The concept known as the FODMAP diet (Fermentable, Oligosaccharide, Disaccharide, Monosaccharide and Polyols) was developed by Australian dietitian and digestive health expert Sue Shepherd back in 1999.
Originally designed as a dietary therapy for patients with gastrointestinal symptoms – and specifically IBS – it is now being launched into mainstream markets as a range of convenient foods under the creator's name.
“IBS has traditionally been resistant to treatment, but the success of the FODMAP approach for many people is giving the idea impetus. Consumers living with IBS are already turning to FODMAPS in surprising numbers,” said food and nutrition consultant for New Nutrition Business, Julian Mellentin.
Probiotic and high-fibre products targeting IBS have been launched in the past, but this is the first time food recipes have followed the guidelines of the FODMAP diet, he said.
“New dietary approaches always take a while to gain total acceptance in the scientific community. Addressing digestive health issues is the basis of successful brands such as Activia probiotic yoghurt. Digestive health also lies at the core of why many people choose gluten-free foods,” said Mellentin.
Mellentin estimates around five million people in Australia suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and non-celiac gluten intolerance.
“Digestive health has been one of the biggest trends in the business of food and health for over 20 years,” he added.
“Worldwide, the condition, depending on how it is defined, can affect up to 20% of the population, with the highest rates in the United States and the European Union and there are millions more people suffering from other digestive disorders.”
The Sue Shepherd range includes some of the foods identified as problematic for people with IBS, including pasta sauces, soups and vegetable stocks. Products are also gluten-free, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.