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Allergies and Intolerances

Diet and IBS. what’s the latest?

One of the most common type of referrals to Private Practice Dietitians is for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Can diet help? and what are Dietitians advising patients these days?

Following general healthy eating advice and alterations in the fibre content of the diet, the two other main approaches utilised by Dietitians in Australia are:

  • The Elimination Diet (developed by Royal Prince Alfred Hospital/RPAH) and
  • The FODMAPs approach (developed by Monash University)

The Elimination Diet

Many health professionals are aware of the Elimination or Exclusion Diet. Often used for patients with diagnosed food allergies or intolerances, this approach can be utilised for relief of IBS symptoms. The diet works by:

  1. Following an Elimination Diet for a set number of weeks(this can be free of dairy, wheat, eggs, soy, seafood, nuts, natural food chemicals, food additives or a combination of these)
  2. If there is a relief in symptoms, a systematic reintroduction (or challenges) approach is used to ascertain the “problem foods”.  Once knowing the “problem foods”, quantities patients are able to tolerate will be explored.

More information on the Elimination Diet can be accessed from RPAH’s allergy unit website: www.allergy.net.au

The FODMAPs Approach

Recent research has centred around poorly absorbed short chain carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (fermentable, oligo-saccharides, di-saccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols). More and more foods are being tested at Monash University for their FODMAP content.
The basis behind this research is that foods high in FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in the intestine and result in fermentation by bacteria to produce gases such as hydrogen and methane.

The FODMAPs approach generally involves a period of Elimination of high FODMAP foods followed (just as in the Elimination Diet), by a systematic reintroduction to ascertain which FODMAP foods and in what quantities are tolerated by a patient.

More information on the FODMAPs Diet can be found at the following link: www.med.monash.edu.au