A Low FODMAP diet may seem challenging at first but equipped with our low FODMAP foods list you'll be able to easily plan to eat the foods that make you feel good and avoid all the others.
We've also included tips and tricks to help you build a shopping list and plan ahead when eating out!
What is a Low FODMAP Diet?
The Low-FODMAP protocol was developed by a team of researchers at Monash University in Australia who discovered that some people cannot process or poorly absorb specific kinds of carbohydrates in the small intestines, aka FODMAPs (1).
These mal-absorbed carbohydrates are thought to trigger a cascade of symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea. Additionally, some believe they may play a role in the development of other severe health problems.
FODMAPs is an acronym that stands for these fermentable carbohydrates found in a wide range of foods:
- Oligosaccharides: eg. Fructans and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) found commonly in wheat, rye, onions, and certain fruits and vegetables.
- Disaccharides: eg. Lactose mostly found in milk, yogurt, cheese
- Monosaccharides: eg. too much Fructose typically found in fruits like mangos, and sweeteners like agave and honey
- Polyols: eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, Isomalt, most processed sweeteners
Completing a FODMAP diet uncovers foods that are well tolerated and which foods and in what amount trigger IBS symptoms.
Who Should Follow a Low FodMap Diet?
If you have been diagnosed with IBS and:
- Have ongoing gut symptoms such as pain, bloating, or bowel disturbances
- Haven't had success with other basic dietary interventions
- Have been recommended to start the protocol by your healthcare provider
Then you may benefit from working with a Dietician and implementing a low-FODMAP protocol.
A Low-FODMAP diet is currently being researched as a potential intervention in the management of symptoms of other functional gastrointestinal and other health conditions such as auto-immune diseases and migraines (4,5).
A FODMAP diet is intended to be a recommendation by your primary care physician or a Registered Dietitian for those diagnosed with IBS or with conditions similar to IBS; it is not meant to be self-employed.
How do those with IBS Benefit?
Research at Monash University suggests that IBS symptoms may improve within 2-6 weeks of following a low-FODMAP diet (6).
- Reducing pain and discomfort
- Reducing bloating and distension
- Improve bowel habits
- Improve the quality of life
Scientific evidence gathered so far suggests improvements in symptom management in 50 to 68% of adult participants in short-term trials (7). Further quality research is needed to strengthen the efficacy of the protocol, as the long-term implications are still lacking (8,9,10).
The LOWFOD map diet is not meant for long-term use as it is a restrictive diet and High FODMAP foods contain prebiotics beneficial to gut health (7).
How to Start a Low Fodmap Protocol
Typically those starting a low-FODMAP protocol will work through three stages alongside their primary care provider or dietician:
The Elimination Phase
Removal of all high fodmap foods from the diet for 4-8 weeks, if FODMAPs are the root of the issue then there should be a reduction in symptoms during this time.
Because this phase is extremely restricting it is not intended for long-term use, weight loss, or any other lifestyle modification other than this specific food protocol (7).
FODMAP foods are slowly reintroduced over a period of 8-12 weeks to observe if potential food triggers.
Typically one food is introduced at a time over a period of 3-4 days, increasing servings size each day to monitor symptoms and tolerance.
This will determine what types of FODMAP food are tolerated and in what amount; as everyone has different thresholds.
Maintenance and Personalization
A long-term personalized food plan will be designed that includes well-tolerated foods and excludes potential foods that cause negative symptoms.
Experienced healthcare providers often use this protocol alongside other dietary and lifestyle modifications to reduce symptoms of IBS and manage gut health (11).
If you have consulted with your provider and are starting a low fodmap protocol:
- Print a list of low FODMAP foods and high FODMAP foods to refer to before planning your grocery list
- Organize your kitchen and remove any high FODMAP foods to make room for all of your allowed foods
- Research and save low-fodmap food recipes for inspiration and meal prep ideas
- Start a meal prep routine to save time and budget
Healthy Low Fodmap Foods
There is competing information on what foods are classified as low-FODMAP and high FODMAP.
This data is constantly subject to change as new data become available regarding the FODMAP content of foods.
Everyone will have different reactions to various foods. The amount of FODMAPs present within foods depends on the type of food and the amount that you're eating.
Most animal proteins, such as meat and seafood don't contain carbohydrates so they can be enjoyed and tailored easily to anyone's nutrition goals.
However, this is only true for whole-food proteins (outlined in the table below). Pay attention to how your protein is prepared or what it is marinated in to ensure it is low-FODMAP.
Unfortunately the same can't be said for plant-based proteins, so be sure to read the label on any plant-based meat alternatives.
|Approved (Low FODMAP)||Avoid (High FODMAP)|
Certain vegetables are rich in High FODMAP fructans and mannitol and should be avoided during the elimination phase and slowly reintroduced.
