The Low FODMAP Diet
Find everything you want to know about the Low FODMAP Diet from what it is, FODMAP compliant food, meal delivery services, and our Registered Dietician created Low Fodmap meal plan.
It’s those uncomfortable symptoms that you’re too familiar with. You finished dinner not that long ago, and already the digestive symptoms are starting. The bloating, cramping, and stomach pain are all signs of IBS, and at times it can significantly affect your quality of life. The low FODMAP diet is an elimination dietary protocol that helps you identify the food triggers that are causing your symptoms and relieve the discomfort for good.
What is the Low FODMAP Diet?
Often, when the word “diet” is spoken, it’s associated with weight loss or a long-term approach to eating healthier. The low FODMAP diet is a bit different. Instead of a long-term dietary approach, the FODMAP diet is designed to be a temporary change in how you eat in order to identify the foods that trigger symptoms of digestive issues.
The low FODMAP diet is an elimination diet that removes high FODMAP food from your diet and then gradually reintroduces them, helping you identify the culprits of your digestive problems. FODMAPs are certain types of carbohydrates that are especially difficult to digest.
FODMAPs are what are called short-chain carbohydrates that actually draw excess water into the digestive tract (small and large intestines).
They also can’t be digested, which means they just sort of sit there, which gives gut bacteria plenty of time to get some fermentation going on. These mechanisms are what will trigger symptoms in certain people.
The FODMAP diet is designed to help people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and another condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Currently, it isn’t believed that a low FODMAP diet helps with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
These are autoimmune diseases where the body attacks healthy tissue. IBS and IBD are different conditions, but some people with IBD may also find that eliminating foods may help with digestive issues and sensitivities that aren’t entirely related to their IBD.
Low FODMAP Foods
Is Broccoli Low FODMAP?
Doctors and nutritionists encourage people to eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, but does this hold true for people with IBS? Is broccoli low FODMAP, and is it a safe food for people with IBS? Is
Are Greens Beans Low FODMAP?
When following a low FODMAP diet, you want to know if it’s safe to eat some of your preferred foods, like the summertime favorite, fresh from the garden green beans. Are green beans low FODMAP?
Low FODMAP Bread Brands
We have looked at several Low FODMAP bread brands and found a couple certified low FODMAP by Monash University and others that are gluten-free. While not all the bread we reviewed is low FODMAP, the
Are Sweet Potatoes Low FODMAP?
FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the intestines, leading to a range of symptoms classified as IBS. We tend to associate higher carbohydrate foods as bad for IBS, but this
Low FODMAP Cheese
You might be wondering if following a low FODMAP diet means giving up your love of cheese. While many dairy products are high FODMAP, cheese isn’t automatically excluded from a low FODMAP diet. Here is
The Best Low FODMAP Breakfast Recipes & Prepared Meals
Every great day starts with a healthy, delicious breakfast. For IBS sufferers, traditional breakfast foods can present a challenge. If you’re following a low-FODMAP diet and are looking for a little inspiration, these best low-FODMAP
Low Fodmap Alfredo Sauce
Fortunately, you don’t have to give up all your favorite foods on a low FODMAP diet. It’s possible to enjoy your favorite dishes, including low FODMAP alfredo sauce. Is Traditional Alfredo Sauce Low FODMAP? You’re
Is Pea Protein Low FODMAP?
Most people get ample protein from their regular diets, but if you’re suffering from severe IBS symptoms or choose protein drinks and shakes to supplement your everyday diet, the protein you choose needs to be
Low FODMAP Spaghetti Sauce
Eliminating FODMAPS from your diet can feel a little restrictive at times, especially when it comes to your favorite foods. A heaping plate of spaghetti is an American favorite, but can you enjoy your favorite
Is Cabbage Low FODMAP?
Cabbage is delicious, versatile, and a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Cabbage also has a reputation for causing digestive issues for some people. If you’re following
The Low FODMAP Diet at Stanford
The FODMAP diet eliminates certain types of sugar or carbohydrates that cause digestive distress in people with IBS and some other types of digestive disorders. Stanford Health Care has become a leading expert in treating
Is Dextrose Low FODMAP?
Sugar and sweeteners are everywhere, and if you’re following a low FODMAP diet, there are certain sweeteners you want to avoid. “Is dextrose low FODMAP” is a question that often comes up due to it
Signs of IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that affects the stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. Changes in bowel habits and digestive problems are the hallmark signs of IBS. The exact cause of IBS isn’t known, and it can develop quite suddenly.
Irritable bowel syndrome can range in severity from one person to the next, with treatments mostly focusing on lifestyle adjustments to reduce IBS symptoms. Food and stress are the two main IBS triggers.
If you notice any significant change in your digestive health, a visit to your doctor will help pinpoint the cause. Some people experience very mild IBS symptoms, while others can check off every symptom box. The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss due to food avoidance
- Change in bowel habits (diarrhea and constipation)
- Change in bowel movement appearance
- Abdominal pain
- Sleeping difficulties
Low FODMAP Meal Delivery
FODMAP Compliant Meals Delivered to Your Door
What Does FODMAP Stand For
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Foods that contain these types of carbohydrates are considered to be high FODMAP foods.
