You may already know that a low FODMAP diet is not a long-term diet. In fact, the initial elimination phase should only go for 2-6 weeks. During this stage, approximately 75% of IBS sufferers experience symptom improvement. Individuals should then progress to the second stage of the diet, the challenge phase. In this phase, individuals will re-challenge each FODMAP seperately. This process allows individuals to see which specific FODMAPs they react to. This stage is imperative, as most IBS sufferers will be able to tolerate some FODMAPs, and at different thresholds.
Following the challenge phase of the diet, individuals should then progress to the final stage – reintroduction. But what is the reintroduction phase? Lets take a look!
What is the reintroduction phase?
The reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet receives far less attention than the elimination and rechallenge phases. However, the reintroduction of FODMAPs following the elimination and rechallenge phases is imperative for optimal health and IBS management.
So what is it? The reintroduction phase incorporates the establishment of a modified low FODMAP diet. This is based on which FODMAPs caused a reaction during the rechallenge phase. As mentioned earlier, most individuals will be able to tolerate some FODMAPs, and are highly encouraged to reintroduce these back into the diet as soon as possible. The modified low FODMAP diet will vary between individuals and is by no means a one-size-fits-all approach.
Why is the reintroduction phase important?
There are several reasons why the reintroduction phase is important for long-term IBS management. Key reasons include:
- Optimise gut health/prevent disruptions to gut bacteria
- Achieving dietary variation and nutritional adequacy
- Reducing dietary restrictions and improving quality of life
Check out our new E-Book on Reintroducing FODMAPs for an in-depth explanation of this.
What prevents progression to the reintroduction phase?
There are many reasons behind why an individual may not progress to the final reintroduction phase of a low FODMAP diet. Some of these include:
- Fear of exacerbating symptoms again upon reintroduction of FODMAPs
- Lack of guidance/understanding on how to undertake the reintroduction phase.
- Uncertainty about what/when to reintroduction and in what quantities.
- Misunderstanding of the low FODMAP diet process
Where to next?
Fortunately, understanding and progressing to the reintroduction phase is now a lot easier with the release of our Reintroducing FODMAPs E-Book! This E-Book is designed to help take individuals through the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet. It also assists individuals in establishing their own modified FODMAP diet. It was written by Accredited Practising Dietitians Chloe McCleod (Director and Creator, The FODMAP Challenge) and Amanda Gaukroger (Dietitian, The FODMAP Challenge).
Start feeling better now! By signing up to The FODMAP Challenge you will receive meal plans, recipe ideas, and regular support with other resources, such as a private Facebook group, to make this as easy for you as possible.