When gut symptoms improve on low-FODMAP diet, the next step is to gradually re-introduce high-FODMAP foods to see which of them (and how much of them) is tolerated. Re-introducing foods in this way is called a ‘challenge’.
This will help ensure your diet is as varied as possible, by showing you which FODMAPs you can eat and which ones to avoid.
How do I challenge with a food?
There are five types of FODMAPs to challenge your gut with. Keep a record of those you reintroduce (using the downloadable diaries) and see how your gut responds.
The entire challenge stage can take 3-8 weeks to complete.
Start with the Fructan FODMAP…
1. Fructan FODMAP (9-day challenge)
2. Fructose FODMAP (3-day challenge)
3. Polyol FODMAP (3-day challenge)
4. Galactan FODMAP (3-day challenge)
5. Lactose FODMAP (3-day challenge)
What do I actually have to do?
Download the diary sheets for each FODMAP from the menu options next to this tab.
Eat a serving of each FODMAP food (listed in the diary) for 3 consecutive days and ‘listen’ to your body to see whether or not each one tested causes your IBS symptoms to return.
What do I do if my symptoms return?
Stop eating the FODMAP food you believe to have caused the symptoms, then after the symptoms have improved for 3 days, move on to the next FODMAP food.
What do I do after the challenge?
Eat, enjoy…and be aware! Some of the FructanFODMAPs and Galactan FODMAPs not included in the challenge might be a symptom ‘trigger’ for you – knowing what you eat will help you identify the trigger FODMAP food.
You may find that your gut is okay with a small amount of a FODMAP food occasionally. ‘Listen’ to your body and make mental notes of the absence or presence of symptoms after you eat a FODMAP food (intentionally or accidentally).
Small amounts of FODMAP foods can have an additive effect if eaten on the same day, so be careful not to have lots of small amounts of different FODMAP foods.
Fructan challenge – takes at least 9 days
Testing: white bread, onion and garlic.
If you get symptoms after eating a test food, stop eating it and wait 3 symptom-free days before trying the next test food.
Fructose and Polyol challenge – takes at least 6 days
Testing: (a) honey and then (b) apricots or appleor pear
If you get symptoms after eating honey, stop eating it and wait 3 symptom-free days before eating a test fruit.
Galactan and Lactose challenge – takes at least 6 days
Testing: (a) peas or beans or lentils and (b) milk
If you get symptoms after eating peas, beans or lentils, stop eating them and wait 3 symptom-free days before testing milk.