Low FODMAP Diet Guide

Low FODMAP Diet Guide

Dietary changes are often recommended as part of the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Changes are based on identifying and eliminating foods that trigger IBS symptoms.

The foods that cause IBS symptoms to worsen vary from person to person. However, there is one group of foods that is often the problem - they are called FODMAPs.

Note: This guide is only a resource for the low FODMAP diet. Before starting a low FODMAP diet, speak with your coach for guidance and to figure out the best approach for you.

FODMAPs

FODMAPs are a group of dietary sugars that include fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.

Studies of FODMAPs in people with IBS have found that they can, in fact, increase IBS symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. FODMAPs in the large intestine or colon provide fuel for certain bacteria, which leads to these symptoms.

Worldwide research supports the idea of FODMAP avoidance in people with IBS. Thus, the low FODMAP diet is the first-choice dietary treatment for those diagnosed with IBS.

How a Low FODMAP Diet Works

A low FODMAP diet is an elimination diet. It requires that you avoid foods containing FODMAPs. As you start, your diet may change a lot, depending on the amount of FODMAP foods you eat. Over time, the FODMAP foods are slowly added back into your diet.

Important! - The low FODMAP diet is complicated. As you go through the elimination or food challenge phases of the low FODMAP diet, you should work closely with your Goodpath coach. They can guide you step-by-step and tailor your diet based on your needs.

Low FODMAP Diet Examples

Low FODMAP Phase

During this phase, you will avoid all high-FODMAP foods (see below for examples of high-FODMAP and low-FODMAP foods). The length of time you need to avoid FODMAPs depends on how long it takes you to determine whether or not your symptoms are improving. It can be as short as 1 to 2 weeks, but may take longer.

Reintroduction Phase

Once you notice your symptoms are improving, it's time to start the Reintroduction (food challenge) phase. you will reintroduce different groups of foods. Every three days, reintroduce one particular food group. The order doesn’t matter.

For three days, watch for symptoms as you reintroduce the group of foods. Try a small amount on day 1, have twice the amount on day 2, and have a larger portion on day 3. If symptoms don’t flare up, then you’ll be able to have this food in your diet later on. Challenge #1 (e.g. onion)

  • Day 1: Introduce one small portion of food (e.g. 1 Tbsp [3 g] of onion)

  • Day 2: If no symptoms occur, eat twice the amount as day 1 (e.g. 2 Tbsp [6 g] of onion)

  • Day 3: If no symptoms occur, eat a larger portion than day 2 (e.g. 3 Tbsp [9 g] of onion)

Challenge #2 (e.g. cashews)

  • Day 1: Introduce one small portion of food (e.g. small handful of cashews)

  • Day 2: If no symptoms occur, eat twice the amount as day 1 (e.g. 1/4 cup [60 g] of cashews)

  • Day 3: If no symptoms occur, eat a larger portion than day 2 (e.g. 1/2 cup [120 g] of cashews)

Note: Only have a “challenge” food for one to three days. Do not add it back into your meal plan until the low FODMAP diet and reintroduction period is over. If a food causes symptoms, remove it immediately. Wait until your symptoms completely disappear before challenging with the next food.

High Versus Low FODMAP Foods

The following lists provide comparisons of high versus low FODMAP foods by food category.

Dairy/Non-Dairy:

  • High FODMAP: Dairy milk, Soy milk, Dairy-based yogurt

  • Low FODMAP: Almond milk, Camembert cheese, Colby cheese, Cottage cheese, Feta cheese, Goat cheese, Hard cheeses (e.g. cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan), Havarti cheese, Lactose-free milk, Lactose-free yogurt, Ricotta cheese, Sour cream, Whipped cream

Fruits:

  • High FODMAP: Apples, Apricots, Bananas (ripe), Blackberries, Boysenberries, Cherries, Currants, Dried fruit, Grapefruit, Mango, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Plums, Prunes, Watermelon

  • Low FODMAP: Acai powder, Bananas (less ripe), Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Coconut, Dried cranberries, Dragon fruit, Grapes, Honeydew, Kiwi, Kumquat, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Papaya, Passion fruit, Pineapple, Plantain, Raspberries, Strawberries

Grains:

  • High FODMAP: Wheat, Barley, Rye

  • Low FODMAP: Arrowroot flour, Buckwheat flour, Bran (oat, rice), Bread (gluten-free), Buckwheat, Corn, Millet, Oats (gluten-free), Nutritional yeast, Polenta, Popcorn, Rice (all types), Soba Noodles, Sorghum, Teff flour, Quinoa

Nuts & Seeds:

  • High FODMAP: Cashews, Pistachios

  • Low FODMAP: Almonds, Brazil nuts, Chia seeds, Flax seeds, Hazelnuts, Hemp seeds, Macadamia nuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Pine nuts, Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Tempeh, Walnuts

Proteins:

  • High FODMAP: Legumes* including Black beans, Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), Kidney beans, Lima beans, Mung beans, Soybeans, and Lentils. Processed deli meats.