Nuts & Seeds
Most of these are tolerated in small amounts, about 10-15 each. Great for garnishes, a quick snack, or blending into homemade pestos.
|Low FODMAP||High FODMAP|
Monash University classifies most fats and oils low FODMAP and recommends reducing your serving size to 1 tablespoon per serving (14). The key is to make sure if you are purchasing pre-made salad dressings or sauces prepared with oil that you double-check the ingredient label.
|Low FODMAP||High FODMAP|
Some fruits are naturally high in sugars such as sorbitol and fructose making them high FODMAP.
|Low FODMAP||High FODMAP|
Dairy & Dairy Alternatives
Lactose is the main FODMAP present in most dairy foods, but luckily there is a variety of plant-based milk alternatives and low-lactose dairy foods such as butter and certain cheese.
|Low FODMAP||High FODMAP|
Whole-Grains, Cereal Products, and Bread
These will be your main source of carbohydrates when following a low FODMAP protocol and help you maintain your caloric intake. The most present high FODMAP grain and cereal products are fructans and in small amounts GOS,
|Low FODMAP||High FODMAP|
Sweeteners, Additives, and Drinks
These are often the foods hidden in the ingredient list in sweets, processed foods, and junk foods. If you can't pronounce an ingredient, don't know what it is, or it ends in 'ose or ol' (meaning it is a sugar or sugar polyol) go ahead and leave it at the store. Fructose is the most common FODMAP found in foods to avoid.
|Low FODMAP (in small amounts)||High FODMAP|
Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor and variety to your diet. Although further research is needed to identify the FODMAP concentration in a wider variety of herbs and spices, here are some that will enhance the flavor:
- Fresh Herbs such as parsley, cilantro, thyme, basil, rosemary
- Lemon and Lime Juice
- Salt and pepper
- Spices such as coriander, turmeric, cumin, red pepper flakes, paprika
Be sure to purchase whole herbs and spices and avoid ingredient blends that may contain high-FODMAP foods such as onion and garlic.
Healthy Low FODMAP Snacks
Any well-rounded meal plan will include snacks! Here are some safe snacks when following this food plan:
- Gluten-Free pretzels and 2 ounces of brie
- One small banana and 10 almonds
- Lactose-free yogurt (6 oz) with 1/2 cup of berries and 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Rice cakes with 2-3 tablespoons peanut or pumpkin seed butter
- Low FODMAP protein bars or nut bars (such as FODY bars)
- Turkey and Cheese Tortilla Wrap with brown-rice tortillas (layer in some greens for crunch!)
- Instant Oatmeal
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- A handful of pumpkin seeds or Nuts
- Canned Tuna with Gluten-Free Crackers
- 1/4 cup or less of hummus (with no onion or garlic)
3 Tips For Shopping Low-Fodmap
If you are new to eating Low FODMAP, this may seem like a big change to your life. Cutting out grains, processed foods, dairy, and a load of other relatively common items may seem overwhelming, a trick is to focus on all the wonderful things you can eat, and not want you can't.
Here are some tips we have to simplify the process and put your worries at ease.
1)Plan Your Meals
If you are struggling with where to begin, planning out meals that you enjoy will be a good place to start.
Look to the internet for low map recipes and inspiration, pick up a low FODMAP cookbook.
The easiest way to get started is by picking 1-2 proteins, 2-3 vegetables, and 2 carbs for the week. Cook your ingredients in bulk and portion out what you need in individual meal prep containers!
Take some time and build a weekly menu for yourself or bookmark specific recipes you enjoy. Think about what recipes use similar ingredients and are easy to prepare to save yourself time and stick to a budget.
Try out our free calorie calculator if you're not sure how much you should be eating per day to meet your nutrient needs.
2)Make A Grocery List
Once you have decided what meals you want to make for the week, create a list of all of the ingredients you need to make that food. As simple as this sounds, it will make it much easier for you to stick to a set plan and not get too deep into the aisles of a grocery store.
This is also the chance to think through what beverages you will drink and snacks you will need for your week.
Having something as simple as a grocery list will keep you on track and ensure you get exactly what you came for. It will also help familiarize you with where to find low FODMAP foods in your local store.
3)Learn How to Read Food Labels
If eating a packaged food items, always check the nutrition facts label to double-check the ingredients.
Common high-FODMAP foods in processed or packaged foods: onions, garlic, milk-powders, fructose, and sugar polyols (end in 'ol').
How to Eat Out Low FODMAP?
Let's be frank, not everyone will have the time or want to cook every single thing at home. The low FODMAP map diet is very restrictive but it's not impossible to eat out while following this protocol. Onions and garlic are the biggest culprits when attempting to dine out.
- Look for places offering gluten-free items, as they may be able to accommodate dietary restrictions better; the best thing to do is just ask!
- Basic low-FODMAP options: gluten-free burger with no onions or added sauces, grilled fish, roasted or grilled chicken, gluten-free pasta, brown rice
- Salads are great to order without the dressing and instead toss with vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil.
- Go for Greek: surprisingly this cuisine doesn't rely on garlic and onion as much in some of their dishes. With a variety of flavorful ingredients such as halloumi (cheese), greek yogurt, prawns, and lamb this is a great cuisine to dine out at while on a low-FODMAP plan.
Looking for an easy way to track your food intake while following a low FODMAP?
Download the Trifecta app now to start logging your food and symptoms to stay on top of your health and wellness goals.