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  • Tim James

Low FODMAP diet. How FODMAPs cause IBS and what foods help?

Updated: Apr 22

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can cause digestive symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Types of FODMAPs

  • Oligosaccharides: These are carbohydrates that are made up of a small number of sugar molecules. Examples include fructans, which are found in wheat, rye, onions, and garlic.

  • Disaccharides: These are carbohydrates that are made up of two sugar molecules. Examples include lactose, which is found in dairy products, and fructose, which is found in fruits, honey, and high-fructose corn syrup.

  • Monosaccharides: These are the simplest form of carbohydrates and are made up of a single sugar molecule. Examples include glucose and fructose.

  • Polyols: These are sugar alcohols that are found in some fruits and vegetables, as well as in artificial sweeteners. Examples include sorbitol and mannitol.

Symptoms of FODMAP Sensitivity

People with FODMAP sensitivity may experience a variety of digestive symptoms after eating foods that contain FODMAPs. These symptoms can include:

  • Gas

  • Bloating

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Stomach pain

Diet Low in FODMAPs

A diet low in FODMAPs can help to reduce or eliminate digestive symptoms in people with IBS. This diet involves eliminating foods that are high in FODMAPs and replacing them with low-FODMAP alternatives.

Benefits of a Diet Low in FODMAPs

In addition to reducing digestive symptoms, a diet low in FODMAPs may also have other benefits, such as:

  • Improved quality of life

  • Reduced risk of depression and anxiety

  • Improved sleep quality

Talk to Your Doctor

If you are experiencing digestive symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can help you to determine if you have IBS and whether a diet low in FODMAPs is right for you.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips for following a diet low in FODMAPs:

  • Read food labels carefully to identify high-FODMAP foods.

  • Cook your own meals as much as possible.

  • Keep a food diary to track your symptoms and identify FODMAP triggers.

  • Work with a registered dietitian to create a personalised meal plan.

Remember that a diet low in FODMAPs is not a cure for IBS, but it can help to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. -- Before we move onto the FODMAP diet, it is important to understand the symptoms of IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that affects the large intestine, also known as the colon. the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are characterised by a range of gastrointestinal symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal Pain or Cramping: This is the most common symptom of IBS, typically occurring in the lower abdomen. The pain can be sharp, dull, or cramping and may worsen after eating or improve after passing a bowel movement.

  • Bloating: A feeling of fullness, tightness, or distention in the abdomen is another frequent symptom of IBS. Bloating can cause discomfort and may make clothing feel uncomfortably tight.

  • Changes in Bowel Habits: IBS can affect the frequency, consistency, and urgency of bowel movements. Constipation, diarrhoea, or alternating between the two can occur.

  • Gas: Excessive gas production and passage of gas (flatulence) are common symptoms of IBS. This can be accompanied by bloating and abdominal discomfort.

  • Nausea and Fatigue: Some individuals with IBS may experience nausea, a feeling of sickness or queasiness in the stomach. Fatigue or tiredness is also a reported symptom in some cases.

  • Mucus in Stool: Passing mucus in stool is not always a symptom of IBS, but it can occur in some individuals.

  • Urgency to Defecate: A sudden and strong urge to have a bowel movement is another potential symptom of IBS. This urgency may be difficult to control, leading to the need to rush to the toilet.

  • Incomplete Bowel Evacuation: Feeling like you haven't completely emptied your bowels after a bowel movement is a common complaint among IBS patients.

It is important to note that not everyone with IBS will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other potential causes of digestive symptoms must be ruled out before a diagnosis of IBS can be made. Dietary fibre is often recommended to patients with IBS (and maybe a gluten-free diet) and increasing your fibre intake can improve yoru overall health and relieve uncomfortable symptoms. The digestive system plays a crucial part of our overall body health and fibre is always good!

What is the FODMAP diet?

The FODMAP diet, also known as the low-FODMAP diet, is an eating plan that restricts certain types of carbohydrates to reduce digestive symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. When these carbohydrates reach the large intestine, they are fermented by bacteria, which can produce gas and cause digestive discomfort. How the FODMAP Diet Works The FODMAP diet works by reducing the intake of these poorly absorbed carbohydrates. This helps to reduce the amount of gas and other digestive symptoms that people with IBS experience. The diet typically involves three phases:

  1. Elimination phase: In this phase, all high-FODMAP foods are eliminated from the diet for a period of 4-6 weeks. This helps to identify which FODMAPs are triggering symptoms.

  2. Reintroduction phase: In this phase, high-FODMAP foods are gradually reintroduced into the diet one at a time. This helps to determine which FODMAPs are tolerated and which ones cause symptoms.

  3. Maintenance phase: In this phase, a diet is created that includes low-FODMAP foods and excludes foods that have been identified as triggers.

