What is Low FODMAP and how to shop for a Low FODMAP eating plan.

FODMAPs = Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols.

Yes it does sound very confusing and overwhelming, to put it simply a Low FODMAP eating plan is designed to avoid all forms (mono, poly, tri, di) of fructose, the sugar found in most foods. When consumed in excess, the natural sugar can’t be digested, feeding the gut flora and causing gas build up in the large intestine. This can lead to bloating, distention, diarrhoea and let’s be honest, farting.

Following a Low FODMAP eating plan is very difficult as some fruits, veg, seeds and grains are more or less effective than others. It all depends on the fructose to glucose ratio found in specific foods. Glucose is the the single form of sugar and is needed to digest fructose. Some foods are higher in fructose and low in glucose, for example apples and pears, making digestion difficult as they increase the levels of fructose. Therefore apples and pears are classified as High FODMAP foods.

Low FODMAP eating plans are often used to relieve digestion-related symptoms, ie Irritable Bowl Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, mirgraines and many others. Once you have spent a period of time on the eating plan, say 2 – 6 weeks, you can slowly re introduce foods to find what works for you and what doesn’t.

If you don’t want to walk around your corner store with a list as long as your arm, here are a few tips that can help you.

·         Choose colourful fruits such as strawberries, bananas, blueberries, grapes, rockmelon, pineapple, oranges and kiwifruits.

·         Leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, alfalfa, lettuce and rocket

·         Colourful vegetables, carrots, capsicum, eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini.

·         Purchase all purpose flour products that are soy, wheat and rye free.

·         Select lactose free dairy products, most hard and aged cheeses are very low in lactose as the ageing process uses the lactose to make cheese.

·         A variety of meat, fish, poultry and oils.

Different people are sensitive to different FODMAP foods, so it is important to find out what works best for you. If you prefer to have a list for your reference a more comprehensive list has been included:

HIGH FODMAP FOODS LOW FODMAP FOODS
VEGETABLES asparagus, artichokes, onions (all), leek, garlic, sugar snap peas, beetroot, savoy cabbage, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn alfalfa, bean sprouts, green beans, bok choy, capsicum, carrot, fresh herbs, choy sum, cucumber, lettuce, rocket, tomato, zucchini
FRUIT apples, apricots, figs, pears, mango, watermelon, nectarines, peaches, plums banana, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, kiwi, orange, mandarin, grapes, melon
GRAINS rye, wheat-containing breads, wheat-based cereals with dried fruit, wheat pasta, barley gluten-free bread and sourdough spelt bread, rice bubbles, oats, gluten-free pasta, rice, quinoa
MEAT & ALTERNATIVES legumes/pulses, cashews, pistachios meat, fish, chicken, tofu, tempeh, almonds, pumpkin seeds
DAIRY cows milk, yoghurt, soft cheese, cream, custard, ice cream lactose-free milk, lactose-free yoghurt, hard cheese

If you are experiencing digestion issues, it is recommended that you speak to an accredited Dietitian, Nutritionist or Naturopath. This is not a long term eating plan, recommended for 2 – 8 weeks only. Always follow the directions of your health practitioner.

Written By Elizabeth Biega