By Marina Iacovou (Dietitian and PhD Candidate)
IBS affects one in seven individuals, globally. It affects men and women, professionals, labourers, academics, medical professionals, mums, dads, children, adolescents, the elderly and more – there is no discrimination. It also affects some athletes who participate in sports activities, whether it is for enjoyment, as a hobby, or at an elite level.
Although some athletes may have IBS there are also many who suffer from a nervous anticipated wait, to the start of an event, or gut symptoms during an event, which often lead to IBS-like symptoms, in particular diarrhoea. This occurs in runners, more than any other athlete and is often referred to as the ‘runner’s trots’.
For athletes taking part in endurance events, depending on the distance, it is common practice to enjoy a high carbohydrate meal 1-4 days before the event. This helps to build up muscle glycogen stores, an energy source athletes depend on.
So if you suffer from IBS/gut related symptoms that are exacerbated before, during or after an event leading to 'runner's trots' - try a low FODMAP diet for 3 days leading into the event.
A pasta meal the night before an event has always been a popular one with athletes. Here’s a low FODMAP pasta dish to get you started. It’s quick and easy!
Tuna Pasta (1 serve)
- 2-3 cups of cooked, gluten-free pasta (or more if you like)
- 95g Tinned or fresh cooked tuna (95g small tin in spring water – drained)
- 35g of sweet corn
- A sprinkle to 1 tbsp Shaved parmesan
- 6 chopped sweet cherry/Roma tomatoes
- ½ tsp of dried mint
- 1-2 tbsp of fresh coriander (chopped)
- 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water until al dente, drain and serve up in a bowl immediately
- Sprinkle dried mint directly on top of cooked pasta
- Add tuna, corn, tomatoes, coriander and parmesan then drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top.
- Sweet corn is low FODMAP when 43g or less. More than this will be moderate to high FODMAP (85g is high)**
- Coriander can be replaced with flat continental parsley
- Add half a dozen black olives for extra flavour
- Serve and eat immediately as this dish cools down very quickly – or enjoy it as a cool dish in the summer
NUTRITION INFORMATION (1 serve)
Note: The small amount of corn used in this recipe should be tolerated fine by those diagnosed with malabsorption or IBS as the quantity is too insignificant for the polyols and oligos levels to cause symptoms. If you only have fructose malabsorption, you should be able to have any serving size of corn without triggering a reaction as corn has low levels of fructose.
*If you need further dietetic advice, please go to the Dietitians Association of Australia website www.daa.asn.au to find a dietitian close to you. For other countries not listed below, please search online through your specific dietetic association.
New Zealand: http://dietitians.org.nz/find-a-dietitian/
**The low FODMAP diet by Monash University aims to expand the dietary options of people who have FODMAP malabsorptions and medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome. We use the traffic light system in the app to highlight the levels of FODMAP present in foods in certain serving sizes to easily distinguish what can and cannot be tolerated. However, in our recipes, we try to incorporate these 'red' foods as much as possible so that people on the diet are not completely cutting out food that they should be able to tolerate in certain quantities. Corn is one of those foods.