What are FODMAPs? The foods that could be troubling you

FODMAPs

An Acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols, FODMAPs1 are a group of carbohydrates with the following traits:

  1. Poorly absorbed in the small intestine
  2. Can cause excessive water to be drawn into the intestines
  3. Can become rapidly fermented by bacteria present in the colon, which produces gas

Water and gas build-up can cause bloating, cramps, diarrhoea and constipation1. By reducing FODMAPs, these digestive symptoms can be minimised in some people. A team of researchers at Monash University in Australia have developed the Low FODMAP diet specifically for people with digestive issues.

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High and low FODMAPs food chart1,2

Select each letter for examples of high and low FODMAP foods and ingredients.*

*This list is not all inclusive

F
O
D
M
A
P

High FODMAP Foods

F

is for fermentable, which applies to all of the foods on this list.

Low FODMAP Foods

F

These foods low in FODMAPs create minimal fermentation.

High FODMAP Foods

O

is for Fructo- and Galacto- Oligosaccharides:

wheat, barley, rye, garlic, onions, dried fruit, nectarines, watermelon, persimmons, artichokes, inulin (chicory root extract), split peas, red kidney beans, black beans, baked beans, pistachios, cashews

Onions

Low FODMAP Foods

O

is for Fructo- and Galacto-Oligosaccharides (low FOS and GOS):

arugula, bok choy, bell peppers, carrots, collard greens, common cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, kale, lettuce, potatoes, corn, rice, quinoa—as well as corn, rice and quinoa pasta, rice cakes, potato chips, corn chips, oats, polenta, corn tortillas, pecans, macadamia nuts, peanuts, walnuts, chia, flax, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds

Eggplant

High FODMAP Foods

D

is for Disaccharides (lactose):

milk and milk products: custard, ice cream, yogurt, buttermilk, evaporated milk, milk powder

ice cream

Low FODMAP Foods

D

is for Disaccharides (low or no lactose):

Brie, Colby, cheddar, Swiss, goat, feta, mozzarella, parmesan, lactose-free cottage cheese, lactose-free milk, almond milk, coconut milk (canned), hemp milk, lactose-free yogurt

cheese

High FODMAP Foods

M

is for Monosaccharides (excess fructose):

apples, figs, boysenberries, pears, watermelon, asparagus, artichokes, sugar snap peas, high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave, rum, cherries

peas

Low FODMAP Foods

M

is for Monosaccharides (no excess fructose):

blueberries, cantaloupe, clementines, grapes, honeydew melon, kiwifruit, lemons, limes, Mandarin oranges, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, papaya

raspberry

And...

High FODMAP Foods

P

is for Polyols:

apples, apricots, blackberries, nectarines, peaches, pears, cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas, sugar alcohol additives such as isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol

peaches

Low FODMAP Foods

P

is for Polyols:

blueberries, cantaloupe, clementines, grapes, honeydew melon, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, table sugar, glucose, maple syrup, sucralose, stevia

strawberries

For a printable guide, visit www.monashfodmap.com

See how FODMAPs
can impact your body

This brief video will help you understand the effect FODMAPs can have on your body and how the Low FODMAP diet may help. 

Source: Department of Gastroenterology, Monash University. Use of this video granted with permission by Monash University (monashfodmap)

The Low FODMAP Diet:

Three Phases1,2

Always speak to your healthcare professional before making any dietary changes.

phase-1

Phase 1: Eliminate High FODMAP Foods Upon being advised by your physician or Accredited Practising Dietitian to begin the Low FODMAP diet, start by eliminating foods from your diet that are high in FODMAPs. This trial period can last for 2 to 6 weeks.

phase-2

Phase 2: Reintroduce Foods 1 by 1 Under the guidance of your physician or Accredited Practising Dietitian, reintroduce FODMAPs one at a time to distinguish individual FODMAP triggers and tolerance.

phase-3

Phase 3: Personalize Your Diet From there, a customised, well-balanced diet can be designed to address your personal dietary needs.

Many people discover they can still enjoy their favourite high FODMAP foods on occasion, in moderation. The goal is for each individual to eat the most varied diet he or she can tolerate. For more information on the Low FODMAP diet, visit MonashFodmap.com.

Gluten and FODMAPs

Gluten is a protein whereas FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates. However, there is an overlap between the two because wheat, rye and barley contain gluten and oligosaccharides (fructans, a type of FODMAP). Consequently, gluten free foods, which are made from rice flour, corn flour, potato flour and quinoa, may also be low in FODMAPs.

It may seem like a good idea to buy gluten free products while on a low FODMAP diet but many of these contain other ingredients that are high in FODMAPs, such as onion or honey. Always read the labels on food products carefully.

If you choose to go gluten free when you only require a low FODMAP diet, you may end up over-restricting your diet. Talk to your GP or dietitian to find out what is right for you.

Nutrients that may be reduced during elimination phase of a Low FODMAP diet1-3

Due to the types of high FODMAP foods elimiated on the low FODMAP diet, the intake of nutrients below may be reduced in some people:

  • Dietary Fibre
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin D

Ensure you speak to a healthcare practitioner to optimise the diet for your needs.

Tips for following
the Low FODMAP diet

Before you begin the Low FODMAP diet, please consult with your physician or Accredited Practising Dietitian.

  • Read labels while shopping to avoid high FODMAP ingredients like fructose, honey, mushrooms, garlic, onions, chicory root (inulin), wheat, rye, barley, polydextrose, fructo-oligosaccharides, milk, cream, erythritol, sorbitol and mannitol.
  • Remember that just because a product is gluten free does NOT mean it is also low in FODMAPs. Gluten free products may contain other FODMAP ingredients.
  • Download Monash University Smartphone App - Use the app to help identify the portions of foods that are low FODMAP and help with shopping and cooking.
  • Explore MonashFodmap.com for food lists and great recipes.

1Mansueto P et al. Nutr Clin Pract 2015;30(5):665–82

2Dugum M et al. Cleve Clin J Med 2016;83(9):655–62

3Catassi G et al. Nutrients 2017;9(3):E292