Low FODMAP Diet

(Low fermentable, oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols diet; Diet, Low fermentable, oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols)

What It Is

FODMAPS are carbohydrates found in foods. The letters stand for:

  • F—fermentable
  • O—oligosaccharides—fructans (wheat, garlic, or onion)
  • D—disaccharide—dairy
  • M—monosaccharide—fructose
  • a—and
  • P—polyols, alcohol-based sweeteners, or fruits with pits (avocado, cherry, plums)

These are the foods that are not eaten.

How it May Help

Some FODMAPs pull water into the intestine. The food may be slowly or not fully broken down. It may also be fermented by bacteria. This can cause swelling, constipation, gas, loose stools, or belly pain. These problems could get in the way of normal tasks or work.

Your problems may be eased by changing how you eat.

The Basics

There are three phases: restriction, test, and personalization. In the first two to eight weeks, you will not eat high FODMAP foods. If this does not help, then these foods may not be causing your problems. If it does help, then some FODMAPs will be slowly added back in during phase two. This will help you find out which ones may be causing problems and which are safe to keep eating. In phase three, you may need to make many changes to what you eat as part of your long-term plan.

What to Eat

This table is based on foods you can eat instead of the ones that cause you problems. It is not a full list.

Food Eat these low FODMAP foods Do not eat these high FODMAP foods
Grains
  • Oats, potato, quinoa, or rice-based grains, popcorn
  • Grains (such as breads, pasta, and cereals) made with wheat, barley, rye if it is the main item; gluten-free or spelt grains made with foods that you should not eat; chicory root, inulin
Veggies
  • Eggplant, peppers, kale, lettuce, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, sprouts
  • Artichokes, mushrooms, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli
Fruits
  • Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, melons, kiwi, lemon, lime, oranges, pineapple, grapes
  • Blackberries, canned fruits, dates, pitted fruits (such as avocado, peach, plum, mango), watermelon, prunes
Milk
  • Low or lactose-free dairy, such as cheese, cream cheese, soft cheeses, Greek yogurt, sherbet, whipped cream
  • All high lactose dairy, such as buttermilk, custard, ice cream, cottage cheese, ricotta, sour cream
Protein from egg, meat, poultry, or fish
  • Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, lunch meats, shellfish
  • Proteins that have high fructose corn syrup
Nuts, legumes, and non-dairy items
  • Milk made with almonds, coconut, rice; nuts (walnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pecans)
  • Cashews, beans, black-eyed peas, bulgur, lentil, soy milk (made from soybeans), pistachios
Jams, relishes, herbs, and spices
  • Foods made without high fructose corn syrup, mustard, butter, margarine, pickle relish, mayonnaise, olives, pepper, salt, sugar, gluten-free soy sauce, vinegar, salad dressings
  • High fructose corn syrup or other foods that are not eaten in large amounts
Sweets
  • Made with foods allowed
  • High fructose corn syrup or other foods that are not eaten in large amounts

Safety Issues

This diet should not be followed longer than four to six weeks. Not getting enough vitamins, minerals, and fiber could be harmful.

Tips

It can be hard to make these changes. Here are some tips:

  • Eat a mix of foods from each of the food groups if they don’t cause problems.
  • Learn to read food labels so you don't eat things that may cause problems.
  • Work with a dietitian. If the food plan isn’t done the right way, you won’t find out what causes your problems and what doesn’t.

RESOURCES:

American Gastroenterological Association
http://www.gastro.org
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
http://www.niddk.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
http://www.cag-acg.org
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
http://www.cdhf.ca

References:

Halmos EP, Gibson PR. Controversies and reality of the FODMAP diet for patients with irritable bowel syndrome. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Jul;34(7):1134-1142.
The low FODMAP diet approach: dietary triggers for IBS symptoms. Available at: https://www.aboutibs.org/low-fodmap-diet.html. Accessed February 3, 2021.
Syed K, Iswara K. (2020). Low-FODMAP Diet. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Last Updated: 2/3/2021

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