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The ingenious and tasty diet that banishes digestive horrors like IBS

Mail on Sunday Reporter


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Kirsten Dunst is among those afflicted by the condition

Kirsten Dunst is among those afflicted by the condition

If you suffer from the often agonising and embarrassing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you are in good company.

Actress Kirsten Dunst and supermodel Tyra Banks are among those afflicted by the digestive condition.

Symptoms of the lifelong complaint, which affects 20 per cent of the population, include stomach cramps, wind, uncomfortable bloating and disturbed bowel patterns.

Experts believe that it’s related to increased sensitivity of the gut to certain food groups. Stress can also play a part.

However, a medically proven treatment offers relief to three-quarters of patients – the low FODMAP diet. 

And now, renowned dietician Dr Sue Shepherd, who first developed the diet, has created an easy-to-follow recipe book that makes identifying ‘trigger’ foods simple. What’s more, a low FODMAP plan has also been found to be helpful for those with other inflammatory bowel diseases, including coeliac and Crohn’s.

Sue’s recipes, some of which are published exclusively in The Mail on Sunday today, are guaranteed to satisfy the tastebuds. And they’re so good that they can be enjoyed by the whole family.

FODMAPS EXPLAINED

FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. This rather indigestible term simply refers to certain types of carbohydrates (sugars) that are not broken down and absorbed by the small intestine. 

Passing through to the bowel undigested, they are rapidly fermented by gut bacteria, draw in fluid and produce gas. In those with IBS, this can significantly exacerbate symptoms.

TRIGGER FOODS

While existing IBS treatments focus on trying to calm symptoms, such as adjusting fibre intake, the low FODMAP diet takes a more drastic approach.

First developed by Dr Shepherd in 1999, it advocates restricting FODMAP-rich foods to pinpoint those that make an individual’s symptoms worse.

High FODMAP foods that are frowned upon in the first phase of the diet include onions, mushrooms, pasta made from wheat and bread made from wheat, rye or barley. 

So too are apples, pears, peaches and natural sugar syrups such as honey.

However, ‘friendly’ foods like meat, fish, potatoes and tomatoes are still on the menu.

HOW IT WORKS

The low FODMAP diet, which should be undertaken after consulting with a doctor or dietician, has two phases. 

The first involves restricting all high FODMAP foods for six to eight weeks. The recipes here are suitable for this phase. 

The second part sees these foods being reintroduced slowly to pinpoint those to which the patient is particularly sensitive. This will help in putting together a long-term eating plan tailored to include foods they can tolerate.

DELICIOUS AND GOOD FOR YOU

Dr Shepherd – who has coeliac disease, an allergy to gluten, the protein found in wheat – hopes her book will appeal to both novice and more experienced cooks. 

She says: ‘I know how important it is to make food delicious so that nobody feels they are missing out. 

These recipes cater to those with intolerances to FODMAPs. 

They have been developed for good health and great flavour, making it easy for the whole family to enjoy a meal together.’

Readers can buy The Low FODMAP Diet Cookbook, by Dr Sue Shepherd, for £13.59 – 20 per cent off the RRP – with free pp for a limited period. 

The offer ends on January 25, 2015. Visit mailbookshop.co.uk.

THE FOODS THAT YOU SHOULD AVOID

Additives Including honey, sorbitol (often found in chewing gum) and high-fructose corn syrup.

Cereals and grains made from wheat, rye or barley Including bread, breakfast cereals, granolas and muesli, and white-based pasta, couscous and gnocchi.

Vegetables Garlic, leeks, mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, sugar snap peas, artichokes and asparagus.

Fruits Apples, apricots, cherries, figs, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, mangos and watermelon.

Legumes Beans, chickpeas and lentils.

Milk and milk products All kinds of cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk, custard, ice cream, soft cheeses and yogurt.

… But sometimes you can have these 

Fruits Cherries, lychee, pomegranate.

Nuts Almonds, hazelnuts.

Milk and milk products Cottage cheese, cream, cream cheese, creme fraiche, mascarpone, ricotta.

Vegetables Avocado, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels, butternut squash, celery, corn, fennel, green peas, savoy cabbage, sweet potato.


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