Low FODMAP Diet

Everything you need to know about a low FODMAP approach to alleviating IBS and other GI conditions

A low FODMAP diet can serve as the foundation of a successful IBS diet.  Here we explain how a low FODMAP approach works, what foods fit within its purview, and some quick tips and meals to get on track!

Scientific studies have shown that some short-chain carbohydrates are not well-digested in the small intestine and can induce abdominal symptoms that look a lot like IBS.  Scientists hypothesized that eliminating these carbs from your diet may alleviate IBS symptoms.  FODMAPS include six types of short-chain carbs, with each letter representing a different carbohydrate form.

Over the past 12 years, scientists and doctors have worked to refine the definition of low FODMAP so that people can maximize the benefits from their IBS diet.

The best part of the low FODMAP approach to an IBS diet is that it can include all food groups.  There are fruits, vegetables, grains, and other diverse food types that fall within the low FODMAP philosophy.

 

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The low-FODMAP diet: your one stop resource

The low FODMAP diet is the new 'hot term' for people with GI conditions.

FODMAPS are carbohydrate-containing foods that can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.  A low-FODMAP diet approach can be a key part of an effective IBS Diet

The different types of FODMAP containing carbohydrates include:  

Lactose:  It is found in cow, sheep and goat’s milk. Additional foods high in lactose include yogurt, ice cream, milk and soft cheese.  Researchers first discovered the linkage between lactose and GI issues in 1959.  However, it took another six years before the linkage to malnutrition was fully understood.

Fructose:  Is a naturally occurring sugar found in fruit and honey. Fructose could also be added into foods in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and agave syrup.  A novel test in 1983 demonstrated the link between fructose mal-absorption and diarrhea.  Subsequent studies showed the added effectiveness of adding a further sorbitol restriction to fructose (Study 1, Study 2, Study 3).

Polyols:  It is found naturally in some fruits and vegetables, and may be added to sugar free gums, mints and some medicines. Polys appear on nutrition labels as sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol, isomalt, erythritol and lactitol.  The Turku studies first established the linkage between polyols and IBS.

Fructans:  Wheat, rye and barley.  Research breakthroughs in the mid 2000s helped scientists better understand the influence of fructans on IBS. Research breakthroughs in the mid 2000s

Galactans:  Beans and lentils.  

How does the low FODMAP approach fit into a broader succesful IBS Diet?

For a long time, patients have recognized that certain foods can trigger gastrointestinal symptoms (including flatulence, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and discomfort). Recognized food “culprits” have included milk and other dairy products, legumes and pulses, cruciferous vegetables, some fruits, and grains (especially wheat and rye).  Many of these foods are known as “gas‐producing foods” and were recommended to be avoided in situations of excessive flatulence and bloating.  However, such foods were in lists without any linking of common components. Consequently, dietary advice pertaining to such foods was haphazard and without structure.  Over the last five decades, however, advances in science and technology have meant that the food components that are present in such foods that may be responsible for these effects can be recognized.

Like many digestive issues, everything starts in the intestines.  Because high-FODMAP foods are difficult to digest, the bacteria in both your small and large intestine begin to ferment them.  While this is completely normal, the fermentation process can cause gas.  FODMAPs may also draw water into your digestive system, which can lead to bloating.

The FODMAP approach for an IBS diet has gained traction in both academia and with practitioners.  Although its roots date back to the 1960s, researchers had not isolated the the impact of high FODMAP foods in blind studies until the early 2000s.  A top-down approach using physiological markers helped researchers identify the full range of 'FODMAP' foods.  This foundation helped identify its efficacy as a treatment option for Crohn's disese in addition to IBS.  The Low FODMAP Diet has caught on for multiple reasons:

  1. It is backed by a multitude of scientific research
  2. Its mechanisms are well documented in cited academic studies
  3. It is rather straightforward and easy to follow
  4. It aligns with dietary principles
  5. It is safe

Low FODMAP vs High FODMAP Foods

Following a low FODMAP diet can be tricky at times. The diet entails eliminating high FODMAP foods and then eventually working to add them back in one at a time to identify IBS triggers. The first 2-4 weeks are known as the elimination phase. The following 4-8 weeks are used to add previously eliminated foods back into the broader GI or IBS Diet.

 

Examples of low FODMAP foods:  

Low FODMAP Fruit - Blueberries, strawberries, oranges, grapes,

Low FODMAP Vegetables - Broccoli heads, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, alfalfa, bean sprouts, green beans, bok choy, capsicum (bell pepper), chives, fresh herbs, choy sum, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, zucchini, the green parts of leeks and spring onions

Low FODMAP Grains/Starch - Rice, quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes

Protein: Eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, tempeh

Dairy: Small portions of hard cheese, lactose free dairy products  

Fat: Olive oil, ghee  

 

Examples of high FODMAP foods:  

Fruit: Apple, peaches, pears 

Vegetables: Asparagus, cauliflower, onions, snow peas 

Grains/Starch:  

Protein: Fried protein, processed deli meats 

Dairy: Soft cheese, yogurt, milk  

Fat: None  

 

Sample Low FODMAP meal: 

1 scrambled egg  

1 slice gluten-free bread  

1 teaspoon butter 

1/2 cup oatmeal 

 1/2 cup blueberries OR strawberries

1/2 cup lactose-free milk Coffee or tea

Low FODMAP foods across all food groups

So how long do I follow a low FODMAP Diet for?

