Introducing Jane Cessford, a local award winning food blogger – ‘The Fat Foodie’ – and advocate of the FODMAP diet, designed for those suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Jane is also in the process of writing a cookbook, and is kindly allowing Linked Magazine to publish a few of her fab recipes.

The low FODMAP diet is a system of eating which is designed to help sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a condition which affects 15% of the population worldwide (1 in 7 people). The low FODMAP diet was discovered and developed in 1999 by a team at Monash University in Australia. Their research showed that there are a specific collection of carbohydrates, which they called FODMAPs, which cause discomfort to IBS sufferers because their bodies struggle to absorb and process them correctly within the small intestine. As a result, the undigested carbohydrates are fermented inside the large intestine, which causes fluid absorption and fermentation and therefore, IBS symptoms and discomfort.
 
These FODMAPs are:
 
Fermentable: (In which the bacteria in the gut ferments undigested carbohydrates which in turn creates gas and therefore, flatulence)
 
Oligosaccharides: (which include Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) which are found in wheat, rye, onions and garlic and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) which are found in legumes/beans and pulses)
 
Disaccharides: (Lactose which is naturally found in dairy foods, such as milk, soft cheese and yoghurt)
 
Mono-saccharide: (Fructose, a carbohydrate found in honey, apples, as well as high fructose corn syrups etc)
 
and Polyols: (Sugar polyols, such as sorbitol and mannitol, which are found in particular fruits and vegetables and can also be used in artificial sweeteners).
 
In essence, the low FODMAP diet works by limiting foods which are high in FODMAPs, thereby lowering the frequency of IBS attacks in patients. As a result, up to 75% of IBS sufferers report that following the low FODMAP diet enables them to control their symptoms.
 
The low FODMAP diet has three phases. The first is the elimination phase in which all high FODMAP foods are removed from the diet for 2 to 6 weeks and only low FODMAP foods are eaten in FODMAP-safe portion sizes. This is to wipe the slate clean of FODMAP triggers in order to help identify problematic foods in the second stage. The first stage should only be used for 2 to 6 weeks in order to ensure that long-term gut health is not affected.
 
The second stage is re-challenge and re-introduction in which your individual tolerance levels to each of the high FODMAP groups are tested. In this stage, in one week a specific FODMAP group is challenged on 2 to 3 days and your gut’s response to that particular group is monitored over the course of the week in order to determine your individual toleration levels.
 
The last stage is simply living on your own adapted low FODMAP diet.
 
Although I began the low FODMAP diet on my own it is strongly advised that you speak to your doctor before self-diagnosing IBS because there are many conditions which can be confused with IBS and it is very important to rule them out. The recipes I’ve developed were created following the FODMAP levels of Monash University’s app, so they are all low FODMAP. However, I am not a dietitian or nutritionist and cannot understate the importance of consulting your GP before commencing the diet.
Jane will be offering a few recipes for Linked magazine readers. Find Jane’s delicious FODMAP homemade Italian Beefburger with Rosemary Fries – HERE
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