Low FODMAP diet

The Low FODMAP diet is a dietary approach used to manage symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other related digestive disorders. FODMAPs are a group of short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, which can cause gas, bloating, and other symptoms of IBS. The Low FODMAP diet involves eliminating high-FODMAP foods from the diet for a period of time, and then gradually reintroducing them to determine which specific FODMAPs are causing symptoms. This approach is typically recommended by dietitians or gastroenterologists and is a promising strategy for managing IBS symptoms.

FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols. These are types of carbohydrates found in many common foods that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine.
FODMAPs Description Examples
Fermentable Oligosaccharides (FOS) Short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine Fructans (found in wheat, garlic, onion, inulin), Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) (found in legumes, lentils, chickpeas)
Disaccharides Double sugar molecules that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine Lactose (found in milk, ice cream, and soft cheeses), Maltose (found in barley)
Monosaccharides Simple sugars that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine Fructose (found in high fructose sweeteners, honey, agave nectar, and some fruits), Sorbitol (found in some fruits and sugar-free products)
Polyols Sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine Xylitol, mannitol, maltitol (found in sugar-free products, chewable vitamins, and some fruits)

FODMAPs are classified as osmotic because they are not well absorbed in the small intestine and can pull water into the gut, leading to diarrhea and other symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders. When FODMAPs reach the large intestine, they are fermented by bacteria, which can produce gas and cause bloating and discomfort. The fermentation of FODMAPs can also change the pH of the gut, which can affect the balance of gut bacteria and potentially lead to other symptoms. This is one of the reasons why the Low FODMAP diet is an effective approach for managing symptoms of IBS and other related disorders. It limits the amount of FODMAPs in the diet, which can reduce these osmotic effects, and thus the symptoms associated with them. FODMAPs are found in many different foods, so it can be difficult to create a comprehensive list. However, some common high-FODMAP foods we can limit to reduce the symptoms. 

Food Group Foods to Eat Foods to Limit
Dairy Lactose-free milk, hard cheeses (cheddar, swiss, etc.), yogurt (without high fructose sweeteners) Milk, ice cream, soft cheeses (mozzarella, brie, etc.), sour cream
Fruits Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes), bananas (ripe), grapes, kiwi, pineapple, avocado Apples, apricots, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, watermelon
Grains Gluten-free bread, pasta, and cereals, quinoa, rice, oats (if certified gluten-free) Wheat, barley, rye, bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, couscous, bulgur, semolina
Meat, Poultry, and Fish Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, shellfish Sausages, deli meats
Vegetables Arugula, bok choy, carrots, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, spinach, tomato, zucchini Artichokes, asparagus, beet greens, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, onions, shallots, scallions,

Beverage Foods to Drink Foods to Limit
Coffee and Tea Black coffee, decaffeinated coffee, tea (without added high fructose sweeteners) Coffee with milk or creamer, chai tea, lattes, cappuccinos
Juice Orange juice, apple juice (diluted 1:1 with water) Grape juice, cranberry juice, high fructose corn syrup-sweetened juice
Milk Alternative Lactose-free milk, almond milk, soy milk (unsweetened) Coconut milk, regular soy milk, rice milk
Water and other beverages Water, mineral water, sparkling water, herbal tea High fructose corn syrup-sweetened beverages, energy drinks

Low FODMAP Seasoning and Condiment Choices:

Seasoning/Condiment Foods to Use Foods to Limit
Herbs and Spices Basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, pepper, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon Garlic, onion powder
Oils and Vinegars Olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar Agave nectar, high fructose corn syrup, honey
Sauces and Spreads Gluten-free soy sauce, tomato sauce, salsa, mustard, ketchup (without high fructose corn syrup) Barbecue sauce, chutney, hoisin sauce, jam, jelly, relish
Salt and Pepper Table salt, sea salt, black pepper, white pepper Garlic salt, onion salt, celery salt


Low FODMAP Snack Ideas:

  • A small serving of mixed berries
  • A small serving of gluten-free crackers with hard cheese
  • A small serving of hummus with carrot sticks or cucumber slices
  • A small serving of gluten-free granola with almond milk
  • A small serving of gluten-free rice cakes with peanut butter or almond butter

Low FODMAP Meal Ideas:

  • Breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with almond milk, topped with berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with a mixed green salad (arugula, lettuce, spinach) dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a side of quinoa.
  • Dinner: Baked salmon with a side of roasted vegetables (carrots, green beans, zucchini) and a serving of rice.

Tips for a low FODMAP diet:
  1. Keep a food diary: Keeping track of the foods that you eat and how your body responds can help you identify which foods trigger your symptoms.

  2. Plan your meals: Plan your meals and snacks in advance to ensure that you have low FODMAP options available.

  3. Read food labels: Be aware of high FODMAP ingredients such as inulin, fructooligosaccharides, and honey, that are often added to processed foods.

  4. Go for fresh foods: Fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products are generally lower in FODMAPs than processed foods.

  5. Cook your own food: Cooking your own food allows you to control the ingredients and avoid high FODMAP ingredients.

  6. Try low FODMAP substitutes: There are many low FODMAP substitutes available such as gluten-free flours, pastas, and breads.

  7. Be mindful of portion sizes: Eating small portions of high FODMAP foods can help reduce symptoms, but eating large portions can cause symptoms to worsen.

  8. Consult a Dietitian: A registered dietitian can help you create a personalized low FODMAP meal plan, answer your questions about the diet, and provide guidance on how to implement it in your daily life.

Note that this is not an exhaustive list, and it's always recommended to consult with a dietitian or a doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.

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