The low FODMAP diet consists of three phases: elimination, reintroduction and personalization. 

Elimination phase - All high FODMAP foods should be eliminated. The length of this phase is generally 2 weeks but could be longer if you experience more severe gastrointestinal discomfort.  

Reintroduction: This phase usually occurs around week 3 and can last 4-6 weeks. One food at a time is added back in to your diet and repeat for a few days. If you can go without gastrointestinal symptoms the food is allowed back in your diet. Then would move on the other next food and continue to the process.  

Personalization: Once you generate a list of which foods are acceptable and which ones trigger IBS symptoms, a meal plan should be formulated. This meal plan should be followed to control IBS symptoms.

Additionally, don't forget that the goal is not to eliminate FODMAPS entirely.  Many healthy, nutritious foods contain FODMAPS.  Sometimes, eliminating higher FODMAP foods leads to deficiencies in fiber, protein, and vitamins A, C, and D.  For this reason, we highly recommend working with a Registered Dietitian / Nutritionist if you decide to implement a low FODMAP diet for IBS.

So how about some low FODMAP diet recipes?

Get cooking with delicious recipes

The low FODMAP diet can feel overwhelming or impossible when you're first starting out. It's recommended to work closely with a registered dietitian to correctly eliminate trigger foods. If you’re not sure you want to commit to following the low FODMAP diet 100%, you can start by adding in a few FODMAP friendly recipes into your routine.  

Breakfast: Banana Oats  

Makes 1 serving 

Ingredients: 

  • 2/3 cups uncooked fine oats
  • 1-¼ cups of water
  • 1 whole ripe banana
  • 2 teaspoons of raisins
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Cinnamon to taste

Instructions: 

  1. Add water to saucepan
  2. Add oatmeal, bananas, raisins, honey and cinnamon to sauce pan
  3. Mix all ingredients and set stove to lowest heat.
  4. Allow mixture to heat very slowly, creating one uniform flavor
  5. Serve hot or refrigerate to be eaten cold later

https://blog.onpoint-nutrition.com/recipe/banana-oats

 

Lunch/Dinner: Salmon with Roasted Vegetables 

Makes 2 servings 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 salmon filets, approx. 5-6oz raw 
  • Raw eggplant, sliced, peels on optional 
  • Raw carrots, peeled and cut in half (You can also use baby carrots!) 
  • 2 cups raw broccoli, washed and trimmed accordingly 
  • 2 tsp olive oil 
  • Salt, pepper, additional spices as desired 

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit 
  2. Prepare and season vegetables, toss with oil 
  3. Spray large baking sheet with cooking spray 
  4. Place vegetables in oven and set timer for 15 minutes 
  5. Place salmon on a baking sheet, season with salt, pepper, lemon and desired spices 
  6. Remove vegetables when timer goes off, add salmon and set timer for 10 minutes. 
  7. Check salmon for doneness and vegetables for the desired texture, enjoy! 

https://blog.onpoint-nutrition.com/recipe/salmon-with-roasted-vegetables

 

Snacks:

Banana and almond butter 

Non dairy yogurt with ½ cup berries 

2 Hard boiled eggs  

6 rice crackers with 2 oz tuna  

17 grapes and 2 Tbsp almonds 

Other Delicious Recipes on our Blog

Low FODMAP Maple Soy Salmon
Low FODMAP Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce
Low FODMAP Sweet Pecan Mustard Chicken or Pork
Low FODMAP Shrimp and Zoodles
Low FODMAP Lemon Pepper Chicken
Low FODMAP Sesame Salmon
Low FODMAP Mozzarella Chicken
Low FODMAP Chicken Sausage Bowl
Low FODMAP Tomato Cucumber Salad
Low FODMAP Cucumber Salad
Low FODMAP Pasta Salad
Low FODMAP Banana Pancakes
Low FODMAP Smoothie
Low FODMAP Oatmeal
Low FODMAP Egg Muffins
Low FODMAP French Toast
Low FODMAP Salmon Burgers

Low FODMAP recipes and cooking

More FODMAP information to come

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Britney Kennedy

Britney Kennedy

Founder

We have worked with hundreds of clients to implement a low FODMAP diet to relieve IBS.  We know how hard it can be to live with the condition.  We hope you will allow us to help you tackle your GI issue head-on.

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Our dietitians and nutritionists build custom plans tailored to help you find relief from your GI issues.  Our expertise includes:

IBS
Crohn's Disease
Ulcerative colitis

Schedule a free consultation with our team!

Let's get started with a low FODMAP routine!