The FODMAP diet may seem a little daunting. No wheat, no onions, no garlic, no avocados – am I going to be hungry forever!? This was my initial reaction to the diet. After accepting the challenge, the fear soon turned to serious confusion as I tried to work out what foods to avoid.
High vs Low Fodmap Foods
High / Low Fodmap Food Summary
FOODS KNOWN TO BE HIGH IN FODMAPS THAT SHOULD THEREFORE BE RESTRICTED
Additives (sweeteners and added fiber): fructo-oligosaccharides, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, inulin, isomalt, mannitol, maltitol, polydextrose, sorbitol, xylitol
Cereal and grain foods: bran (from wheat, rye, or barley); bread (from wheat, rye, or barley); breakfast cereals, granolas, and muesli (from wheat, rye, or barley); crackers (from wheat or rye); pasta, including couscous and gnocchi (from wheat); wheat noodles (chow mein, udon, etc.)
Drinks: chamomile and fennel tea, chicory-based coffee substitutes, juices made from unsuitable fruits (below)
Fruits: apples, apricots, Asian pears, blackberries, boysenberries, cherries, figs, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, prunes, tamarillos, watermelon, white peaches
Legumes: beans (all kinds, including certain forms of soy, such as textured vegetable protein/TVP), chickpeas, lentils
Milk and milk products: custard, ice cream, milk (cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s, including whole, low-fat, skim, evaporated, and condensed), pudding, soft cheeses, yogurt (cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s)
Nuts: cashews, pistachios
Vegetables: artichokes (globe and Jerusalem), asparagus, cauliflower, garlic (and garlic powder in large amounts), leeks, mushrooms, onions (red, white, yellow, and onion powder), scallions (white part), shallots, snow peas, sugar snap peas
FOODS KNOWN TO BE MODERATE IN FODMAPS THAT SHOULD THEREFORE BE EATEN IN MODERATION
Fruits: cherries, longans, lychee, pomegranate, rambutan
Milk and milk products: cottage cheese, cream, cream cheese, crème fraîche, mascarpone, ricotta
Nuts: almonds, hazelnuts
Vegetables: avocado, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, celery, corn, fennel, green peas, savoy cabbage, sweet potato
Note: Courtesy Monash University, Department of Gastroenterology
Low Fodmap Food Chart
FODMAP FOODS GROUPS
Foods that contain FODMAPs can be split into three categories:
1. Those with large amounts of FODMAPs (i.e., the amount consumed in a serving of the food is definitely above the cutoff that has been shown to cause symptoms).
2. Those with moderate amounts of FODMAPs (i.e., the amount consumed in a serving of food is elevated, but not excessively so. These foods should be suitable when consumed up to the quantities defined in the following tables).
3. Those that are low in FODMAPs (i.e., they contain FODMAPs at a level that has been proven to be well tolerated by people with IBS).
See the infographic Below:
Low Fodmap Vegetables
Enjoy plenty of vegetables of different types and colors, as this provides us with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Try to eat servings of low-FODMAP vegetables each day, preferably from each of the groups below:
- dark-green leafy vegetables – spinach, chard, bok choy, choy sum
- orange-yellow vegetables – carrots, sweet potato, squash (restrict butternut)
- starchy vegetables – potato, sweet potato, parsnip
- others – beans, lettuce, zucchini, bell pepper, rutabaga, turnips, cucumber, eggplant.
High vs LOW Vegetables FODMAPs
- Bean sprouts
- Green beans
Fodmap Vegetables Lists Do:
- Bean sprouts
- Bok choy
- Butternut Squash (in small quantities)
- Celery (in small quantities)
- Green beans
- Spring onion (green bit)
- Sweet potato (in small quantities)
Fodmap Vegetables Lists Don’t:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Onion (completely avoid!)
- Spring onion (white bit)
- Sugar snap peas
- Sweet corn
Low FODMAP Fruits
Fruits are a great snack idea and really nutritious. Try to include two pieces per day from the following low-FODMAP suggestions during Step One of the low-FODMAP diet.
