What is a Low FODMAP Diet?
"FODMAPs are a group of sugars that are not completely digested or absorbed in our intestines. When FODMAPs reach the small intestine, they move slowly, attracting water. When they pass into the large intestine, FODMAPs are fermented by gut bacteria, producing gas as a result. The extra gas and water causes the intestinal wall to stretch and expand. Because people with IBS have a highly sensitive gut, ‘stretching’ the intestinal wall causes exaggerated sensations of pain and discomfort" (1)
What does FODMAP Stand For (1)?
- F-Fermentable: Process through which gut bacteria ferment undigested carbohydrates to produce gases.
- O-Oligosaccharides: Fructans & GOS - found in foods such as wheat, rye, onions, garlic and legumes/pulses.
- D-Disaccharides: Lactose - found in dairy products like milk, soft cheeses, and yogurts.
- M-Monosaccharides: Fructose - found in honey, apples, high fructose corn syrups, etc.
- A- AND
- P-Polyols: Sorbitol and Mannitol - Found in some fruit and vegetables and used as artificial sweeteners.
Who is it for?
Low FODMAP diets may be beneficial for individuals who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Disorder, celiac disease, and bowel cancer. It is meant to help regulate bowel movements, decrease pain and discomfort, and decrease gas and bloating.
What Can I Eat?
Although a Low FODMAP Diet can be intimidating and restricts a lot of foods, there are still a lot you can eat. There are also more and more brands out there that are starting to made low FODMAP foods.
Here is a list of Low FODMAP Foods (1):
- green beans
- bok choy
- bell pepper
- kiwi fruit
- almond milk
- lactose-free milk
- soy milk
- some hard cheeses
- firm tofu
- plain cooked meats/poultry/seafood
- quinoa flakes
- quinoa/rice/corn pasta
- rice cakes (plain)
- sourdough spelt bread
- wheat/rye/barley free breads
- Dark chocolate
- maple syrup
- pumpkin seeds
Here is a list of high FODMAP Foods (1):
- green peas
- sugar snap peas
- dried fruit
- cow's milk & cow milk products
- soy milk (made from whole soybeans)
- most legumes/pulses
- some marinated meats/poultry/seafood
- some processed meats
- wheat/rye/barley-based bread
- breakfast cereals
- biscuits and snack products
- high fructose corn syrup
- sugar free confectionery
Please note: everyone is different so what foods make one person react may be different from the next. There are also many foods not included on either list which likely fall somewhere in the middle. These usually have portion sizes/day tied to them.
If you or someone you know is experiencing IBS, I recommend taking a look at the Monash FODMAP website where they have recipes and resources for individuals experiencing IBS as well as an APP for purchase which can be helpful if you decide to follow a Low FODMAP diet.