Carbohydrates may offer IBS relief: Nutritional expert

“New dietary approaches always take a while to gain total acceptance in the scientific community," nutrition consultant says.

Reducing consumption of carbohydrate foods containing naturally occurring fibres and sugars may offer almost 'instant' relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to nutrition consultant.

The concept known as the FODMAP diet (Fermentable, Oligosaccharide, Disaccharide, Monosaccharide and Polyols) was developed by Australian dietitian and digestive health expert Sue Shepherd back in 1999.

Originally designed as a dietary therapy for patients with gastrointestinal symptoms – and specifically IBS – it is now being launched into mainstream markets as a range of convenient foods under the creator's name. 

“IBS has traditionally been resistant to treatment, but the success of the FODMAP approach for many people is giving the idea impetus. Consumers living with IBS are already turning to FODMAPS in surprising numbers,” said food and nutrition consultant for New Nutrition Business, Julian Mellentin. 

Probiotic and high-fibre products targeting IBS have been launched in the past, but this is the first time food recipes have followed the guidelines of the FODMAP diet, he said. 

Niche appeal 

“New dietary approaches always take a while to gain total acceptance in the scientific community. Addressing digestive health issues is the basis of successful brands such as Activia probiotic yoghurt. Digestive health also lies at the core of why many people choose gluten-free foods,” said Mellentin. 

Mellentin estimates around five million people in Australia suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and non-celiac gluten intolerance. 

“Digestive health has been one of the biggest trends in the business of food and health for over 20 years,” he added. 

“Worldwide, the condition, depending on how it is defined, can affect up to 20% of the population, with the highest rates in the United States and the European Union and there are millions more people suffering from other digestive disorders.” 

The Sue Shepherd range includes some of the foods identified as problematic for people with IBS, including pasta sauces, soups and vegetable stocks. Products are also gluten-free, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. 

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Comments (1)

chris aylmer - 20 Jun 2014 | 03:02

Misleading/Confusing

The diet is the LOW FODMAP diet where you cut right down on the FODMAPs like oligosaccharides, dissacharides, monosaccharides, insoluble fibres, glutens, The title suggests that eating carbohydrates is the key, whereas it is leaving out the offending carbohydrates that is important. To me it's the same old story about wheat and dairy being the baddies and gluten intolerance being a main factor. Leave out wheat and dairy and all will be fine. This idea has been around for decades. Every supermarket now has a "free from" section, mainly concerned with gluten-free products, yet it has not solved IBS. If it helps those with IBS and other gut problems then it is obviously good news. Try it, I hope it works. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

20-Jun-2014 at 15:02 GMT

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