The Low Fodmap Diet
The low FODMAP diet is a way of eating designed to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It involves eliminating foods which are high in a specific type of short-chain carbohydrate known as a FODMAP.
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. They are found in certain fruits, vegetables and wheat, and are poorly absorbed in the small intestine.
They are suspected to cause digestive upset for some individuals, particularly those with IBS.
Foods to Eat
- Bean Sprouts
- Bell Pepper
- Mandarin Oranges
- Cheddar Cheese
- Lactose-Free Milk
- Parmesan Cheese
- Black Tea
- Green Tea
- White Tea
- Peppermint Tea
Nuts & Seeds
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Many foods are naturally low in FODMAPS and can be included on the low FODMAP diet, such as the ones listed above.
Foods to Avoid
- Soft cheeses
- Chicory Leaves
- Snow Peas
- High fructose corn syrups
- Sorbitol & mannitol (used as artificial sweeteners)
Foods which are high in FODMAPS, such as these, are known to cause digestive upset in those with IBS, and should be limited as much as possible.
10 Fundamental Principles of The Low Fodmap Diet
- More fruit and vegetables every day (including berries, cabbages, root vegetables, legumes, potatoes and herbs).
- More whole grain, especially oats, rye and barley
- More food from the sea and lakes
- Higher-quality meat, but less of it
- More food from wild landscapes
- Organic produce whenever possible
- Avoiding food additives
- More meals based on seasonal produce
- More home-cooked food
- Less waste
The low FODMAP diet had mostly been studied in humans with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). According to research, about 75% of people with IBS can benefit from a low-FODMAP diet.
The diet may also be beneficial for other gastrointestinal symptoms, and promote gut healing for those without an official diagnosis of IBS.
The benefits of a low FODMAP diet may include:
- Less gas
- Less bloating
- Less diarrhea
- Less constipation
- Less stomach pain
Disadvantages of the Fodmap Diet
The low FODMAP diet has some drawbacks, including:
- being unable to eat some ready-made or processed foods
- restriction of certain foods
- difficulty modifying diet
- limited options for eating out
- consider chef-prepared meal delivery services: https://mealplanpros.com/low-fodmap-meal-delivery/
How do I eat low Fodmap on a budget?
Eating a healthy diet can sometimes become expensive, especially when following certain restrictions such as low FODMAP. Eating low FODMAP on a budget can be a challenge but is possible. Here are 5 ways to budget savvy on the low FODMAP diet:
1. Buy grains which are naturally low FODMAP such as brown rice, quinoa and oats.
2. For protein, use eggs- they’re cheap and can be extremely versatile
3. Shop for produce which is in-season. Generally the fruits and vegetables that are in-season cost less than those which aren’t. Additionally try frozen vegetables.
4. Peanut butter is a great low FODMAP source of fat and protein, and can be used in a million different ways for meals and snacks.
What can I eat for lunch on a Fodmap diet?
Base low FODMAP lunches around low FODMAP foods including: proteins such as meats, fish and eggs; grains such as rice and quinoa; and vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, eggplant and tomatoes
What can I eat for breakfast on a Fodmap diet?
Low FODMAP breakfasts can include eggs, oats, omelets, sweet potato hash, with low FODMAP fruits & vegetables on the side.
The word “diet” often implies weight loss or other goals associated with the physique. However, the low FODMAP diet is a program used to identify foods that trigger uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
Since it is used for health reasons, it’s not an easy diet to adopt, but when done correctly can provide relief for people with IBS or other digestive issues.
It is not recommended to follow this diet unless needed, as it may do more harm than good. FODMAPS provide prebiotics for the digestive tract which support growth of beneficial bacteria.
As with any form of restrictive diet, make sure to consult with a medical professional before beginning this diet to assure that it is safe for you.
Kristen Kuminski, RD, CDN
Kristen is a consultant Dietitian with experience working with a variety of individuals and populations. Kristen has experience counseling/ coaching clients in eating disorders, pediatrics, weight management, mental health nutrition and other chronic health conditions.