The purpose of katescarlata.com and The Well Balanced FODMAPer blog are solely for guidance and enjoyment. The information included on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider before altering your diet, changing your exercise regimen, starting any new treatment or making changes to existing treatment.
Please note: NOT all recipes on The Well Balanced FODMAPer blog are low in FODMAPs. Those considered Low FODMAP will be noted on the recipe or mentioned as such in the blog post.
Frequently Asked Questions about FODMAPs
What does FODMAP stand for?
The term FODMAP is an acronym that stands for:
F- fermentable (creates gas)
O- oligosaccharides (a type of water soluble fiber found in wheat, onion, garlic and beans)
D- disaccharide (refers to lactose, a commonly malabsorbed sugar found in some dairy foods)
M- monosaccharide (refers to fructose, also known as fruit sugar found in apples, pears, honey and agave syrup.)
P- polyols (refers to sugar alcohols added to sugar free gum and mints and found naturally in pears, apples, cauliflower, mushrooms and stone fruits.)
The low FODMAP diet is a dietary approach to help manage symptoms of IBS. The low FODMAP diet is a learning diet. High FODMAP foods are removed from the diet for 2-6 weeks followed up with a challenge phase of the diet—where FODMAPs food sources are re-introduced one at a time to test individual tolerance to the specific FODMAPs. Ultimately, an individualized nutrition plan will be followed to control GI symptoms.
Is the low FODMAP diet a gluten free diet?
No, the low FODMAP diet is not a gluten free diet. The low FODMAP diet modifies small chain carbohydrates and gluten is a protein. Wheat, barley and rye contain the protein, gluten AND also contain fructans, a souce of FODMAP carbohydrates. The low FODMAP diet minimizes wheat, barley and rye so gluten intake will likely be minimized as well.
Is table sugar low FODMAP?
Sugar, known as sucrose, granulated sugar or table sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Sugar is not a FODMAP as it is well absorbed by most people. I recommend that sugar be limited to 1-2 tablespoons maximum per sitting. Limit sugar as it contains little nutrients and may lead to inflammation and poor health.
Is the low FODMAP diet a dairy free diet?
No it is not. The part of dairy that is modified on the low FODMAP diet is lactose. Lactose is found in cow, sheep and goat’s milk. Dairy foods that are allowed on the low FODMAP diet include butter which only contains a trace of lactose, small amounts of whipped cream, hard and/or aged cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss, Camembert, Feta, Brie), American and mozzarella are fairly low lactose too and can be included in your low FODMAP diet. Wet cheeses such as cottage cheese and ricotta, ice cream, yogurt and custard should be avoided during your low FODMAP elimination diet as they contain higher amounts of lactose.
Does chicken, pork or beef contain FODMAPs?
These protein rich foods contain no carbohydrates, therefore, would not be a source of FODMAPs. Shellfish, fish and eggs are also suitable protein sources on the low FODMAP diet. Of course, read labels and avoid products with added wheat, onion, garlic or other hidden FODMAP ingredients.
What are some common sources of hidden FODMAPs?
FODMAPs can lurk in many manufactured foods such as: marinara sauce (onions & garlic), chicken, beef or turkey stock (onions), salad dressings (onion & garlic), granola bars (agave syrup, honey, chicory root extract) and gluten free flour blends (some contain bean flours such as garbanzo, soybean etc.)
Be on the look out for the term natural flavors in savory foods—which can be onion and garlic in disguise!
Even supplements may have hidden FODMAPs avoid those with added mannitol, sorbitol or inulin (chicory root).
When you remove garlic and onion from the diet, you lose the entire flavor in the food! How do I flavor my recipes without adding FODMAPs?
To add flavor, try sautéing onion or garlic in oil for a few minutes over low heat. The water-soluble FODMAPs in the garlic and onion will not leach into the oil—but the flavor of the oil will enhance your recipes. Remove the onion and garlic and use this flavor-filled oil. Oil created at home—should be refrigerated and used with in one week. Commercial varieties can be stored as directed on the bottle.
Soy sauce, most mustards, lemon and lime zest or juice, distilled vinegars all add nice flavor without FODMAPs.
Will cooking lower FODMAPs content so they are better tolerated?
This is an area needed research. Fructans and GOS are water-soluble fibers so the theory that some of these FODMAPs may leach out into the cooking water may hold true. Certainly, canned legumes have less FODMAPs than dried legumes that have been minimally soaked. But we are not quite sure how much FODMAPs would be altered during cooking at this time, so for now, select low FODMAP foods to prepare your meals!
Why are some dried fruits listed as high FODMAP when the fresh fruit is low FODMAP?
Good question! When drying fruit, you will concentrate the amount of FODMAPs in the fruit. So this can up the fructose quantity. But some dried fruits have fructans while the raw version of the same fruit does not! The reason dried fruits had fructans is unknown. Perhaps some type of chemical change occurs during the drying process. In general, dried fruit should be limited to 1 tablespoon per sitting of dried cranberries or raisins while on the low FODMAP diet.
I have heard that sourdough bread is better tolerated. Is this true?
Yeasts in the sourdough culture may lower the fructans when the sourdough bread is fermented in the active yeast cultures. I have found many of my clients can tolerate white sourdough bread.
I know whole soybeans are a source of FODMAPs. Is soy lecithin or soybean oil a source of FODMAPs?
Soy lecithin and soybean oils are not sources of FODMAPs. Whole soybeans in soy milk, soy flour or eaten as edamame would not be suitable on the low FODMAP diet.
High fructose corn syrup is not allowed on the low FODMAP diet. What about regular corn syrup?
High fructose corn syrup has an excess amount of fructose making it a source of FODMAPs so it’s not allowed on the low FODMAP diet. Regular plain corn syrup is somewhat of a grey area. Although it should be suitable on the low FODMAP diet there appears to be different varieties and we are not sure which varieties are added to different foods. Corn syrup is found in many foods in the US and many of these food items are well tolerated. For now, I allow regular corn syrup on the low FODMAP diet. But, I encourage my patients to use foods that contain regular corn syrup in moderation.