Remember to spread out your fruit intake to be the equivalent of one piece of fruit at a time, every two to three hours:
- Low-FODMAP fruits rich in vitamin C – oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, kiwi, pawpaw, tomatoes
- Low-FODMAP fruits rich in vitamin A – cantaloupe, pawpaw, tomatoes
- Other low-FODMAP fruits – bananas, grapes, honeydew melon or passion fruit.
Fodmap Fruits Do:
- Grapes (in small quantities)
- Honeydew and Canteloupe Melon
- Passion fruit
- Pineapple (not dried)
- Pomegranate (in small quantities)
- Raisins (in small quantities)
- Sultanas (in small quantities)
Fodmap Fruits Dont:
Low Fodmap Milk-based foods and beverages
Low-FODMAP milk-based foods and beverages include lactose-free milk, lactose-free yogurt and all formed/block/hard/yellow cheeses.
Milk-based products are all excellent sources of calcium, which the body uses to build bones and teeth, and to keep them hard and strong.
Osteoporosis is a condition of weak, brittle bones and can affect males and females, but it is most common in elderly women. To help minimize the risk of osteoporosis, we are all encouraged to include two to three servings of milk-based products in our diet every day. Milk-based products are the richest sources of calcium
Low Fodmap Cereals / Grains / Wheat products
Cereals / Grains / Wheat products Do:
- Gluten-free alternatives
- Rice cakes
- Tortilla chips
- Wheat free muesli and porridge
Cereals / Grains / Wheat products Dont:
- Cereals containing wheat, apple, honey or excess dried fruit
- Pasta and noodles
- Wheat based biscuits and cakes
Low Fodmap Sweets, sweeteners, spreads and condiments
- Balsamic vinegar (in small quantities)
- Barbeque sauce
- Dark chocolate
- Golden syrup / maple syrup
- Jams (mostly)
- Milk chocolate (in small quantities)
- Peanut butter
- Pesto (in small quantities)
- Soy sauce
- White, brown, raw & castor sugar
- White chocolate (in small quantities)
- Artificial sweeteners
- Corn syrups
- Almonds (max 10)
- Halloumi (in small quantities)
- Hard cheeses (e.g. cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella)
- Lactose-free milk
- Other nuts not listed
- Rice / nut milks
- Nut butters
- Cashew nuts
- Ice cream
- Pistachio nuts
- Soft cheese
FODMAP Free Foods List
The following foods have just a LOW amount of Fodmap, they can be considered as FREE from FODMAP.
On the low fodmap diet, these free fodmap foods can be eaten as much as possible:
- Bell Peppers (red)
- Capsicum (red)
- Collard greens
- Potato (regular)
- Seaweed (nori)
- Swiss Chard
FODMAP Diet Shopping List
Low FODMAP grocery shopping is a challenge when you are just starting out.
Not only do you suddenly have to avoid a lot of products, you also have to read every label, because products often contain hidden FODMAPs. I hear from a lot of people that they really feel lost in the supermarket in the beginning and I totally get that. There are so many different names for ingredients. Even after 5 years of being on the low FODMAP diet, I am sometimes in doubt about whether a certain ingredient is low FODMAP or not.
To make it all a bit easier, I have a list for you today with the most common ingredients that are not low FODMAP. This is not a complete list, I have just collected common ingredients for you that might be confusing when you are just starting out with the diet. After the high FODMAP list, I have also made a list of a few ingredients that are low FODMAP, that you maybe wouldn’t expect to be low FODMAP.
High FODMAP Shopping List
High FODMAP, so avoid this:
- Onion (powder) and garlic (powder)
- Spices → when “spices” is listed on a package, there might be garlic and onion in it. Often this is a very small amount, but this can already be enough to cause problems. If the spices are not specified on the ingredients list, it is best to avoid the product.
- Honey (1 tbsp is low FODMAP) agave syrup (1 tsp is low FODMAP), fructose, fructose-glucose syrup, fructose syrup, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructo-oligosaccharide, oligofructose, galacto-oligosaccharide
- Sweeteners that are high in FODMAPs, such as: mannitol (E421), sorbitol (E420), maltitol (E421), xylitol (E967), isomalt (E953) and erythritol (E968)
- High FODMAP dried fruit or fruit extract / juice, such as apple juice.
