Have you been on the FODMAP diet for a while now and although you may be feeling much better than before, you are hesitant to start FODMAP reintroduction? While it seems obvious to slowly reintroduce foods that you have restricted back into your diet, FODMAP reintroduction is often forgotten about. Below we’re going to look at some of the key reasons to start the reintroduction stage.
There are three steps to the FODMAP diet – elimination phase, reintroduction (challenge phase) and personalisation. This blog will focus on step 2 and four reasons why FODMAP reintroduction is paramount. Click here to read more about the entire process.
4 reasons to start FODMAP Reintroduction
Just like any restrictive diet, the low FODMAP diet comes with the risk of nutritional inadequacy. Although the low FODMAP diet doesn’t completely restrict entire food groups, short term inadequacies have been reported in various studies. These include insufficient carbohydrates, dietary fibre, calcium and vitamin intake. If individuals are on a low FODMAP diet for an extended period of time, stored nutrients can become low which can cause unintentional weight loss. So adequate nutrition is the first reason to start the reintroduction stage.
2. Fuel for our gut bacteria.
Some people may be aware about the good bacteria living in our gut. Our gut microbiome (gut bacteria) is so important for our health and well being. Many studies have looked into the changes in gut microbiome amongst individuals following a low FODMAP diet. Being on the diet for only four weeks has shown a reduction in gut bacteria. Let’s take a step back and think about why this is the case? Remember FODMAP foods contain the carbohydrates fructans and galacto‐oligosaccharides (GOS) which have a prebiotic effect on the body. This means they help to feed our good gut bacteria. So, by restricting these FODMAPs for a prolonged period of time, our gut microbiome will be affected. This may cause other problems including decreased immunity. Optimising gut bacteria is another reason to start the reintroduction stage.
3. Determine your triggers
Reintroducing each FODMAP one at a time back into your diet will help you determine your specific triggers. For example, you will be able to know that consuming food high in fructose may exacerbate symptoms more than foods which contain lactose. Also, it will give you an understanding of your own tolerance levels. This will assist in creating a personalised FODMAP diet with the inclusion of FODMAP foods in amounts you can tolerate.
4. Improve Quality of Life
You might be wondering how is this associated? Well going off the point above, by knowing what FODMAPs you react to and and what amounts, you will increase your food options. So next time you have a social gathering you can enjoy some high FODMAP foods that you’re able to tolerate. This will definitely make a big difference in your quality of life.
So, although we might be hesitant to consume high FODMAP foods again, it is crucial we challenge ourselves. For the reasons above and many more, if you have been on the FODMAP diet for over 6 weeks get started on the next stage with the guidance of a Dietitian.
By Tatiana Bedikian, and Amanda Gaukroger
Image sourced from Fody Foods
Start feeling better now! By signing up to The FODMAP Challenge you will receive meal plans, recipe ideas, and regular support with other resources, to make this as easy for you as possible.