All About: The Low FODMAP Diet

Carrots on stone bricks.

What is the Low FODMAP Diet? Does it work? Is it healthy or unhealthy? Learn all of the above and more.

What is the Low FODMAP Diet?

Nowadays, hundreds of diet options are already available for weight loss and overall health improvements. Many dieters enjoy this series of meal planning fads except for those with rather sensitive stomachs. For these people, in particular, the population with IBS, there is an option called the low FODMAP diet.

The acronym FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. FODMAPs or short-chain carbohydrates are reportedly hard to digest or poorly absorbed by the small intestine. Research suggests that consumption of food with a high amount of FODMAPs can trigger symptoms like bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea: the same problems IBS patients suffer from. Therefore, following the low FODMAP diet is said to help alleviate the symptoms.

How does the Low FODMAP Diet work?

The low FODMAP diet is exactly as its name suggests. It promotes the consumption of foods with low FODMAP content while avoiding foods rich in FODMAPs at a limited time. It is a restrictive diet created to help people with gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome.

The low FODMAP diet guide suggests cutting out foods with high amounts of FODMAP for at least two weeks. A dieter can then gradually reintroduce these types of food to see which ones cause any symptoms. Finally, those following the diet can make their personalized meals with a selection of FODMAP-rich foods or ingredients that are already proven to be tolerable.

Does the Low FODMAP Diet work? What are the benefits of it?

Some studies show that there is a considerable amount of evidence indicating the relation of FODMAPs and the common symptoms of GI disorders like IBS or even SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). There are existing claims of the efficacy of the low FODMAP diet for patients with IBS. Supposedly, subjects with IBS that used the low FODMAP diet report considerable relief and improvements in their condition.

To date, much ongoing research about the low FODMAP diet for IBS patients has reportedly yielded good results. It’s been noted that the diet has helped in alleviating abdominal pain, bloating and overall symptoms for IBS.

This type of dietary plan, however, is not intended for long-term use. After the elimination process of finding which FODMAP-rich foods cause the symptoms, people are advised to resume eating normally with their personalized FODMAP-restricted diet which is not the same as the low FODMAP diet.

Is the Low FODMAP Diet safe? Is the Low FODMAP Diet unhealthy?

The low FODMAP diet must not be mistaken as the permanent solution to cure IBS but rather, it is simply an aid for preventing functional GI disorders from acting up. If a person suffers from gut issues, it is not safe to try the low FODMAP diet without proper consultation with a dietitian or gastroenterologist.

Purportedly, the low FODMAP diet also has risks of nutrient deficiency and may promote disordered eating. As short-chain carbs play a role in the functions of the GI tract, a misguided low intake can make a person’s stomach more sensitive over time.

As such, a dieter with IBS or other digestive problems must consult with a professional first before trying the low FODMAP diet.

Low FODMAP Diet shopping list, meal plan, and menu

Fortunately, for dieters who are ready and allowed by a professional to try this diet plan, there are still many delicious low FODMAP diet foods to choose from.

Here is a short reference for a low FODMAP diet shopping list:

  • Protein: Fish, pork, chicken, beef, eggs, and tofu
  • Vegetable and legumes: Lettuce, carrots, chickpeas, green beans, and bean sprouts.
  • Fruits: Bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, lemon, and kiwi.
  • Grain: Oats, corn, quinoa, rice bran, and gluten-free pasta
  • Dairy: Almond milk, coconut milk, lactose-free products, hard or aged cheeses
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, sesame seeds, and chia seeds

There are still various foods or ingredients allowed in this diet. The restrictions in a low FODMAP diet further narrows down in terms of the amount and preparation of meals.

To get an overview of a low FODMAP diet, here is a sample 1-day meal plan with two options:

  • Breakfast: Egg cups with bacon and cheese or an omelet with yogurt
  • Morning Snack: One handful of almonds or mixed nuts
  • Lunch: Turkey sandwich or jalapeño shrimp veggie bake
  • Afternoon Snack: 1 cup of carrot and cucumber sticks or one banana quinoa muffin
  • Dinner: Lemon and herb roast chicken or beef stir-fry with veggies

To reiterate, the low FODMAP diet is not made for weight loss but is for eliminating problematic FODMAP-rich foods for people with IBS. It must also be noted that a certain menu may work well with one person but not so much for another. After the guided elimination process during the first few weeks, it is expected that a dieter will be able to create a sustainable personalized menu out of the low FODMAP diet.

Low FODMAP Diet Books

Low FODMAP Diet Recipes

Low FODMAP Diet Apps

Looking for more diet ideas?

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