Low-FODMAP Diet

About the Low FODMAP diet

The Low-FODMAP diet was created by researchers at Monash University in Australia to help people suffering from common digestive illnesses. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable (rapidly digested by bacteria in the intestines),
Oligosaccharides (fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides), Disaccarides (lactose),
M
onosaccharides (fructose), And Polyols (sugar alchohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol). Seventy-five percent of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have greatly improved symptoms when they remove the FODMAP foods from their diet. Some people cannot eat any of the problem sugars, while others only have trouble with a few of the types.

If you’re interested in more information about the Low-FODMAP diet, I recommend these books:

The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders, by Dr. Sue Shepherd and Dr. Peter Gibson. Two of the leading researchers on fructose, lactose, and wheat intolerances, they were instrumental in developing the low-FODMAP diet. This is the North American edition of “Food Intolerance Management Plan”, with minor additions and new layout. Published on August 6, 2013.

Food Intolerance Management Plan, by Dr. Sue Shepherd and Dr. Peter Gibson. The book is also available from Dr. Shepherd’s website.

IBS-Free at Last! Second Edition. Change Your Carbs, Change Your Life with the FODMAP Elimination Diet, by Patsy Catsos, a registered, licensed dietitian who specializes in treating patients with fructose malabsorption and IBS. Click here for a review of the book. Here’s a link to her very helpful website, IBS-Free at Last!

iPhone low FODMAP app, or the Android app, developed by Monash University to provide accurate information about foods that trigger IBS symptoms. It has many helpful features including a food guide, a shopping guide and a 1 week low FODMAP trial. Designed to be automatically updated as new information is published. Proceeds help fund low FODMAP research.

The Low FODMAP diet, reducing poorly absorbed sugars to control gastrointestinal symptoms, 4th ed., is a helpful booklet published by Monash University. It contains the latest information on foods that have been tested, and it can be ordered online now. Proceeds help fund low FODMAP research.

The information below is compiled from these sources as well as published research. This list is not definitive, as researchers continue to test other foods. Please consult a dietician for up-to-date information, including how to manage this condition properly.

Foods allowed on a Low-FODMAP diet

FRUITS – bold = limit to Indicated Amount or less

Avocado (1/8), bananas – common, bananas – sugar (1/2 medium), blueberries, cantaloupe (rockmelon), carambola, cherries (3), durian, dragon fruit, grapefruit (1/2 medium), grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, longon (10), lychee (5), mandarins, oranges, papaya (paw paw), passionfruit, pineapple, prickly pear, pomegranate (1/4 cup seeds or 1/2 small), rambutan (3), raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tangelos

Vegetables – bold = limit to 1/2 cup or less if indicated

Artichoke hearts (1/4 cup), arugula (rocket), alfalfa, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, beets (4 slices), bok choy, broccoli (1/4 cup), Brussels sprouts (1/2 cup), bell peppers (capsicum)cabbage – common, cabbage – Savoy (1 cup), carrots, celery (1/2 stick), chives, choko, choy sum, corn (1/2 cob), cucumber, eggplant (aubergine), endive, fennel bulb (1/2 cup), ginger, green beans, green onions (green part only), lettuce (butter, iceberg, red coral, radicchio), okra (3 pods), olives, parsnip, peas – green (1/4 cup), potato, seaweed – nori, snow peas (5), squash, squash – Butternut (1/4 cup), Swiss chard (silverbeet), spinach,  radish, rutabaga (swede), sweet potato (1/2 cup), taro, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnuts, witlof (a variety of endive), zucchini

Dairy

Lactose-free milk, rice milk; ‘hard’ cheeses, including Brie and Camembert; lactose-free yogurt; butter and margarine

Grains

Sweeteners

Sugar (sucrose), brown sugar, glucose (also known as dextrose in powdered form), stevia, artificial sweeteners not ending in -ol (such as aspartame), maple syrup, golden syrup

