Low FODMAP is an extreme exclusion diet addressing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients. It recommends that you avoid the intake of fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols for a certain period of time followed by a stepwise reintroduction. The approach was developed in 2005, when the importance of the gut microbiota for health and well-being was not yet well known. Today’s evidence shows that the microbiota of IBS patients is out of balance. Prebiotics are capable of promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and regulating an unbalanced microbiota composition. Inulin and oligofructose from the chicory root belong to the few proven prebiotics. They are well tolerated and may even reduce gas in people with a hypersensitive gut. There are several systematic reviews and meta-analyses evaluating the efficacy of a low FODMAP diet, concluding that there is very low quality evidence that a low FODMAP diet is effective in reducing symptoms in IBS patients (Dionne et al, 2018; Schuhmann et al, 2018; Krogsgaard et al, 2017). Prebiotic chicory root fiber with their power to positively influence the microbiota may be supportive for IBS patients. You should also be aware that FODMAPs are found in many healthy foods, e.g. in fruits such as apples, bananas and in vegetables such as cabbage and onions. FODMAPs may also be found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. To exclude these foods from your diet entirely may even lead to nutrient deficiencies over time. It’s time to start rethinking!
Throughout the world, studies have shown that babies fed with infant formula that has been supplemented with non-digestible fiber, such as fiber made from the chicory root, have shown to develop a bifidobacteria count that more closely resembles that of breastfed infants.