IBD, IBS, Nutrition

What Is the Low FODMAP Diet?

What are FODMAPs? 

FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates that are not absorbed or digested well in the gut.  

FODMAP is an acronym for these carbohydrates.  

FFermentableUsed as food by bacteria, which creates gas and other substances 
OOligosaccharidesFructo-Oligosaccharides (FOS) or Fructans:  found in wheat, rye, onions, garlic 
Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS): found in beans and legumes 
DDisaccharidesLactose: found in milk and some types of dairy products 
MMonosaccharides Fructose: found in fruit and honey 
PPolyols Sugar alcohols such as mannitol and sorbitol: used as artificial sweeteners and found in some types of fruit 

Eating these carbohydrates may cause symptoms in some individuals such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation as they are fermented by bacteria in the small intestine.  

What is a low FODMAP diet? 

The low FODMAP diet is a temporary elimination diet that removes fermentable carbohydrates to see if there is an improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms that people might be experiencing. It is usually done in three phases: 

  • Elimination Phase – Typically 2–6 weeks to improve GI symptoms 
  • Reintroduction Phase – Identify food triggers for symptoms 
  • Personalization Phase – Increase the variety of foods in the diet while managing symptoms 

Examples of FODMAPs 

Here are a few examples of foods that are high in FODMAPs. You can find a more complete list here

  • Fructans: wheat, garlic, onion, inulin 
  • GOS: legumes (beans, lentils), cashews, pistachios 
  • Lactose: milk, cottage cheese, yogurt 
  • Fructose: apples, pears, honey 
  • Polyols: blackberries, peaches, sorbitol (common in chewing gum) 

What is a low FODMAP diet used for? 

The low FODMAP diet is used to manage symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It may also help manage symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This diet may not improve symptoms alone, so it is often used in combination with other IBS therapies such as stress managementgut directed hypnotherapy, medications, or fiber supplementation.  

For best results, this diet should be done under the direction of a Registered Dietitian.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to your Care Team to discuss if trialing the low FODMAP diet is right for you.