Can I eat prebiotics on a low FODMAP diet for IBS?

Hi everyone,

Todays post covers a question I get asked A LOT!

Many people who suffer from gastro-intestinal issues such as gas, bloating or diarrhoea find that the foods rich in prebiotics, and in particular, fructan containing prebiotics (FOS and inulin) enhance the issues and pain that they are already experiencing as part of their diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

  • Think onions, garlic, leek, or foods fortified with chicory root fiber / inulin.

The problem here is that if you completely remove the prebiotic fibres from your diet, you are not assisting the beneficial bacteria strains to grow and strengthen (which in the long term is likely to help reduce the negative gastro-intestinal side effects you are experiencing).

prebiotic health benefits

Ref: http://www.teknoscienze.com/Contents/Riviste/Sfogliatore/PREBIOTICS-PROBIOTICS_2016/files/assets/basic-html/page8.html

 

Building up a tolerance slowly is the key here;

I would always recommend working with a personal practitioner, and not trying to go at this alone (or with doctor google!).

A practitioner who specialises in gut health can assess which particular strains of bacteria you need to enhance (potentially via probiotic supplementation), as well as assist in administrating a regime to build up your prebiotic fibre intake gradually.

i.e It would not be recommended to try and consume the suggested overall guideline of:

  • 5-20g (approximately) per day of prebiotic fibre, or
  • 20g of resistant starch per day

Rather, starting with a small amount such as 5g, and ensuring no other trigger FODMAP containing foods are consumed in conjunction with these prebiotic rich foods (or supplements), and then building up your intake slowly over time, could be more suitable.

explore cuisine travelling dietitian prebiotic fiber

Mung bean and edamame fettuccini from Explore Cuisine contains resistant starch which can be brought in slowly to the diet

This growth of the beneficial bifidobacteria and lactobacillus bacteria may assist in reducing the severity of the pain associated with IBS, and ultimately result in a wider range of foods being tolerated without issue in the long run.

For further information on what exactly prebiotics are, and the types of benefits they can provide, check out this earlier post.

Until next time,

TD x

About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in NYC. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, barre and HIIT class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea on how to make this world a healthier and better place.