Seasonings

Allspice, asafoetida, basil, bay leaves, caraway, cardamom, cayenne pepper, celery seeds, chervil, chilli, chives, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry leaves, dill seeds, elderflower, fenugreek, galangal, garlic-infused oil, ginger, juniper berries, kaffir lime leaves, lavender, lemon basil, lemongrass, lemon myrtle, lemon thyme, licorice, mace, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, peppermint, spearmint, star anise, sumac, Szechuan pepper, vanilla

Other – Bold = limit to less than a handful per sitting

Alcohol (except beer, cider and dessert, sweet or fortified wines), baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, chia seeds, chocolate drinking powder (see chocolate update at bottom of page), coconut (all parts), coffee (including espresso), flax, gelatin, nuts in limited amounts (no cashews or pistachios), seeds, oat bran, psyllium, rice bran, tea  (peppermint, green, white and black are okay: no camomile, dandelion, fennel or oolong tea), soy sauce, tamari, tofu,  vinegar, xanthan gum. Red meat, fish, poultry and bacon are allowed.

Additional foods that may be tolerated by some fructose malabsorbers

Vegetables- avoid these if you are sensitive to polyols

Avocados (1/8 or less is generally tolerated), cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas (most people tolerate 5 or less)

Dairy

All milk products are allowed if you are not lactose intolerant. If you are lactose intolerant, limit yourself to less than one gram of lactose per serving or use lactose-free dairy products.

Worst offenders

Hands down, the foods that cause the most trouble are high fructose sweeteners, apples, honey, wheat, barley, rye, onions and garlic. Not only do they cause symptoms, they’re hard to avoid because they’re in lots of processed food. A gluten-free food won’t have wheat, barley or rye in it, but it may still be off-limits because it has one of the other problem foods such as honey, high fructose corn syrup, onions or garlic.

Update on Chocolate:

June 7, 2013:  Cocoa powder recently tested moderately high in FODMAPs at the Monash University lab, which means food containing higher amounts of cocoa powder may no longer be considered suitable for a low-FODMAP diet. Here’s a link to what dietician Patsy Catsos has to say on the topic:  http://www.ibsfree.net/ibsfree_at_last/2013/06/cocoa-powder-moderately-high-in-fodmaps-what-about-chocolate.html

Here’s a link to the update page on the Monash University website, with the most recent information on hot beverages, including hot chocolate:  http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/research/updates.html

116 thoughts on “Low-FODMAP Diet

  1. The bread is very pricey..very small..and taste yucky.Also the soda crackers taste like cardboard..6.00-7.00-8.00 for about a half loaf of bread.

    • I don’t think most of the commercially produced gluten-free bread and crackers are very good either. They are definitely overpriced, which is why your best bet is to make them from scratch. You can control exactly what goes into your body as well, which is a plus. The downside is that you have to spend so much time in the kitchen, but we’ve been spoiled over the last few decades with an explosion of processed food. We’re the first people in all of history who had the luxury of buying anything we wanted, any time of the year, and what we’ve chosen to buy is poor quality factory food. A hundred years ago no one ate the amount of sugar or processed carbohydrate that our culture considers normal and they didn’t have the health problems that we suffer from.

      I think the best way to look at the low-FODMAP diet is that it’s returning us to the healthier ways of the past, even if that means spending more time in the kitchen. Cooking can be a relaxing, meditative activity with many rewards, as long as you don’t fight it. Accept what is and breathe deep because it will all be okay in the end.

  2. This is fascinating! I wonder if this has something to do with my strange relationship with garlic and onions? Eating them raw gives me an immediate headache, and eating dried varieties I cams orating cramps. Eating them cooked does not seem to produce a noticeable effect. Of course I am gluten and dairy free as well, and already do not consume corn syrup or alcohol sugars because they are terrible for every body.

