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!

Here’s a few interesting health facts for men!

1. Looking after your heart…Eat your greens.

There are many steps involved in keeping your heart health…one of them is to include something green in your diet daily. An emerging risk factor for developing heart disease is a high level of an amino acid in the blood called homocysteine. It can be caused by a genetic defect whereby the body has difficulty breaking it down but more commonly it is as a result of a diet low in vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate. There are two ways of increasing your B vitamin intake; one is to take a dietary supplement and the other way is to increase your dietary intake. We’ve all heard it before but eating more fruits and vegetables especially dark green ones will help your heart. Not only do fruit and vegetables contain vitamins A and C but they are also great sources of dietary folate. Other good dietary sources include beans, pulses, fortified cereals and dairy. The easiest way to up your folate intake is to ensure you eat something green everyday.

2. To busy to eat?

When work is manic and you find you’re self skipping meals you can only function for so long. Skipping meals will eventually catch up on you and result in you being run-down, tired, wont’ help your waist line and will probably leave you a little grumpy. Time management is important in all aspects of our health but did you know that working more than 10 hours per day can increase your risk of heart attack by 60%? This is probably as a result of increased stress, poor activity levels and a poor diet. The key thing to do is ensure a good healthy breakfast, stock up on healthy snacks and have a good dinner when you get home. Having a good stock of snacks in the office or in your car will help tide you over if you miss lunch or think that dinner will be a late one. Yogurts, fruit, nuts, popcorn, rice-cakes, oatcakes, peanut butter, dried fruit and fruit smoothies will provide some nutrition whilst bridging the long gaps between meals. Manage your eating times as you manage your meetings. Remember the body needs to be fueled every 3-4 hours or else you are asking it to run on empty…you wouldn’t expect a car to run without fuel so why should you? Lastly, keep well hydrated and drink plenty of water. Water helps transport nutrients around the body and will help keep you alert. So try to remember be organised, snack and water…it will probably improve your performance.

3. Prostate health; A tomato a day might keep the doctor away

Several studies have suggested that dietary consumption of foods rich in lycopene is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit & blood oranges. Tomato products are the best source of lycopene. This is probably one of the few times when processing a food actually enhances the availability and absorption of lycopenes. That actually means that tomato soup, tinned tomatoes, tomato ketchup and more can actually benefit the heart whilst protecting men against prostate cancer. That actually means that tomato soup, tinned tomatoes, tomato ketchup and more can actually benefit the heart whilst protecting men against prostate cancer. Another good hint is the redder the tomato the better. Lycopene is in the skin of the tomato and very red tomatoes can contain up to 50% more lycopene, it is also fat soluble so that means you should leave the skin on and cook in a little olive oil to maximize absorption.

4. What’s the best food to eat before the gym?

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just keep fit you need to fuel the body before exercise to maximise results. The timing of your gym trip is important too…if you usually pop to the gym after work you should try to have a snack about 1-2 hours beforehand. Good snacks include those which have a slow release of energy. Have some complex carbohydrate foods between 1 and 4 hours before exercise. 
Pre-exercise meals should be mainly composed of “slow-burning” complex carbs, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, rice, pasta, and cereals. Given that they are your body’s main source of energy, 65% to 70% of the total calories of your pre-workout meal should come from carbs. Complex carbs take longer to convert to glucose, which will keep your blood sugar level consistent and prevent you from having an energy crash in the middle of your workout.


Another factor in deciding what to eat is the amount of time between your meal and your workout. A big meal of 1,000 to 1,500 calories takes three to four hours to digest and convert into energy, whereas a smaller meal of about 600 calories will take two to three hours. A small snack under 300 calories will only take about an hour.

5. Are oysters just an aphrodisiac or is there more to it?

We’ve all heard about oysters the aphrodisiac but did you know there’s science behind it? Oysters are actually a great source of zinc which plays an important role in sperm production and function. But if eating oysters every night doesn’t sound too appealing other good dietary sources if zinc includes nuts, seeds, dairy and meat. So having some milk on your cereal, a snack of some nuts and some meat with your could actually help improve your fertility.

Running the marathon? Here’s some healthy tips

Good nutrition is essential for performance. The food you eat fuels exercise and getting the right balance can help give you the upper hand. Both athletes and non-athletes need the same nutrients…but they need to consume them in different quantities and proportions.

 Carbohydrates are the sugars present in sugars, cereal grains, fruits and vegetables and they are the preferred source of fuel for working muscles. Your body must break down carbohydrates in order to turn them into glucose (blood sugar). Inadequate carbohydrate intake will result in tiredness and impaired performance. A marathon runner’s diet needs to be carbohydrate rich and carbohydrates should make up 60-70% of their total calorie intake. Wholegrains, pasta, rice, potatoes and oats are the best choices and will provide powerful fuel for muscles and help restocking of muscle fuel after exercise.

 How much carbohydrate do I need? To find how much carbohydrate you need to consume daily multiply your weight in kg by 7. That will tell you how many grams of carbohydrate you need daily.

 The glycaemic index (GI) refers to how quickly a carbohydrate food is converted to sugar in the blood after consumption. Low GI carbohydrates like oats, pasta and wholegrain give a slow release of energy and are the best choices at a mealtime. Whereas high GI carbohydrates, like biscuits, jellies, sports drinks, rapidly boost blood sugar levels and are the best choices immediately after training.

 Although vitamins and minerals do not provide any energy, there are essential in helping the body breakdown proteins and carbohydrates and help you perform efficiently and effectively. Eating a varied balanced diet including lots of fruit and vegetables will ensure that you meet your requirements. If you do choose to take vitamin supplements avoid very high doses.

 Fluid is critical for performance and dehydration can lead to tiredness, impaired performance and cramps. Prehydration is just as important as rehydration so drink lots on the days you are not working out too. Sports drinks are generally recommended for a work out of longer than one hour.

 Fluid guidelines…Aim to drink 500 mls about 15-20 minutes before exercise. Sip 120-150 mils every 15-20 minutes during exercise and drink 500 mls or more afterwards. During hot weather you may need to drink more

 To check you are drinking enough…Weigh yourself undressed before and after exercise. Try to keep weight loss below 0.5 kg by increasing fluid intake during exercise. After exercise you must drink 1.5 litres of fluid for each kg of weight lost.

 Protein; a good protein intake is important for any marathon runner, approximately 15-20 % of overall calorie intake. Protein is necessary for growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissue. The best sources of protein include lean meat, poultry, fish, pulses, nuts, seeds, eggs and low fat cheese. Vegetarians need to rake extra are to ensure they are meeting their protein requirements. Always have a protein rich food at 2 or more meals per day. To work out how grams of protein you need daily when training for a marathon multiply your weight in kg by 1.3