Achieving digestive health can be a complex and long process. There are seemingly infinite messages, solutions and approaches promoted online and in the media that promise the secret to “gut health.” Working with an experienced, credentialed healthcare provider is important to properly figure out your food intolerances and figure out if and how the low FODMAP diet is right for you.
A Registered Dietitian (RD) will help you correctly identify FODMAP triggers, maximize your fiber and nutrient intake and ensure dietary restrictions don’t dampen your social and psychological wellbeing. Plus, thanks to our partnership with Nourish, you can use your insurance to see an RD on their team of gut health dietitians in-network.
What is a Registered Dietitian (RD)?
RDs and RDNs are experts in assessing, diagnosing, and treating nutritional problems based on individual needs and they play a pivotal role in providing personalized dietary interventions.
While anyone can call themself a “nutritionist,” only a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) has completed the multiple steps of education and clinical training established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). An RD or RDN must take a specially designed, accredited nutrition curriculum, complete an extensive supervised program at a healthcare facility or organization and pass a rigorous registration exam.
The Low FODMAP Diet & Risks
The Low FODMAP Diet Explained
The low FODMAP diet is an evidence-based, three-step approach designed to identify trigger foods that may contribute to intermittent gastrointestinal symptoms like constipation, diarrhea bloating, gas and abdominal pain.
FODMAPs is an acronym that stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides Monosaccharides, And Polyols. FODMAPs are certain types of short chain and long chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small and large intestine. When long chain FODMAP carbohydrates, like oligosaccharides, arrive in the large intestine they’re fermented by gut bacteria, which creates bloating, gas and other digestive symptoms. Short chain FODMAP carbohydrates and sugar alcohols, like fructose and polyols, are also osmotic, meaning they can also draw water into the large intestine, further triggering gut issues.
The low FODMAP diet helps identify personal FODMAP triggers and tolerance levels. With proper implementation, the low FODMAP diet will help you learn to swap low FODMAP foods in place of high FODMAP triggers to manage digestive symptoms related to FODMAP intolerance.
Phase I: FODMAP Elimination
Phase one, called the elimination phase, involves restricting all high FODMAP foods to assess how your symptoms respond. Excessive-restriction of FODMAP food groups, like dairy, whole grains, fruit and vegetables without addition of suitable substitutes poses nutritional risks and may reduce your intake of calcium, iron, fiber, vitamins or protein. Plus, the low FODMAP diet can limit your social life and increase food costs, so you only want to stay in the elimination phase as long as it takes to understand if limiting FODMAPs improves digestive symptoms.
Phase II: Reintroduction
If symptoms improve during phase one, it's safe to conclude some or all of the FODMAP foods you cut out may be the cause of digestive troubles. Phase two, or the reintroduction phase, involves systematically challenging each FODMAP group to learn your personal tolerance levels for each FODMAP category. When the reintroduction phase is not implemented correctly, it can be difficult to reach conclusive results on what your personal triggers and tolerance levels are.
Phase II: Personalization
Lastly, in the third phase, called the personalization phase, you’ll establish your long-term, individualized FODMAP diet. This will be based on the unique food triggers and tolerances you learned in phase two. This step is highly important to ensure you meet your nutritional needs long-term and can enjoy all the social and gastronomical pleasure food has to offer (while limiting your digestive issues, of course!).
Benefits of Working with an RD for the low FODMAP Diet
FODMAPs are found in foods like garlic, onion, wheat, beans, bananas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, lactose-containing dairy and so much more and they’re notoriously difficult to avoid. Plus, high FODMAP foods are not only everywhere in the average diet, they’re also among the most nutrition dense.
A Personalized Approach
An RD will help you identify the FODMAP containing foods in your diet and identify nutritious, appropriate foods to take their place. A low FODMAP diet does not mean chicken, rice and eggs will become the only foods on your plate. Every individual's body and needs are unique.
Recording what you eat and how you feel in a food diary during the low FODMAP phases provides valuable insights into triggers and tolerated portions. An RD can help you analyze the diary, pinpointing foods that might be causing issues and suggesting modifications. Food diaries can easily lead to obsession over foods and symptoms, so an RD is vital in keeping things in perspective so you can focus on the diet modifications that matter.
After you identify triggers, an RD will craft a personalized meal plan that not only limits your FODMAP triggers but also considers your food preferences, lifestyle, and any other health conditions.
Reduce Stress of Low FODMAP
Plus, the low FODMAP diet is stressful. There’s a reason RDs go through years of advanced training before they start counseling on the low FODMAP diet. Avoiding FODMAPs is complex and time consuming. An RD will help ensure you receive ongoing support and guidance to make your low FODMAP journey smooth and anxiety-free.
Adhering to a new diet can be challenging. Having an RD by your side ensures you receive ongoing support and guidance, making the journey smoother.
Research also suggests seeking guidance from an RD to assess your GI symptoms and food intolerances leads to better results. Those who work with an experienced dietitian find the low FODMAP diet easier to understand and stick to, plus they see far greater benefits for digestive health.
Build your Digestive Health Toolkit with RD
An RD will help you identify all the right tools to include in your digestive health arsenal. Whether it's occasional bloating and pain or intermittent diarrhea and constipation an RD will help you figure out diet and non-diet strategies to control symptoms and keep your bowel habits regular. Wondering if FODZYME should be in your gut health toolkit? Get started with an RD at Nourish today.
How to Work with a FODMAP Trained RD
While the primary aim might be to manage gastrointestinal symptoms, an RD can guide you in making wholesome food choices that not only help manage digestive issues but also improve your overall health.
Working with an RD when navigating the low FODMAP diet means you get one-on-one personalized advice, support and resources to relax and focus on your health.
Need help navigating the low FODMAP Diet?
Find a registered dietitian with Nourish that specializes in gut health and digestive conditions. Their team of gut health RDs can help you make sense of the low FODMAP diet, provide recipes, and create a meal plan to fit your lifestyle.
Get personalized care using telehealth to meet with your registered dietitian wherever you are, covered by most insurances in the US. Plus, Nourish dietitians are trained in how to use FODZYME to enjoy the foods and cuisines you love without worry of digestive distress.
Feast freely without the fear of digestive drama with Nourish & FODZYME.