For people with IBS, certain groups of carbohydrates, so-called FODMAPs, can cause problems in the gut. About 3 out of 4 people with IBS experience improvement on a diet that limits their intake of these carbohydrates – a low FODMAP diet. The diet itself consists of three different phases, where each individual phase is equally important. The goal is that you eventually find your personal tolerance for the various FODMAP groups.
The first phase, which is also called the "strict phase", is an elimination diet where you exclude foods with a high content of FODMAPs. In practice, this means that you have to cut out some foods completely, while limiting the amount of others. For example, most of us will need to find low FODMAP alternatives to garlic and bread. Foods that you can eat limited amounts of are, for example, strawberries and chocolate.
Many people think that it can be complicated to know what you can and can't eat, and that's precisely why we created Noba back in 2018! In the app, you will see a small green, yellow or red circle next to each food, which indicates whether the food is low, moderate or high in FODMAPs.
The green symbol means that the food is low FODMAP in a normal portion size or more. Click on each individual food item to see if there is an upper limit on how much you can eat. The foods with a yellow or red symbol next to them are moderate and high FODMAP, and must be avoided or limited during this phase. Click on each individual food product to see if you can eat a little, and if so, how much.
The elimination phase lasts for 2-6 weeks. When you finish depends on how quickly your pain resolves. For most people who benefit from a low FODMAP diet, the worst symptoms should subside within six weeks. It is important that you are not in a strict phase for more than 8 weeks, to avoid unfavorable changes in the intestinal flora.
If you are not better after 6 weeks, we recommend that you double-check everything you eat and drink a second time to ensure that it is low FODMAP (both type of food and quantity). If you have been eating a strict low FODMAP diet for 6-8 weeks without improvement, it may be that there are factors other than FODMAPs that are affecting your stomach. In that case, we recommend that you return to your normal diet, and feel free to ask your GP for a referral to a registered dietitian.
Once the strict phase is over, you can move on to the reintroduction phase, which you can read more about here.