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Low FODMAP diet on ICGP meeting agenda

By Dermot - 18th Nov 2015

Dietitian and clinical nutritionist Ms Niamh O’Connor will outline how this diet may be used for symptom management in patients with a number of gastrointestinal disorders.

<p class=”NoParagraphStyle”>FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates such as fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides, polyols, fructose and lactose that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine.

<p class=”NoParagraphStyle”>The low FODMAP diet was developed by researchers at Monash University, Australia, who provided the first evidence this diet can improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.

<p class=”NoParagraphStyle”>“The original research focussed mainly on IBS patients,” Ms O’Connor told the <strong><em>Medical Independent</em></strong> (<strong><em>MI</em></strong>). “For some people, ingestion of FODMAPs leads to changes in fluid content and bacterial fermentation in the colon triggering gut symptoms, such as those found in IBS. A diet low in fermentable short chain FODMAP carbohydrates has been shown to be clinically effective in treating the symptoms of disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.”

<p class=”NoParagraphStyle”>Ms O’Connor, who works with a GP practice in Cork, told <strong><em>MI</em></strong> she regularly receives patient referrals from a significant number of other GPs and gastrointestinal specialists.

<p class=”NoParagraphStyle”>She said the diet, when dietitian-led, is scientifically established as being clinically effective in the treatment of IBS.

<p class=”NoParagraphStyle”>While some doctors may be sceptical, especially as patients often self-diagnose IBS and may present with various diets gleaned from the Internet, she said it was “most certainly different, as it is evidence-based”.

<p class=”NoParagraphStyle”>According to Ms O’Connor, diagnosis of IBS should be made by a medical practitioner. She added that the diet was  most effective when carefully implemented and supervised by a registered dietitian, who has also completed an accredited FODMAP training course.

<p class=”NoParagraphStyle”>“Only a handful of dietitians in Ireland have been trained to deliver this evidence-based therapeutic programme, and most of these work in private practice,” she noted. 

<p class=”NoParagraphStyle”>The ICGP Winter Meeting takes place at the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, on Saturday, 28 November. See www.icgp.ie for further details.

There will be full coverage of the event in a future issue of this newspaper.

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