For many people who start out on a low FODMAP diet, when the time comes to do the challenges, they start to feel apprehensive. They don’t want to feel worse again, after finally feeling better! For others, they are sometimes so keen to get back into it, the challenges end up rushed, and it is hard to tell what has actually happened.
So, exactly what is the importance of FODMAP challenges?
For this reason, we recommend following a structured plan to make the process as easy for you as possible.
But why do you need to do the challenges?
The key reason is so that you know what it is you're reacting to. Most people do not react to all the high FODMAP groups of foods. Identifying these means that we can reintroduce the groups of foods you didn’t react to, then determine how much of those you did react to you are able to tolerate. Long term, your life will be easier for the following reasons:
- Most people with IBS are able to reintroduce high FODMAP foods and maintain good symptom control. This means more control over your symptoms, and easier to make informed choices when not in control of food choices.
- Liberalising FODMAP intake avoids unnecessary food restrictions and helps to ensure that your diet meets your nutritional needs, and includes a wider variety of foods.
- Many high FODMAP foods are also high in prebiotics, compounds which provide food for the healthy bacteria that are found in your gut. Research indicates that long term avoidance of these may affect the health of your bacteria, and your gut.
So, while it can seem like quite a tough task completing the FODMAP challenges, in the long term the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, and it will lead to you living a happier, healthier life where you don't miss out on all those yummy foods.