Sometimes a low FODMAP diet is recommended to those who experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Approximately 25-45 million people in the United States experience IBS, including children. The majority of people who experience IBS are under 50 years old. (source)
It is thought that high FODMAP foods cause more inflammation and irritation in the bowel.
Table of Contents
What does FODMAP stand for?
What does FODMAP mean?
Fermentable: These foods are not absorbed well into the body and are quickly fermented, thus causing gas, nausea, diarrhea, etc (source).
Oligosaccharides: The two groups of oligosaccharides are fructans and galactans. Some examples of fructans are wheat products, onions, garlic, artichokes and inulin. Galactans are found in lentils, chickpeas, broccoli, beans, brussel sprouts, and soy-based products.
Disaccharides: One of the most universal disaccharides is lactose. This is found in dairy products.
Monosaccharides: Fructose is a sugar that is found in fruit. Some items that are high in fructose include agave, honey, mangos, watermelon, sugar snap peas and high fructose corn syrup.
Polyols: Polyols are specific to some fruits. These include cherries and nectarines, apples/pears, in vegetables such as mushrooms and cauliflower and in some sugar substitutes containing xylitol or sorbitol (source).
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome occurs in the large intestine. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can include cramping, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation. The cause of IBS is not fully understood however there may be some risk factors involved. These include genetics and issues such as infection, trauma, etc (source).
In a recent study, people with IBS reported poor quality of life, but it was improved with a low FODMAP diet. (source)
When should I follow a Low FODMAP Diet?
When following a low FODMAP diet, it is recommended to do so under supervision from a medical professional. They can offer specific guidance for foods to avoid and foods that are appropriate with this diet.
Usually the diet will limit high FODMAP foods for 6-8 weeks, depending on the individual circumstances. After this time period, you will be directed to gradually reintroduce certain FODMAP foods into your regular diet. This will help determine which specific foods could be causing irritation.
This diet is recommended to those with IBS. FODMAP foods are healthy for normal gut bacteria (source).
High FODMAP Foods to Avoid
High FODMAP Vegetables
High FODMAP Grains/Nuts
Wheat containing items:
- Bran Cereal
High FODMAP Fruits
- Banana (ripe)
High FODMAP Meats
High FODMAP Drinks
- Fruit Juices (large quantities)
- Sodas with high fructose corn syrup
- Soy Milk
- Sports Drinks
- Whey Protein
High FODMAP Dairy
- Ricotta Cheese
- Ice Cream
- Sour Cream
Low FODMAP Food List
Low FODMAP Vegetables
- Lettuce (although some people can not eat lettuce for other reasons)
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Brussel Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
Low FODMAP Grains/Nuts
- Brazil Nuts
Low FODMAP Fruits
- Bananas (unripe)
Low FODMAP Meats/Protein
- Cold Cuts
Low FODMAP Drinks
- Alcohol (limited)
- Lemonade (limited)
Low FODMAP Dairy
- Whipped Cream
- Sorbet (dairy free)
Note -There may be some overlap on these lists such as bananas – eating unripe banana classifies as low FODMAP while ripe banana is high FODMAP (source).
Gluten Free Pasta
Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce (no garlic, onion)
½ cup broccoli (higher servings are high FODMAP)
Low FODMAP and Gluten Free
*Note: Low FODMAP diet does not mean that gluten must be entirely excluded, but most gluten free options are low FODMAP.
When consuming a gluten free diet, the products will naturally be lower in FODMAPs. A gluten free diet would most likely be recommended when diagnosed with Celiac Disease because this is a circumstance when gluten is eliminated to keep the gut healthy. With a low FODMAP diet, gluten is recommended in moderation to ease the bloating in the gut.
Once again, a low FODMAP diet is only recommended with those experiencing significant digestive issues. If an individual is healthy, a low FODMAP diet and a gluten free diet would not be recommended because this could cause some type of malnutrition and long term negative effects. (source)