- Inulin, chicory fibre and lupin.
- Wheat flour, lupin flour, rye, barley, coconut flour and lentil flour
- Lactose, milk powder, whey powder, whey protein and other names for milk or lactose*
*Note that some products that contain lactose are low FODMAP. Hard yellow cheeses (like Dutch cheese) are low FODMAP, cheeses like brie and mozzarella hardly contain any lactose and butter is low FODMAP. Milk chocolate is low FODMAP up to 15 g per serving. Most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate small amounts of lactose and therefore lactose doesn’t have to be completely avoided. Some people have no problems with lactose at all and don’t have to avoid the FODMAP group lactose.
High FODMAP ingredients that you often see in gluten-free products are: inulin, lupin, chicory, sorbitol and fructose. When a product is gluten-free, it doesn’t mean that it is also low FODMAP, unfortunately.
The foods on the list below are low FODMAP, even though you might have not expected that!
Low FODMAP Shopping List
Apple fiber, aspartame, beet sugar, barley malt, glucose, glucose-fructose syrup, guar gum, invert sugar, corn syrup, maltose, pea protein, soy lecithin, soy protein, sorghum, stevia, sucralose, wheat starch, whey protein isolate, xanthan gum.
Soy flour is a confusing one. There are a few kinds of gluten-free bread that contain soy flour that are certified low FODMAP. Because of that it is said that soy flour is allowed in small amounts, for example when it is added in a low FODMAP bread together with other kinds of low FODMAP flour. It is best to test for yourself how you react to a gluten-free product with a little soy flour in it. Then you will know for sure if you tolerate it or not. Soy flour is high FODMAP in large amounts.
If you are not sure whether an ingredient is low FODMAP or not and you can’t find it in the app: Google it! I usually google the name of the ingredient and the word FODMAP and often something pops up. There is quite some information about the FODMAP diet to be found on the internet nowadays!
Low FODMAP label reading is a difficult topic as you can see! It is mainly a matter of taking the time to read labels well every time. I personally notice that I often make mistakes when I am in a hurry. Then I scan the ingredient list quickly, throw something in my basket and at home I find out that there was fructose or another high FODMAP ingredient on the label that I missed. It is important to not rush your low FODMAP grocery shopping.
Therefore, I want to give you the following task for this week in the challenge: take some extra time for your weekly grocery round this week and spend time reading labels from different products. Try to make yourself familiar with the different ingredients (keep the list from this email with you) and see if you can recognise which products are low FODMAP and which aren’t. The more you check labels, the better you will get at spotting high FODMAP ingredients in products!
Finally, it is also good to regularly check the ingredient lists for products that you know are low FODMAP. Producers change up the ingredients that they use and unfortunately that sometimes results in a low FODMAP product becoming high FODMAP.
FODMAP FOOD LABELS
When reading food labels, it’s important to bear in mind that even when the ingredients list includes items identified as being high in FODMAPs, the whole food itself may not be high-FODMAP.
On food labels, the ingredients are listed in descending order by weight.
This means that the ingredients listed first are present in the greatest amounts, and the ingredients listed last are in the smallest amounts. As a general rule, if a high-FODMAP food – for example, onion, garlic or honey – is one of the very last ingredients, or is indicated on the label to make up less than 5 percent of the total product, it’s likely that, overall, the complete food will be low-FODMAP.
Fodmap FOOD LABELS Examples
Avoid Fodmap Food additives
People on a low-FODMAP diet should restrict these food additives, which are sweeteners and humectants:
- isomalt — contains sorbitol and mannitol
- polydextrose — 10 percent sorbitol.
These food additives, however, are low-FODMAP:
- acidity regulators
- anticaking agents
- antifoaming agents
- bulking agents
- color fixatives
- firming agents
- flavor enhancers
- foaming agents
- gelling agents
- glazing agents
- leavening agents
- mineral salts
- sweeteners (other than those listed above)