Living with digestive disorders can be extremely frustrating, uncomfortable, and even detrimental to your quality of life. Certain carbohydrates, or FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols), have been linked to gastrointestinal disorders, which are resistant to digestion and not properly absorbed by the body. These short-chain carbohydrates may cause disorders like IBS and symptoms such as bloating, constipation, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
If you’re experiencing any side-effects or symptoms of FODMAP intolerance, a change in your diet can be extremely important to your overall health and well-being. Below is a beginner’s guide to a low FODMAP diet that will help you recognize symptoms of distress linked to FODMAPs, pinpoint foods that contain FODMAPs and help you create a new diet that will alleviate symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Digestive Disorders and Symptoms Linked to FODMAP Consumption
When you consume FODMAP carbohydrates, they travel through the body landing in the large intestine. The FODMAPs then are fermented and used as fuel by the gut bacteria. Water is drawn into the large intestine and hydrogen gas is produced, which may cause uncomfortable and painful side effects if you have a digestive disorder. Common symptoms linked to FODMAP intolerance include:
- Distention of the abdomen
- Cramping and discomfort
- Worsening of digestive disorders and their symptoms such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), microscopic colitis and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Common FODMAP Foods to Avoid
For those with digestive disorders, avoiding FODMAP foods can drastically improve symptoms. Although it may not cure disorders such as IBS, avoiding these foods may significantly decrease flare-ups. Knowing which foods contain FODMAPs is the first step in creating a low-FODMAP diet. Below is a comprehensive list of common FODMAP foods to avoid.
High-FODMAP Fruit to Avoid
Apples, ripe bananas, watermelon, grapefruit, mangoes, pears, apricots, blackberries, cherries, plums, nectarines, peaches, figs, currants, tamarillos, avocado, boysenberries, prunes, dried fruit, fruit juice and juice concentrate.
High-FODMAP Vegetables to Avoid
Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, leeks, chicory, artichokes, snow peas, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, cabbage, peas, karela, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, onions, scallions, and shallots.
High-FODMAP Legumes to Avoid
Most legumes and beans including: soybeans, soy milk, kidney beans, baked beans, hava beans, navy beans, broad beans, chickpeas, split peas, butter beans, lima beans, black beans, and lentils.
High-FODMAP Sweeteners to Avoid
Honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, xylitol and inulin.
High-FODMAP Dairy and Lactose to Avoid
Cow’s milk, goat milk, sheep milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, buttermilk, heavy cream, cheese (especially unripe and soft cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese, mascarpone and ricotta cheese), yogurt, custard, margarine, frozen yogurt, and ice cream.
High-FODMAP Nuts and Grains to Avoid
Grains: All breads, cereals and snacks containing wheat, barley, spelt and rye. Nuts: pistachios and cashews.
How to Follow a Low-FODMAP Diet
When starting a low-FODMAP diet, it’s best to create a “shopping” list by category of low-FODMAP foods that you enjoy eating. From there you can begin to experiment with recipes and collect your favorites. Below is a list of Low-FODMAP foods to help you create your new diet.
Best Low-FODMAP Fruit
Unripe bananas, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, lemons, limes, oranges, tangelos, clementines, grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, galia melon, kiwi, pineapple, passionfruit, pawpaw, and rhubarb.
Best Low-FODMAP Vegetables
Lettuce, kale, arugula, spinach, broccoli, beets, celery, alfalfa, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, bell peppers, chili peppers, bok choy, collard greens, green beans, eggplant, ginger, pumpkin, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, okra, olives, and water chestnuts.
Best Low-FODMAP Grains
Oats, oatmeal, brown rice, black rice, white rice, buckwheat, quinoa and FODMAP friendly gluten-free products.
Best Low-FODMAP Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, almond flour, walnuts, pecans, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Best Low-FODMAP Dairy and Lactose Substitutes
Almond milk, rice milk, oat milk, lactose free milk (careful of artificial sweeteners), hemp milk, and coconut milk.
Best Low-FODMAP Sweeteners
100% pure maple syrup, stevia, and sugar/ sucrose (such as brown sugar, granulated sugar, beet sugar, cane sugar, raw sugar, simple syrup).
Low-FODMAP Diet Recipes from Digestive Healthcare Center
Following a low-FODMAP diet doesn’t have to be stressful! Come to Digestive Healthcare Center to talk with one of our highly-skilled gastroenterologists to discuss the right low-FODMAP diet for you. Schedule an appointment and take a look at some of our recommended low-FODMAP recipes to get started on your journey to better digestive health.