The Low-FODMAP Diet
FODMAP is an acronym that describes 5 different sugars that are found in commonly consumed foods that include fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols 1.
Each of these sugars shares three major characteristics including poor absorption within the small intestine, rapid fermentation as a result of the length of the carbohydrate chains present in these sugars and a high level of osmotic activity due to the small size of these sugars.
These properties combined with the similar structure of these sugars play an important role in their ability to induce a number of gastrointestinal (GI) issues including bloating, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and/or constipation 2.
These symptoms are commonly found in people with GI issues such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other related disorders, which explains why a low-FODMAP diet has often been recommended and found success in helping alleviate some of the symptoms these individuals experience with their respective disorders.
In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about the Low-FODMAP diet. What exactly it is, how the FODMAP plan works, a Low-FODMAP diet food chart, list, and recipes so that you can find relief!
Table of Contents
How Does a Low FODMAP Diet Work?
There are three phases of a low FODMAP diet plan:
- ELIMINATE → Completely remove all high FODMAP foods from your diet. The duration of this phase should be about 2-4 weeks.
- REINTRODUCE → Slowly add FODMAP foods back to your diet. The duration of this phase should be 6-8 weeks.
- MAINTENANCE → Work with your doctor to decide which form of the low FODMAP diet works best for you, depending upon what your results of the phase 2 of the diet show.
By following these steps of the low FODMAP diet, individuals with SIBO, IBS or other GI disorders are able to normalize their daily food patterns to ensure that they receive an adequate supply of all nutrients.
Additionally, by reintroducing certain foods back into their diets, these individuals are better able to identify exactly which food items and groups are causing them to experience certain allergies and intolerances, and which they can tolerate with little to no problems.
Note: In the case of SIBO and IBS a lot of people stick to a FODMAP conscious diet for the long term because they find that the super high FODMAP foods really cause issues.
This does not mean you will have to restrict all higher FODMAPs forever but that you will figure out which highly fermentable carbohydrates you need to be careful with and limit.
It’s about learning what’s best for your own gut!
Importance of a Food Diary
It is strongly encouraged that when an individual begins the low FODMAP diet that they use a food diary to track their daily nutrition intake, as well as any environmental, emotional or physical factors may influence the severity of their symptoms.
Using a food diary at the beginning of the diet is a good way to find out what exactly you are eating and how that affects your GI symptoms. Sometimes, unless you do a diary for a few weeks it’s hard to remember what exactly you ate.
Although, this does not mean you have to continue with a food diary ongoing since over time you will learn which foods are best for you.
For example, when you discover that certain foods cause you more gas, flatulence, or diarrhea, you can immediately record your symptoms so that you can limit and be careful with that carbohydrate in the future.
Does Research Support the Low FODMAP Diet?
The first clinical study that evaluated the potential clinical benefits of a low FODMAP diet was published in 2008, and a number of subsequent studies have demonstrated how the low FODMAP diet shows a therapeutic response in IBS patients in particular.
In fact, over the last 10 years, IBS patients have shown a 52-76% improvement in their symptoms with the low FODMAP diet, which has supported the widespread adoption of this dietary approach for GI issues.
To date, approximately 400 clinical studies have been performed to assess the efficacy of the low FODMAP diet on patients with a wide range of GI disorders including IBS, ulcerative colitis (HC), SIBO and Crohn’s disease (CD).
The following chart describes some of the clinical studies that have been performed to study the effect of the low FODMAP diet on patients with GI disorders.
|Bohn et al. (2015)||4 weeks||50% symptom improvement in patients with IBS.|
|Eswaran et al. (2017)||4 weeks||11% therapeutic gain in patients with IBS-D. More significant improvements in reducing pain, bloating and frequency of bowel movements were seen.|
|Staudacher et al. (2017)||4 weeks||Investigated the low FODMAP diet with or without probiotic supplementation. Researchers found that patients significantly improved on the low FODMAP diet as compared to a sham diet.|
What GI Disorders Respond Best To A Low FODMAP Diet?
Although most of the clinical studies have focused on the efficacy of the low FODMAP diet with treating the symptoms of IBS patients, patients with the following GI issues have also shown clinical improvement when adopting this diet to their daily life.