  • Low FODMAP: Eggs, Tofu, Meat, Poultry, Seafood

Sweeteners/Spices/Flavorings:

  • High FODMAP: Agave syrup, Chicory root, Doenjang, Gochujang, High fructose corn syrup, Honey, Jam (with high-fructose corn syrup), Ketchup (with high-fructose corn syrup), Kimchi, Sorbitol, Ssamjang, Sugar-Free Gum/Mints/Candy, Thai curry paste, Wasabi paste, Xylitol

  • Low FODMAP: Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Dark chocolate, Fennel, Ginger, Maple syrup, Mint, Mustard, Paprika, Parsley, Red pepper, Rosemary, Soy sauce, Thyme, Vinegar, White sugar

Vegetables:

  • High FODMAP: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets/beetroot (fresh), Brussel sprouts, Chicory, Cauliflower, Fennel, Garlic, Leek (white part/bulb), Mushrooms, Onion, Peas, Savoy cabbage, Scallions (white part/bulb), Shallots, Snow peas, Sugar snap peas, Sun-dried tomatoes

  • Low FODMAP: Artichokes, Arugula, Beets (canned/pickled), Bell peppers (green, red), Bok choy, Broccoli, Cabbage (red or green), Capers, Carrots, Cassava, Celery, Chili peppers (green, red), Cinnamon, Collard Greens, Corn, Cucumber (fresh, pickled), Edamame (immature soybeans), Eggplant, Green beans, Kale, Leeks (without white part/bulb), Lettuce (endive, iceberg, radicchio), Olives (green, black), Parsnips, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Seaweed, Spaghetti squash, Spinach, Swiss chard, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Water chestnuts, Zucchini

More Low FODMAP Foods:

  • Fats: Butter, Oils (e.g. Olive oil), Infused oils

  • Beverages/Alcohol: Espresso, Beer, Black coffee, Cocoa, Cranberry juice (unsweetened), Teas (Black, green, peppermint, white), Vodka, Whiskey, White wine, Red wine, Sparking wine

*There are several steps you can take to limit the amount of fermentable carbohydrates found in chickpeas, beans and lentils and incorporate them into your low FODMAP diet:

  • Use canned chickpeas, beans and lentils because the FODMAPs are water soluble and when the legumes are being cooked and canned, the fermentable carbohydrates are leached out into the water

  • Make sure you rinse the legumes thoroughly before using them

  • You should be able to eat around ¼ cup of canned lentils, black beans, chickpeas, etc. at a time while still considering your diet to be low FODMAP

  • If you don’t have canned legumes, you might be able to get away with using dried legumes if you make sure you soak them very thoroughly before use.

  • If possible, you can soak them overnight - up to around 18 hours is ideal. Adding baking soda to the soaking water can help to soften up the legumes.

Snack Ideas

It’s always a good idea to have quick, easy, on-the-go snacks available. Here are some suggestions of low FODMAP snacks:

  • Coconut yogurt and blueberries

  • Dark chocolate

  • Hard-boiled egg

  • Lactose-free yogurt

  • Low-FODMAP snack bars (with ingredients like almonds, dark chocolate, oats, etc.)

  • Peanut butter on gluten-free toast

  • Popcorn

  • Rice cakes with eggplant dip 

  • String cheese and gluten-free pretzels

  • Seaweed crisps

  • Low FODMAP fruits, such as: Bananas or banana chips, Grapes, Pineapple, Strawberries, Kiwi

  • Low FODMAP nuts or nut mixes, such as: Almonds, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, Pumpkin seeds, Walnuts

  • Simple Low FODMAP snack recipes:

    • Tuna salad made with: tuna, dijon mustard, cucumber, Kalamata olives, green onion (scallion) tops

    • Greek salad made with: lettuce/spinach, cucumber, tomato, red bell pepper, feta cheese, olives

    • Quesadilla made with: 2 corn tortillas grilled with ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pantry Staples

Consider stocking the following items in your kitchen. They’ll make the low FODMAP diet more manageable:

  • Almond butter

  • Brown rice

  • Canned chickpeas

  • Dark chocolate

  • Flour (All-purpose gluten-free)

  • Maple syrup (pure)

  • Marinara sauce (no onion or garlic)

  • Nutritional yeast

  • Nuts (Low FODMAP) like almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts

  • Oats (gluten-free)

  • Peanut butter

  • Rice crackers

  • Rice noodles

  • Quinoa

  • Salsa (no onion or garlic)

Food Preparation

Preparing your meals ahead of time makes it easier to stay on a low FODMAP diet. Refer to the low FODMAP food lists above for categories of foods that you can combine to create lunches or dinners.

You can make many different combinations. For example, you might make a:

  • Pot of soup that includes chickpeas, sweet potatoes, kale, etc.

  • A salad that has hardboiled egg, cooked quinoa, canned beets, iceberg lettuce, olive oil-balsamic vinegar dressing, etc.

  • A grain bowl that includes chicken breast, rice, spinach, tomatoes, roasted pecans, etc.

Low FODMAP Smoothies

Smoothies are nutritious, filling, and easy to make for busy mornings or for a refreshing midday snack. They’re simple to prepare with a blender and they allow creative use of ingredients - all while being low FODMAP-friendly!

You can make your own low FODMAP smoothies by combining the below ingredients in different ways:

  • Fruit: Acai powder, Bananas (less ripe), Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Clementines, Papaya, Passion fruit, Pineapple, Raspberries, Strawberries

    • *For a thicker smoothie, use frozen fruits instead of fresh

  • Vegetables: Canned beets, Cucumber, Kale, Spinach

  • Protein: Almond butter, Almonds, Hemp seeds, Peanut butter, Protein powder (made from brown rice, pea, or hemp), Walnuts, Yogurt (lactose-free)

  • Base: Almond milk, Coconut milk, Lactose-free milk, Rice milk, Water

  • Add-ins: Cinnamon, Cocoa powder, Seeds (Chia, flax, etc.), Turmeric, Vanilla extract

Getting Started

A low FODMAP may seem challenging. It may seem like meals and snacks will lack variety and taste. However, with the help of this guide and your Goodpath coach, you will see that you can eat and prepare countless healthy, delicious foods while on the low FODMAP diet.

Your Goodpath coach can support you and answer your questions about following the low FODMAP diet!