Why FODMAP has different results among IBS patients?

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Dr. Abadullah Sajid Bashir

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder, In which the patient has to face many complications. The patient is always trying to minimize the complications that he has due to IBS. Its symptoms include pain in the stomach, cramping in the intestines, heartburn, indigestion and gas. Due to these symptoms, the patient cannot live his life easily and also can suffers from mental anxiety.

Every patient of IBS shows different symptoms. This disease can remains with the patient throughout his life. But the patients who consumes favorable diet, as well as adjust his life style according to need of IBS symptoms, he/she can reduce their symptoms. 

Apart from upper discussion, the patient also uses different procedures to reduce these symptoms. For example, selected food, he keeps himself busy with work, exercise, etc. Now the important thing is that to select a relevant food that favors to IBS patient.

Food selection

Every human needs energy and energy to survive and to get this energy they try to consume different types of food. The food that anyone eat contains lipids, proteins and carbohydrates that provide energy to the human body. 

Therefore, every person has to be very careful in the selection of food. A person should avoid such foods that cannot maintain his metabolism, for example, people should avoid such foods that cause various types of disorders, for example, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc. [1]Dietary Options in Irritable Bowel Syndrome | Pakistan BioMedical Journal (pakistanbmj.com)

Similarly, IBS patients also need to be very careful in the selection of food. Patients of this disease should use such food that keeps their digestive system correct and does not cause complications.

What is a FODMAP?

A type of food that contains short chain carbohydrates i.e. sugar which can be digested by the small eye but cannot be fully absorbed is called FODMAP.

In addition, such food is called FODMAP, which contains a lot of sugar. And it is a sugar that reacts with bacteria as soon as it enters the intestines and causes the process of fermentation. This fermentation. Due to the presence of bacteria, gas is produced and can causes trouble and anxiety for the human being. [2]FODMAP Diet: What You Need to Know | Johns Hopkins Medicine

There are two types of FODMAP diet

  • Low FODMAP diet
  • High FODMAP diet

Low FODMAP diet

A food that contains less fermentable sugars and carbohydrates. And shoes less symptoms of IBS. For example Oranges, Grapes, Banana, Carrot, Lemon, Tomato, strawberries and bananas.

High FODMAP diet

A food that contains a lot of high fermentable sugars and carbohydrates sugar and cause a lot of gas and discomfort in humans. For example, apples, pears


IBS is such a disease. In which the patient does not die, but he must face difficulty in his normal life. He cannot live his life well. Its symptoms include diarrhoea, constipation and gas etc. It has three types IBS-C, IBS-D and IBS-M.

Whereas a FODMAP is a food that contains a high amount of sugar and causes gas and cramping in intestines. Gas and indigestion are symptoms of IBS and suffer a lot of discomfort, so, for IBS patients, selection of food content according to FODMAP is very necessary.  A FODMAP in which an IBS patient needs a diet that causes the least symptoms is low FODMAP. so, the patient is always looking for such food, which is low FODMAP.

Considering the FODMAP, a question that arises is whether a diet that is suitable for one patient of IBS can also be suitable for another patient.

It is never possible that a food containing a FODMAP is suitable for an IBS patient, but when the same food is used by another IBS patient.

Different opinions are given in response to this question. But we explain this question with example.

Strawberry is a fruit and this fruit has a low FODMAP. It has been observed that IBS patients with constipation. If he eats, his constipation ends and gas is not produced usually and it is suitable for him. While the same food i.e., strawberries, if eaten by another IBS patient who has diarrhoea, his discomfort increases and gas may produced. Both of these people were IBS patients. They used the same diet. But it was favorable for one but it caused suffering for the other.

So this shows that one diet does not give the same result for IBS patients.

Apart from this, some important points should be kept in mind as to why this diet gives different results for both patients. Following view points can be considered.

Factors that can be consider of IBS symptoms


If we talk about temperature, those people who live in hot areas. Dehydration is more common in them because the heat causes a lot of water loss and the moisture in the food is also reduced. So they get constipated. But people who live in cold regions and consume normal amounts of water also have a balanced amount of water inside them. So they may not be constipated usually.

Method of consuming or cooking food

Within each country, the same vegetable  is cooked in different ways. For example, bitter gourd is a vegetable that people can eat by boiling and frying in oil. Similarly, a big factor is use of black and red pepper while cooking any vegetable. Red pepper is not more favorable in IBS as compare to black. so that the regions where red pepper is common the possibility of having IBS symptoms become high. This results in different results for different patients. 

Body metabolism

Each patients has its own body metabolism. In addition, how is his digestive system, that his system rejects food quickly or digests food late.

Now IBS patients think about what kind of food they should eat which will minimize the symptoms and also reduce the amount of disturbing sugar in it.

The best solution is for the patient to stop eating all the things that were or were not suitable for him. On an empty stomach, eat one meal a day and see the results, then eat second and than the rest of the food and see the results. Stop eating the other things that were causing the symptoms of IBS. Similarly, every patient of IBS has different symptoms, so each patient should make a food chart according to his symptoms. Because few things are better for an IBS patient. While the same things can not be better for others patients. And than follow the chart, this can make a good and healthy addition in IBS patient. 

Important: IBS is not life threatening, try to adjust with this disorder.

Written By:

  • Dr. Abadullah Sajid Bashir

Reviewed By:

  • Dr. Muhammad Khan Malik
  • Syeda Noor-ul-Ain Naqvi

 For Reviewer, Detail Click Here

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