Core is excited about recent research on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) from Professor Kevin Whelan, at King’s College London.
IBS affects 1 in 7 of the world population (5 million adults in the UK) and thoseaffected often have few options to help them. A special diet pioneered by Monash University in Australia, known as the Low FODMAP Diet, has been shown to help some people with IBS.
The diet is complex and restrictive, can be difficult to follow, and needs to be implemented with the help of a health professional, such as an experienced dietitian, but it can help IBS symptoms for some people. However, not everyone with IBS benefits from this diet, so in this context Professor Whelan’s recent research shows great promise.
Professor Whelan had previously shown that three quarters of people receiving guidance on the Low FODMAP Diet from a health professional perceived benefits in their IBS symptoms. And recently, working in collaboration with researchers from Liverpool, Prof Whelan has developed a test that can identify which IBS sufferers will respond to the Low FODMAP Diet, and which ones will not – and hence might not benefit from following it.
The Low FODMAP Diet minimises the intake of certain substances found in particular foods, such as various fruits and vegetables as well as wheat and dairy products. The label ‘FODMAP’ stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols; these are different types of sugars, more or less complex in structure. Some people with IBS struggle to digest and absorb these sugars, which means they pass right through their gut and cause gut problems, such as diarrhoea, pain and boating, or constipation. The Low FODMAP Diet aims to minimise the intake of foods that are high in these sugars, to see whether IBS symptoms improve.
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