    • I’ll bet there is a connection- I think a lot more people have some form of this than is currently diagnosed. Research indicates that a 1/3 of the population can’t absorb fructose, but only some of them have symptoms. It usually requires a triggering event to get a full blown case of fructose malabsorption, but there are probably many people who have varying degrees of symptoms.

  3. Wow…many of the listed low FOM fruits, veggies and sugars you have listed I can’t tolerate at all. You are lucky. I need to follow the stringent low fructose food guide. Trying to find recipes without tomatoes, condiments and such is so tricky!

    • The fruits, veggies and sugars listed here are straight off the official low FODMAP diet, which I update as new information is released. People vary greatly in what they can tolerate. Other issues may be involved when foods on the low FODMAP diet aren’t tolerated. For instance, amines and salicylates can cause problems, as can SIBO, not to mention food allergies. These are only a few of the things that can cause greater sensitivity in some people. Research is just beginning on food intolerances and other related issues, so finding what works is often a matter of trial and error. It’s hard enough to be on a regular low FODMAP diet without having to restrict it further as you’ve had to do.

  4. I know apples are a huge culprit on the low fodmap diet and have been for me but is apple cider vinegar fodmap friendly? Its used in alot of gluten free bread making, usually a tablespoon or so. Would it be ok and if not can I replace with white vinegar???

    • People are very different in the amount of fructose and fructans that they can tolerate and vinegars vary greatly in how well they are tolerated. I personally wouldn’t use apple cider vinegar, as it is unfiltered, which causes problems in many people. I do use Vegenaise (mayo), which has a trace amount in it, but that’s as far as I go. Here’s a link to what Patsy Catsos, dietician and author of “IBS: Free At Last”, says about vinegar on her website: http://www.ibsfree.net/ibsfree_at_last/2010/03/what-about-vinegar.html?cid=6a00e5547a25278833017ee6e76078970d#comment-6a00e5547a25278833017ee6e76078970d

      You can substitute any vinegar for it, with no difference in the final results. The only reason you might want to use one vinegar instead of another is for the added flavor it has, but most of the time you can’t tell the difference, especially when it’s only a tablespoon or two. Bread will turn out the same, no matter which type of vinegar you use.

  5. Hi, I am a celiac, lactose intolerant and now fructose malabsorption. I am finding it hard to know what to eat now…. need help…. thanks….

    • Most of the recipes on this blog should suit you. All of them are gluten-free and okay for people with fructose malabsorption, but some do have lactose, as a lowFODMAP is not a dairy-free diet. I know it can be a challenge to deal with multiple food issues, but hang in there. Slowly but surely, you’ll find things you like to eat and you’ll build up a collection of recipes. Let me know if you have any particular questions and I’ll do my best to find the answers for you.

  6. Good day! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?

    Thanks a ton!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you’ve found useful stuff here. I have links to some other very helpful sites on the same topic. Look on the home page, lower right side. Also see the Links/Research page. Hope that helps

  7. My 2 years old daughter has several allergies and I find this site helpful, thankyou.
    I have just seen garlic infused oil is ok when fructose malabsorption issues? My daughter loves ‘tasty’ flavourful food but since recent allergy issues flavours have been somewhat limited. She,loves garlic but cannot tolerate it in food, does it make a difference when just,infused in oil? TIA heidi

    • I’m glad to know this site has been helpful! Garlic infused olive oil is definitely okay to use if you are dealing with fructose malabsorption issues. Fructans are the problem part of garlic and they are water soluble, but not oil soluble. So if you cook garlic in oil and discard the garlic, you get all the flavor and none of the issues. I have a recipe for garlic infused olive oil that keeps in the freezer, so you can make a larger quantity: http://fructosefreeme.com/2012/03/29/garlic-infused-olive-oil-that-keeps-for-months/ In a pinch, saute the garlic in oil, then discard the cloves. I prefer using the infused oil because it’s more flavorful and it’s easier if it’s already on hand.

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