Benefits of the FODMAP Diet The FODMAP diet has been shown to be effective in reducing digestive symptoms in people with IBS. Studies have shown that the diet can:

  • Reduce abdominal pain and bloating

  • Improve stool consistency

  • Reduce gas and diarrhoea

Who Should Follow the FODMAP Diet? The FODMAP diet is not a cure for IBS, but it can be a helpful tool for managing symptoms. The diet is typically recommended for people who have been diagnosed with IBS and who are experiencing moderate to severe digestive symptoms. High FODMAP foods (and low FODMAP foods) are cruical to understand how these relate to IBS (inflammatory bowel disease), gastrointestinal symptoms, and IBS symptoms. Considerations Before Starting the FODMAP Diet It is important to talk to your doctor before starting the FODMAP diet. They can help you to determine if the diet is right for you and can monitor you for any potential side effects. Additionally, it is recommended to work with a registered dietitian to create a personal, tailored meal plan and to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition.

images of different food to eat on a low fodmap diet
The low FODMAP diet

Conclusion The FODMAP diet is a safe and effective way to manage digestive symptoms in people with IBS. The diet works by reducing the intake of poorly absorbed carbohydrates, which helps to reduce gas and other digestive discomfort. While the diet can be challenging to follow, it can significantly improve quality of life for people with IBS.

What foods should you avoid on the FODMAPs diet?

Pictures of different food to eat and avoid on a low fodmaps diet
What foods to eat/avoid on a low FODMAPs diet

When following the FODMAP diet, also known as the low-FODMAP diet, it's crucial to avoid certain types of carbohydrates that can trigger digestive symptoms in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Here's a comprehensive list of foods to avoid on the FODMAP diet plan:


  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Cherries

  • Peaches

  • Mangoes

  • Watermelon

  • Blackberries

  • Dried fruits


  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Artichokes

  • Asparagus

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Cauliflower

  • Mushrooms

Dairy Products:

  • Milk

  • Yogurt

  • Cheese

  • Ice cream

  • Butter

Grains and Breads:

  • Wheat

  • Rye

  • Barley

  • Pasta

  • Bread

  • Crackers


  • Honey

  • High-fructose corn syrup

  • Artificial sweeteners (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol)


  • Beans

  • Lentils

  • Chickpeas

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Cashews

  • Pistachios

Condiments and Sauces:

  • Ketchup

  • Barbecue sauce

  • Soy sauce


  • Fruit juices

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Alcohol (beer, wine, spirits)

Additional Considerations:

  • Limit fructose intake from fruits and honey.

  • Avoid artificial sweeteners that end in "-ol".

  • Choose low-fat dairy alternatives like lactose-free milk or yogurt.

  • Opt for gluten-free bread and crackers made with rice or other low-FODMAP grains.

  • Replace nuts and seeds with low-FODMAP options like almonds or sunflower seeds.

  • Use FODMAP-friendly condiments and sauces like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs.

Remember, the FODMAP diet is different for everyone, and individual sensitivities may vary. It's recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to create a tailored FODMAP-friendly meal plan that suits your specific needs and preferences. Celiac disease is common, but certain food trigger gut bacteria and different bowel habits for everyone. It's important to speak with your Doctor!

What supplements can you take to help with IBS? Alternatives to the FODMAPs diet.

Thankfully, you don't have to go on the FODMAP diet as there are alternatives that can help. Many people try these health supplements before going on the experimenting with FODMAPs as they are often effective and you don't have the hassle of an annoying diet plan. There is an incredible product that we highly recommend here (with free worldwide shipping) that works well for gut health, IBS and it is a great first step before trying a FODMAPs diet.

The History of FODMAP diet.

The development of the FODMAP diet can be attributed to the pioneering research conducted at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. In 2005, a team of researchers led by Professor Peter Gibson and Dr Jane Muir embarked on a comprehensive investigation into the role of short-chain carbohydrates in the pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Prior to this study, the understanding of IBS was largely focused on psychological factors and gut motility disorders. However, Professor Gibson and Dr Muir hypothesised that specific dietary components might be contributing to the gastrointestinal symptoms experienced by IBS patients.

Their research involved identifying and classifying short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs) that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. These carbohydrates, including oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, are then fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, producing gas and exacerbating IBS symptoms.

Through a series of carefully controlled clinical trials, the Monash University team demonstrated that a diet low in FODMAPs could significantly reduce digestive symptoms in IBS patients. Their findings challenged the prevailing understanding of IBS and paved the way for a new dietary approach to managing the condition.

The FODMAP diet has since gained widespread recognition and acceptance as an effective treatment for IBS. The Monash University team continues to conduct research on FODMAPs and their impact on gut health, further refining dietary guidelines and providing valuable insights for IBS management.

Recipes for people on a FODMAPs diet



  • Grilled Salmon Salad with Mixed Greens: Grill salmon fillets and serve them alongside a salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette made with low-FODMAP oils and vinegar.

  • Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Vegetables: Toss together cooked quinoa, drained and rinsed chickpeas, chopped vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell peppers, and a light vinaigrette made with low-FODMAP oils and vinegar.

  • Lentil Soup with Whole-Grain Bread: Prepare a hearty lentil soup using lentils, vegetables, and broth, and pair it with whole-grain bread for a satisfying and fibre-rich meal.


These are just a few ideas to get you started on a low-FODMAP diet. There are many other delicious and nutritious recipes that are safe for people with IBS. With a little creativity, you can easily find recipes that fit your taste and dietary needs.

Remember to always check food labels carefully to identify high-FODMAP foods, and consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for dietary advice and support. Also, make sure to avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs, keep dietary fiber at the top of your mind and remember that the FODMAPs diet is great for weight loss and long term health benefits. Avoiding fermentable sugars and improving the health of your digestive tract is always a good idea. Remember, chat with your healthcare provider for more advice! If a FODMAP diet isn't for you, or it sounds like a hassle, try this dietary supplement first.

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