The Low FODMAP diet; treating irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is experienced by approximately 30% of people at some point in their life. It accounts for up to 20% of all referrals to gastroenterologists. It is both a complex and multifaceted condition. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain and discomfort, constipation and/or diarrhoea, flatulence, urgency to defecate and a sense of incomplete evacuation.

Until recently, treatment for IBS was unsatisfactory. However a new approach to dietary relief of IBS symptoms is being implemented. Fortunately the dublin nutrition centre has travelled to Kings College London to undertake the necessary course to help people implement this novel ‘Low FODMAP’ diet.

So what is a low FODMAP diet? Food is made of many components including protein, fat and carbohydrates. Recent research has shown that some carbohydrates may contribute to IBS. The acronym ‘FODMAP; is used to describe a previously unrelated group of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols. A low FODMAP diet that is tailored to you and your symptoms can help alleviate diarrhoea, bloating, pain, wind and constipation in 3 out of 4 people.

The science behind this diet makes a lot of sense. Basically these carbohydrates do not get absorbed in the small bowel thereby passing along the gut and into the large bowel untouched. When they pass through the small bowel they draw water into the bowel resulting in diarrhoea. When they make their way into large bowel, ‘good bacteria’ readily breakdown these carbohydrates creating gas and leading to distension. This potentially results in symptom induction like wind, bloating and altered stool consistency.

Although the FODMAP diet is considered by some to be complicated, we are trained to make it as easy as possible for people and help make sure a healthy and balanced diet is maintained throughout. If you are struggling with IBS we maybe able to help you, check out www.dnc.ie or call us at 01-6398852 or fill out our online contact us form

No need for salt to make food taste better

We are regularly told that too much salt is bad for us and that we should try to cut down on it. Yet, many people keep their saltshaker beside the pepper grinder on their dining table! Why are people reluctant to let salt go? Well it may be because they do not understand why salt is so bad for us… or maybe they feel that they will miss the taste…well read on to learn more…

Let me explain: Excessive salt in our diet raises blood pressure. Raised blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks and even kidney disease…. And yes, you will notice the taste difference when you cut down on salt initially. However, our taste buds adapt quickly to this change. Plus, there are many alternatives to salt which better complement the taste of our food…. Also since your taste buds will work at their best when you cut down on salt, you will be able to taste and enjoy food even more than before!

So why not try one or a combination of these alternatives when cooking without salt;
1. Meat – allspice, dry mustard, mint, garlic, rosemary, apple, paprika, ground ginger or pesto.
2. Pork – serve with stewed apple or cook with fennel, garlic, onion, oregano or sage.
3. Chicken – lemon, pineapple, ginger, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme, sage and paprika.
4. Fish – lime, vinegar, dill, lemon, pesto, paprika, dry mustard, marjoram….
5. Beef – garlic, mushrooms, onions, bay leaves, marjoram, nutmeg, sage and thyme.
6. Lamb – garlic, rosemary, mint or curry powder.
7. Eggs – chives, parsley, tarragon or paprika powder.
8. Potatoes – scallions, chives, garlic, dill, onion, paprika, parsley and sage.
9. Rice – scallions, chives, nutmeg, cloves, or coriander.
10. Pasta – omit the salt and use basil, oregano, parsley and some pepper.
11. Veg – cayenne pepper, thyme, mint, sesame seeds, nutmeg or dill.
12. And remember: Black and white pepper are just delicious with all savoury dishes!

New Year, New You

The most popular New Year’s resolutions include drinking less alcohol, getting fit and eating healthier food … Fortunately these three resolutions lead on to one of the most popular resolutions….losing weight. For this reason, let me explain how to make these into sensible goals…

Drink less alcohol
The government’s guidelines on sensible drinking advise no more than 21 units per week for a man (and a max of 3-4units of alcohol per day) and no more than 14 units per weel for women (thats a max of 2-3units per day). So what does this equal in terms of alcoholic drinks?
One unit; 1 pub measure of spirit,
1 small bottle of alcopop,
half pint of 4% lager/beer or cider
A small glass of wine

Remember: To lose 1stone by this time next year you need to eat and/or drink just 135 calories less per day. That’s equivalent to approximately a gin and tonic, rum and coke, a large glass of wine, half a pint of cider or lager.

Getting fit
The government’s guidelines on physical activity suggest at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. These guidelines are a minimum: some exercise is better than none but more is better than some! You can count shorter bouts of activity towards reaching these goals e.g. 3×10minutes of brisk walking. Also, with moderate activity you should be able to hold a conversation so for extra support and encouragement, exercise with a family member or a friend.

Remember: To lose 1 stone in 6 months, you need to eat and/or drink 135 calories less per day and burn 135 calories extra per day. So by drinking less alcohol and doing more physical activity, you will be much closer to your overall goal.

Eating healthier
One of the easiest ways to improve your overall health and diet is to add some colour to your plate! But why do you need to base your diet on fruits and vegetables? There are so many reasons….to provide vitamins and minerals to keep our body running at its best,
water to keep us hydrated, fibre to help maintain digestive health, potassium to help maintain healthy blood pressure,
magnesium which is necessary for healthy bones, muscles and for healthy blood pressure, folate to help the body form healthy red blood cells and phytochemicals which reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

Every day we are bombarded with conflicting information! However, eating healthier doesn’t have to be confusing…. Dietitians are the only healthcare professionals that are qualified to assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems. So for consistent advice that is based on the most up-to-date scientific evidence, make an appointment with a Dietitian at the dublin nutrition centre today!