When is it time to reintroduce FODMAPs? (3 simple ways to know!)
When you start the FODMAP Diet, the goal is to hit the reset button on your body by eliminating as many high-FODMAP foods as possible.
But how do you know when it’s time move out of that restrictive phase and bring FODMAPs back into your diet?
It’s not about a certain period of time, and it’s definitely not about being 100% symptom-free.
Instead there are 3 specific factors that let you know when to test your FODMAP tolerance so you can eventually enjoy a whole lot more variety in your diet.
To go in depth on this topic, watch this episode of Calm Belly TV. I cover the 3 factors in about the first 10 minutes, but if you’re not pressed for time there are some great Q&As from the live viewers!
You can also read the key points from the video below!
When is it time to reintroduce FODMAPs?
#1 You've seen consistent improvement in your IBS symptoms
- You don’t have experience 100% improvement in symptoms
- 75% improvement is awesome, 50% is still great
- At 50-75% improvement you feel well enough to easily recognize reactions to high-FODMAP foods when you test them
- If you do the elimination phase for 6 to 8 weeks, feeling that level of symptom relief for about a 4-week period qualifies as consistent
#2 You've identified and learned to manage other factors that affect digestion
- Other factors include stress in all its forms, hormonal fluctuations, exercise level, the overall volume of food you eat, the timing of meals, or how fast you eat
- Your goal during the FODMAP testing phase is to keep your IBS symptoms as well-controlled as possible, so mastering those other factors is an important part of the elimination phase
- Becoming more aware of your body and what it needs (NOT a common skill!) is one of the great side effects of the elimination phase
#3 You have a black belt in taking FODMAPs out of your diet
In other words, you’re really good at doing the elimination phase, and you know what your body feels like when you have maximum symptom control.
This is important so you can easily recognize reactions when you test high-FODMAP foods >>> You need to know which ones are truly triggering your symptoms AND which ones are not.
Here’s what a black belt in FODMAP looks like:
- You know you’re not missing any hidden FODMAPs in your meals
- You understand how portion sizes impact FODMAP load
- You know where sneaky FODMAPs can hide in restaurant meals
- You’re great at checking ingredients lists
- You’re super-comfortable using the Monash app
- You’ve got plenty of tasty go-to meals and snacks
>>> All of the above means you’ll be able to easily test your FODMAP tolerance for those high-FODMAP foods without the stress of what to eat the rest of the time. It’s also a helpful skill because you can fall back on it during stressful times or health challenges that might come up in the future.
If you can check off the 3 items above, it’s time to move onto the reintroduction phase and test your personal tolerance to the various types of FODMAPs.
Most people with IBS can add certain high-FODMAP foods and categories back to their diets and still feel great. But the only way to know which FODMAPs are your friends is to test!