- Functional diarrhea (chronic loose stool without abdominal pain)
- Abdominal bloating
- Non-celiac gluten sensitivity
- Celiac disease
- SIBO (60% of IBS patients have SIBO)
Low FODMAP Diet Food Chart
These foods are all low in FODMAPs and great for the diet.
|Food Type||Low FODMAP Foods|
|Meat, Poultry, Eggs, Fish||Chicken, fish, eggs, pork, shellfish, turkey, beef, lamb, all other meats|
|Dairy (low lactose)||Lactose-free dairy, half and half, lactose-free cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Colby cheese, parmesan cheese|
|Non-Dairy Alternatives||Almond Milk, rice milk, nuts, nut butter, seeds, hemp milk|
|Wheat-Free Grains||Wheat-free Grains and Flours (with minimal fiber content) including bagels, breads, noodles, pasta, pretzels, waffles, tortillas, pancakes, quinoa, rice, cream of rice, cheerios, grits, oats, sourdough bread, soba noodles|
|Vegetables||Cucumbers, carrots, celery, eggplant, lettuce, leafy greens, pumpkin, potatoes, squash, yams, tomatoes, zucchini, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, bok choy, bean sprouts, collards, spaghetti squash, olives, green beans, rutabaga, spinach, ginger root, radishes, turnips, corn, mushrooms|
*limit to one serving*
|Bananas, berries, cantaloupe, grapes, honeydew, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, lime, orange, pineapple, rhubarb, passion fruit, kiwifruit, dragon fruit, papaya|
|Beverages||Small amounts of low FODMAP juice, coffee, tea, gin, vodka, wine, whiskey|
|Seasonings, Condiments, Spices||Basil, cilantro, lemongrass, parsley, mint, sage, thyme, homemade broth, chives, flaxseed, margarine, mayonnaise, olive oil, pepper, salt, sugar, mustard, vinegar, balsalmic vinegar, pure maple syrup, vanilla, dark chocolate|
|Desserts||Any made with low FODMAP foods|
High FODMAP Foods To Avoid
These foods are higher in FODMAPs and should be avoided or eaten carefully on the diet.
|Food Type||High FODMAP Foods|
|Meats, Poultry, Eggs, Fish||Anything made with HFCS or high FODMAP ingredients|
|Dairy||Cottage cheese, ice cream, creamy sauce, milk, soft cheeses, sour cream, whipped cream, evaporated milk, yogurt, custard|
|Non-Dairy Alternatives||Coconut cream, beans, hummus, pistachios, soy products, coconut milk, black-eyed peas, fava beans, kidney beans|
|Grains||Inulin, wheat, wheat flours, flour tortillas, rye, chicory root, barley|
|Vegetables||Artichokes, garlic, onion, onion and garlic powder, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, okra, snow peas, sun-dried tomatoes|
|Fruits||Large amounts avocado, apples, apricots, dates, canned fruit, cherries, dried fruit, figs, guava, mango, nectarines, pears, peaches, persimmon, watermelon, plums, prunes|
|Beverages||High FODMAP fruit and vegetable juices, rum, anything with HFCS, milk|
|Seasonings||HFCS, garlic, jams and jellies, onions, pickle, relish, artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, xylitol, agave, coconut|
|Desserts||Any made with High FODMAP|
Low-FODMAP Diet List
At SIBO Survivor we have created a simple, gut-friendly food list which can help you when grocery shopping. We made the list as simple as possible, incorporating Low FODMAP foods. It was specifically designed for people with SIBO, but it’s an awesome Low-FODMAP list for anyone with GI issues who wants to control their symptoms.
Low FODMAP Recipes
Here at SIBO Survivor, we created an awesome recipe book which is Low-FODMAP and SCD friendly for people with gut issues. You can check it out here.
We also have a number of recipes on the recipe page to check out.
Also, a number of bloggers and writers on the internet will actively try different recipes that follow the low FODMAP diet. Here are some well-known websites where you can find a variety of different recipes and ideas as you begin your transition to the low FODMAP diet.
|Website Name||Low FODMAP Recipe(s) Link|
|“For a Digestive Peace of Mind”
Kate Scarlata RDN, FODMAP & IBS Expert
|Low FODMAP Recipes|
|Rachel Pauls Food||Low FODMAP Recipes|
|A Saucy Kitchen||25 Low FODMAP Diet Dinner Recipes|
|A Little Bit Yummy||Low FODMAP Recipes|
|BBC Good Food||Low FODMAP Recipes|
|Meal Prep on Fleek||Eating with IBS – FODMAP Recipes|
|Cotter Crunch||Low FODMAP Friendly Gluten Free Meal Plan|
If you are struggling to manage your SIBO, IBS or other GI disorder-related symptoms, it may feel like a hopeless cause in trying to find the perfect dietary and supplement regimen that will bring you relief.
Don’t worry, there are a few different SIBO diets and diets for GI disorders that can help, including the FODMAP diet.
While the low FODMAP diet may not work for everyone, a significant amount of patients with IBS, as well as other GI disorders, have consistently shown improvements in their GI symptoms following the implementation of the low FODMAP diet.
At the very least, this diet protocol provides you with a simple way to eliminate the foods from your diet that you discover to cause you the most discomfort and keep those that you tolerate well.