The Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is the low FODMAP diet?

The low FODMAP diet is an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS.

FODMAP is an acronym for: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are molecules found in food that can be poorly absorbed by some individuals.  When the molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, they pass through to the large intestine where they are digested and fermented by the bacteria that live there.  This can cause the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) such as abdominal bloating and distension, excess gas (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.

Which foods are to be avoided?

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat.

Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS))
Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)
Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

Where are FODMAPs found?

A few examples of food sources for each of the FODMAPs are listed below. The list is not complete.

  • Excess Fructose: Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup,
  • Fructans: Artichokes (Globe), Artichokes(Jerusalem), Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Spring Onion (white part), Shallots, Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Barley (in large amounts), Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides
  • Lactose: Milk, ice cream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, soft un-ripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscapone)
  • Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS): Legumes;  beans (eg. baked beans, kidney beans), Lentils, Chickpeas
  • Polyols: Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Cherries, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and isomalt



What can I eat on a low FODMAP diet?

The Low FODMAP diet has two phases. The first phase is the elimination phase and involves strict restriction of all high FODMAP foods. This phase should be followed for 6-8 weeks. Then, working with your dietitian, the diet is liberalized to include specific amounts of certain FODMAPS to identify those that cause the most discomfort and those that can be safely re-introduced without consequence. The diet is very individual and not all people need to avoid the same FODMAPs.

Low FODMAP Meals and Snack Ideas

Gluten free waffle with walnuts, sliced banana, pure maple syrup

Eggs scrambled with spinach, bell peppers and cheddar cheese

Oatmeal topped with blueberries, almonds and brown sugar

Fruit smoothie blended with lactose free vanilla yogurt and frozen strawberries (½ cup)

Brown rice pasta with chicken, tomatoes, spinach topped with pesto sauce

Salad with chicken, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, bell peppers and oil and vinegar dressing.

Gluten free tortilla filled with turkey, lettuce, tomato, mustard and mayo

Ham and Swiss cheese sandwich on gluten free bread, with mayonnaise, mustard 


Food lists with high and low FODMAP foods are from www.stanfordhealthcare.org

Food Group


High FODMAPs (avoid)

Eggs, Meats, Poultry, Fish

beef, chicken, deli slices, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, shellfish, turkey

made with HFCS/foods to limit


lactose free dairy (any), low lactose dairy: cream cheese, half and half, hard cheeses (cheddar, colby, parmesan, swiss, etc), soft cheeses (brie, feta, mozzarella, etc), sherbet, yogurt (greek), whipped cream

high lactose dairy: buttermilk, chocolate, creamy/cheesy sauces, custard, ice cream, milk (cow's, goat's, sheep's, condensed, evaporated), soft cheeses (cottage, ricotta, etc), sour cream

Meat, Non-Dairy Alternatives

milk alternatives (almond, coconut, rice, soy (made from soy protein)), nuts (walnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pine), nut butters, tempeh, tofu

cashews, beans, black eyed peas, bulgur, lentils, miso, pistachios, soybeans, soy milk (made from soybeans)


made with gluten free/spelt grains (corn, oats, potato, quinoa, rice, tapioca, etc): bagels, biscuits, breads, cereals, chips, crackers, noodles, pancakes, pastas, pretzels, tortillas, waffles

oatmeal, oat bran, popcorn, quinoa, rice, rice bran

made with wheat/barley/rye when it’s the major ingredient, gluten free/spelt grains made with foods to limit, chicory root, inulin


bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pineapple, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tangerine

apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, canned fruit, dates, dried fruits, figs, guava, mango, nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, persimmon, prunes, watermelon


alfalfa/bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, cabbage (common), cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kale, lettuce, parsnips, pumpkin, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, seaweed (nori), spinach, squash, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnuts, zucchini

artichokes, cauliflower, mushrooms, sugar snap peas


made with foods allowed

made with HFCS/foods to limit


fruit and vegetable juices/smoothies made with foods allowed (limit to ½ cup at a time), coffee, tea

made with HFCS/foods to limit, fortified wines (sherry, port)

Seasonings, Condiments

jam, jelly, pickle, relish, salsa, sauce, salad dressing made with foods allowed, most spices and herbs, broth (homemade), butter, chives, cooking oils, garlic/onion infused oil, maple syrup without HFCS, mustard, margarine, mayonnaise, onion (spring-green part), olives, pepper, pesto, salt, seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), sugar, soy sauce, vinegar

chutney, jam, jelly, pickle, relish, salsa, sauce or salad dressing made with HFCS/ foods to limit, agave, garlic, garlic salt/powders, honey, hummus, molasses, onions (brown, leeks, shallots, spanish, white, spring-white part), onion salt/powders, tomato paste, artificial sweeteners


The Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome The Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome The Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome The Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome