Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD is a medical nutrition therapist, FODMAP expert, and author. The focus of her Portland, Maine practice is digestive health, including irritable bowel syndrome, gluten-related disorders, and inflammatory bowel disease. Patsy completed her undergraduate studies at Cornell University and earned a Master’s degree in Nutrition at Boston University; she interned at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital.
Patsy was attending a Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America event in late 2007 when she first heard the term "FODMAP" mentioned in passing during a lecture. When she researched the subject, she discovered several very interesting papers published by a group of researchers at Monash University, but found absolutely no tools for Americans to put this emerging research into practice: no food lists, no protocols, no recipes, no meal plans, no menus, no tips for reading labels or selecting products. She knew her patients would need more that just a list of high-FODMAP foods to avoid. They would need to know what they could eat, and they would need a strategy and a plan to get the most out of this new dietary approach. She drafted her first set of patient handouts, working carefully from the published scientific literature, and began to field test them in her practice. It is already fading from memory, but at that time, most people with IBS had to learn to live with their symptoms, and rarely presented themselves for nutrition help. Patsy's early FODMAP clients were seeing her for other problems. They just happened to have (terrible) IBS.
Wow! It was immediately apparent that the FODMAP approach was a game-changer. Patsy remembers the thrill of having patients come back to their follow-up visits with huge smiles on their faces, relaxed, happy and feeling better! Word quickly spread, and Patsy's practice was soon devoted to helping people with IBS, IBD and celiac disease. As a person with ulcerative colitis and IBS herself, Patsy knew first-hand how devastating digestive health symptoms could be; she knew she had to help get the word out beyond the scope of her own practice.
Patsy wrote IBS—Free at Last!, her first book, in 2008 and it launched in January, 2009. Her step-by-step book introduced the FODMAP approach to many thousands of IBS patients, dietitians and physicians. Over the next few years, studies continued to be published, gastroenterologists heard about FODMAPs at professional events, people around the globe became ever more connected via internet, and Patsy began to train other dietitians on the delivery of the diet. A second edition of IBS—Free at Last! was published in 2012, a Spanish-language edition in 2013, the Flavor without FODMAPs Cookbook in 2014, IBS-Free Recipes for the Whole Family in 2015, and a Japanese language edition of IBS—Free at Last! in 2016.
Her latest project is The IBS Elimination Diet and Cookbook (Harmony Books, 2017), which is a revised and expanded edition of IBS—Free at Last!
Patsy lives the motto, "Learn more about FODMAPs and pass it on." In 2013 she traveled to Australia's Monash University to meet the research team, tour the FODMAP lab, and attend a seminar. Later that year, she attended the International Celiac Disease Symposium, where FODMAPs and non-celiac gluten sensitivity were major topics. 2014 found her in Portland, Oregon at a two day SIBO symposium (SIBO stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth). In 2015 she attended the James W. Freston Conference on IBS in Chicago, and GastroDiet 2015 in Prato, Italy. 2016 (and 2019) found her in San Diego at Digestive Disease Week (DDW), learning along with 10,000 gastroenterologists! 2017 was another busy year of travel to learn and share with colleagues at DDW, this time in Chicago, and back to GastroDiet 2017 in Prato. Each of these events, along with the hundreds of peer-reviewed publications she reads each year, help her turn her own commitment to life-long learning into presentations, books, tools and social media posts for people with IBS and the health care providers who help them.
Since 2012, she has produced a variety of advanced full length workshops for health care professionals which focus on the delivery of the low FODMAP diet to patients with digestive health conditions. She is a frequent guest speaker at professional association meetings, webinars, and nutrition grand rounds; she is frequently consulted by media for expert comment. She has been was an invited speaker at the Dietitians of Canada Annual Conference, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference (FNCE), and FODMAP Around the World in the Netherlands. 2018 brought her to University of Michigan’s Food the Maine Course as an invited speaker, and she is scheduled to speak there again in September 2019. Patsy has been invited to speak once again at FNCE in October, 2019.
Though Patsy now spends much of her time writing and teaching about FODMAPs and IBS, she continues her clinical activity, seeing patients 3 days a week at Nutrition Works, LLC in Portland, ME. She also provides nutrition consulting services to several corporate clients. Patsy is active on the public policy panel of her professional association, the Maine Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In 2014 she was honored to be named Maine's Outstanding Dietitian of the Year. Patsy is a professional member of the Crohn's and Colitis Association of America and an Associate Member of the American College of Gastroenterology.