While there are some bad foods in the group, like high-fructose corn syrup, there are also foods that are often thought of as healthy. It isn’t that certain foods aren’t nutritious. It’s that for certain people, breaking down the sugar alcohols is an uncomfortable process for their bodies.
This is primarily lactose, which is found in dairy foods. Many people are unable to digest lactose and so must avoid most, if not all, dairy foods.
These are the fermentable sugars that come primarily from fruit, which we call fructose. Not all fruits are created equal, however. Some fruits are high in monosaccharides like apples and watermelons. Other types of fruit, including oranges and pineapple, are easier on digestive health.
Polyols are carbohydrates found in artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, polyols are hidden in so many foods that it’s easy to ingest them, even if you’re trying to eat a healthy diet.
The Three Phases of the Low FODMAP Diet
The low FODMAP diet is developed with three phases. These include the elimination phase, the reintroduction phase, and the personalization phase. As is the case with elimination diets, the low FODMAP diet is not designed to be followed long-term. It’s a quite restrictive diet that is typically followed between 4-6 weeks.
Some suggest that you can follow the low FODMAP diet for as little as two weeks. For many, this likely isn’t enough time to completely clear trigger foods from your body and achieve the level of relief from chronic symptoms.
This is why it’s commonly suggested to follow the diet for at least four weeks.
During the elimination phase, you follow a restrictive diet that completely eliminates every category of high FODMAP foods. Unlike other types of diets where if you slip up, you just carry on the next day, accidentally (or purposefully) eating a FODMAP food means you have to completely start over again from the beginning.
After about four weeks, you should be feeling significant relief from your chronic symptoms.
During the reintroduction phase, you begin to reintroduce foods one at a time, spacing out the reintroductions every three days. After you reintroduce the food, you follow the FODMAP protocol to eliminate the potential for any crossover effects between foods.
The final stage is personalization and maintenance. At this stage, you can take the results of the reintroduction and work with your physician to develop a sustainable dietary approach that provides lasting relief to chronic symptoms.
The low FODMAP diet is relatively new in the world of a dietary approach to wellness. The first record of the low FODMAP diet was published by a team of Australian researchers at Monash University in 2005.
Monash University remains a primary resource on developments in FODMAP research and helping people find the information they need to successfully follow the FODMAP diet to find relief from their symptoms.
For those looking for more information on the low FODMAP diet, the Cleveland Clinic is also a very valuable resource.
Controlling IBS, IBD, SIBO & Other Digestive Disorders
The low FODMAP diet has a proven track record of helping many people with IBS and SIBO, and there’s some promising research that may help relieve symptoms of Celiac Disease.
The low FODMAP diet is effective in identifying many foods that affect IBS symptom severity in 3 out of 4 people. According to Monash University, about 1 out of 4 people with IBS will not find sufficient relief with the low FODMAP diet and will need to seek other therapies to help their symptoms improve.
Demystifying High FODMAP Foods
When you’re first learning about the FODMAP diet, understanding which are low FODMAP foods and which ones need to be avoided is a bit of a challenge. Part of that challenge is that you don’t eliminate entire food groups like you might with other types of diets.
For example, some fruits need to be avoided on the low FODMAP diet. These include apples, stone fruits, dried fruits, and watermelons. On the other hand, berries, citrus, pineapple, and kiwi are generally well tolerated. It all has to do with the sugar the fruit contains.
Whole grains should be avoided during the elimination phase, but gluten-free pasta or bread alternatives can be low-FODMAP foods, as long as you check the label to make sure they’re isn’t any other FODMAP lurking about.
Dairy is among the high FODMAP foods, and if you find that dairy is one of your food triggers, you might find it helpful to do a separate elimination diet that helps you determine if all dairy is an issue for your digestive health or if you can have certain types of dairy in your diet.
You’ll want to avoid foods like milk and greek yogurt, but dairy-free alternatives like lactose-free yogurt and lactose-free milk should be safe. Coconut milk and almond milk are a couple of examples of alternatives.
Macadamia nuts are good, but cashews and pistachios are among the certain foods that seem to trigger symptoms.
There are also foods that are in grey areas for some. Soy sauce is an example. Soy is considered a high FODMAP food, and many soy sauces contain wheat gluten. However, some people with IBS are able to tolerate the very small servings that are used to season food.
You should be careful with any packaged foods and check labels for any hints of FODMAPs. Many protein powders contain either whey or pea protein, which can be troublesome for IBS.
Low Fodmap Diet Plan
Eating a diet low in FODMAP foods is one way of providing relief for IBS and SIBO. However, the low FODMAP diet is extremely restrictive, and eating the appropriate foods can be challenging. The key to success really involves planning ahead with a diet plan that eliminates FODMAP carbs and sets you on the right path with low FODMAP recipes to improve your quality of life.
The low FODMAP diet isn’t appropriate for everyone, and it’s important to discuss this with your doctor before starting the diet. If you do decide to follow the low FODMAP diet, take a minute and download our free 7-Day Low FODMAP Diet Meal Plan. It’s completely free and offers a blueprint to get you started on the path to success for relieving IBS.