know About the Low FODMAP Diet

gut health Jan 23, 2023

Is the discomfort severe enough to interfere with your daily activities?

The link between food and digestive disorders is well established, and FODMAPs - small, nondigestible carbohydrates found in certain foods - could likely be the culprit.

Keep reading to know what exactly is a low FODMAP diet, how long you should stay on it, and how to improve your gut health along the way. 

What is it?

The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols, which are types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine.[1] These are the food sources you should be avoiding and their alternatives, but you should always refer to your dietitian or doctor before eliminating any food:

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The low FODMAP diet is a temporary plan that restricts these foods in order to alleviate symptoms and give the digestive system a break. Up to 86% of IBS patients report reductions in all gastrointestinal symptoms after following this diet.[2] Eliminating irritants gives your gut lining the opportunity to heal and can aid in re-establishing a balanced gut flora.

How long should you stay on a low FODMAP diet?

The low FODMAP diet is a three-phase elimination/reintroduction diet, not a permanent plan.

Phase 1: Elimination

Healthcare professionals recommend that the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet lasts for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of six weeks, as it may take some time for it to be effective and for symptoms to improve. Even if you experience improvement during this phase, it is not intended to be a long-term solution. It is crucial to determine which foods can be tolerated in order to adopt a moderate and varied diet that is easier to sustain and provides all essential nutrients.[3] 

Phase 2: Reintroduction

The length of the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet is different for each person depending on the severity of symptoms, but typically lasts around 2 months. During this phase, the low FODMAP diet is followed while introducing high FODMAP foods from each category one by one, in a systematic manner. You should gradually increase the quantity of each food to determine your threshold of tolerance. To prevent any crossover effects, it’s important to return to the elimination phase for a few days between each test.[3]

Phase 3: Personalization or Maintenance 

During this phase, your dietitian will work with you to create a sustainable meal plan that includes a balance of low FODMAP foods while still incorporating some high FODMAP foods that were found to be well tolerated during the reintroduction phase. The goal here is to avoid digestive distress while still enjoying a variety of foods, with as minimal restrictions as possible.[3]

How can you effectively strengthen your gut health along the way? 

While the low FODMAP diet can be effective in managing symptoms of IBS and other digestive issues, it is not a long-term solution for improving gut health or food tolerance. Some people stay on the low FODMAP diet for too long with unnecessary food restrictions, which can lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients. 

This is why I focus on optimizing my clients’ gut health during the treatment, this means:

  • Including a wide variety of low FODMAP foods that are rich in fiber to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
  • Drinking polyphenol-rich beverages since they have the ability to act as prebiotics and also have antimicrobial properties against harmful bacteria.
  • Engaging in regular physical activity for better bowel movements.
  • Incorporating stress-management activities such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness since high stress levels have a negative impact on gut health.

It can be difficult to navigate the low FODMAP diet alone and may lead to inadequate nutrient intake if not followed correctly. This is why it should always be done under the supervision of a dietitian who can keep you well-nourished while following the diet, and can make any necessary adjustments as needed. 

If you need extra support in improving your gut health and discover the root cause of your digestive distress, click here to work with me! 


  1.  FODMAP diet: What you need to know. (2021, December 29). 
  2. Nanayakkara, W. S., Skidmore, P. M., O’Brien, L., Wilkinson, T. J., & Gearry, R. B. (2016). Efficacy of the low FODMAP diet for treating irritable bowel syndrome: the evidence to date. Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology, 9, 131–142. 
  3. Low fodmap diet: What it is, uses & how to follow. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved January 21, 2023. 

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