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Is Irritable Bowel affecting your sports nutrition?


Irritable Bowel Syndrome is often attributed to pushing too hard, too many sports drinks, or not having enough rest during training. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has symptoms such as abdominal bloating, pain, excess wind and changes in bowel habits. The symptoms affect quality of life and cause anxiety, not considered the ideal for a busy person juggling training for a goal event.

The symptoms of IBS can be caused by the fermentable carbohydrates found in food, more commonly referred to as the FODMAPs. These short-chain, fermentable carbohydrates cause those uncomfortable symptoms in individuals with sensitive nerve endings in the bowel.

Where do you find these FODMAP foods? You can find them in foods commonly consumed on a daily basis including milk, bread, apples, onions, garlic, and in some sports drinks and some sports powders and as an athlete understanding what to avoid can mean the difference between having to find a loo spot on every training run, to having a great run without the discomfort.


As an athlete you may require assistance with foods to consume before, during and after your activities for best sporting result with minimal discomfort. Suggestions include:-


Bananas, sports drinks such as Gatroade, some cereals, lactose free milk, gluten free bread and some toppings

During your activity

water, gels, supplements drinks or bars (avoiding the fructose, fructo-oligosaccahrides, inulin, fructans, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate and honey). It is also a good idea to look at which lactose based supplements may cause bowel issues and they include: sports powder mixes and bars with large loads of milk and yoghurt)


Gluten free pancakes, blueberries, yoghurt and buts unless you find lactose is a trigger for your symptoms in which case the better options are low fat granola with banana, nuts, cinnamon and lactose free yoghurt.

A low-FODMAP diet is always best to be administered through a dietitian where you can monitor the symptoms from the time the diet is commenced, through a challenge period through to assess your tolerance for all FODMAP groups and adjust your diet accordingly. Gippsland Dietetics has been using the low-FODMAP diet to assist patients with IBS, Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis and other gastrointestinal discomfort with a lot of success. To find out more, make an appointment online at or by phoning 0428 411 051.

NOTE: before you start eliminating all dairy products from your diet, be sure to understand which dairy products contain the most lactose and which have almost zero

Read a good Lactose Resource like this one from Dairy Australia

For this resource in full please click on this link: Sports Dietitians Australia - Low FODMAP


Sports Dietitians Australia, 2011, Fact Sheet : The low FODMAP diet,

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