Low-FODMAP Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid

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    10 Things to Know About FODMAPs in Your Diet
    Not all carbohydrates are created equal, as people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or other digestive distress issues can attest. Foods high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols—also known as FODMAPs—can cause bowel upset. These types of sugars can’t be easily digested and absorbed and may cause gas, bloating, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, and other abdominal discomfort for people with FODMAP intolerance. Find out more about what FODMAPs are and which carbs are considered high-FODMAP foods before planning your low-FODMAP diet.
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    1. You’ve heard of FODMAPs before, but likely in different terms.
    FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates, or sugars, that can cause intestinal upset in some people. You might have heard of lactose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol, for example. These are all kinds of FODMAPs. Foods with high levels of these and other FODMAPs are more likely to trigger symptoms. For some people, any amount of FODMAPs may cause intestinal upset.
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    2. Start your low-FODMAP diet through the process of elimination.
    Unfortunately, there’s no list of foods you absolutely can and can’t eat on a low-FODMAP diet. Instead, it’s a process of elimination—start by eliminating high-FODMAP foods in each food group. To begin, you’ll cut all high-FODMAP foods completely out of your diet and see how you feel. If symptoms go away, add a new food every few days to see whether it triggers symptoms. Steer clear from those that bother you, and enjoy those that don’t. Because a low-FODMAP diet is very restrictive, it’s meant to be temporary until you determine which foods cause digestive problems for you.
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    3. Only you can determine your personalized FODMAP food list.
    A FODMAP diet isn’t one-size-fits-all. Instead, you’ll create an individualized FODMAP food list that brings on symptoms, and then avoid them. Start by checking labels—avoid foods that include fructose, crystalline fructose, honey and sorbitol. Also stay away from “diet” foods, which are often high in sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol. Keep reading to learn which fruits, veggies and other foods are high-FODMAP foods.
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    4. Fruits naturally have lots of sugar—some more than others.
    Fruits are high in carbs, so on a low-FODMAP diet, it’s best to limit fruits to not more than two servings per day. Avoid concentrated forms, such as dried fruit and fruit juice.

    High-FODMAP fruits to avoid include:

    • Apples
    • Pears
    • Stone fruits (such as apricots, peaches, cherries, mangos and plums)
    • Watermelon

    Try these low-FODMAP fruits instead:

    • Bananas
    • Blueberries
    • Cantaloupe and honeydew
    • Grapes
    • Citrus fruits
    • Raspberries and strawberries
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    5. Vegetables also have FODMAP sugars in them.
    Believe it or not, there are sugars in veggies. Some are more likely to cause intestinal upset than others.

    High-FODMAP vegetables to avoid include:

    • Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage
    • Chickpeas, lentils and soybeans
    • Artichokes
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Onions and garlic
    • Asparagus

    Try these low-FODMAP veggies instead:

    • Eggplant
    • Green beans
    • Celery and carrots
    • Spinach
    • Potatoes
    • Zucchini and squash
  • Quinoa salad with various vegetables
    6. You can find alternatives to your old go-to grains.
    Cereal and pasta often contain wheat products, which are high in FODMAPs. But you don’t have to eliminate your breakfast and dinner altogether—there are many alternatives you can try.

    High-FODMAP grains to avoid include:

    • Cereals and cereal bars made with wheat
    • Wheat bread
    • Barley
    • Rye
    • Pasta and egg noodles
    • Cookies and cake

    Try these low-FODMAP grains instead:

    • Oats
    • Quinoa
    • Rice
    • Corn or rice cereal
    • Gluten-free bread and pasta (but check the label for other FODMAPs)
    • Corn and corn flour
  • Colourful ice creams in cafe
    7. You don’t have to give up dairy, but you might need to make some trades.
    Lactose is in many dairy products, and it can cause digestive distress for many people. But if you can’t give up your milk and cheese, all hope is not lost. A few changes can relieve your intestinal problems.

    High-FODMAP dairy products to avoid include:

    • Milk
    • Yogurt
    • Cottage and ricotta cheeses
    • Ice cream

    Try these low-FODMAP dairy products instead:

    • Lactose-free milk, yogurt and cottage cheese
    • Milk alternatives like almond or oat milk
    • Ice cream made with alternatives, such as coconut milk
    • Hard cheese and cream cheese
    • Butter and cream
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    8. You might need to rethink your sweeteners too.
    Many sugar substitutes, like those found in diet foods and sugarless candy, may cause intestinal problems. Check food labels and avoid sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and other sweeteners that end in “ol.” You’ll also want to skip the honey. Instead, use regular sugar (in moderation); try pure maple syrup or molasses; or choose artificial sweeteners that don’t end in “ol,” such as aspartame, saccharin and stevia.
  • Cough Syrup
    9. You might also need to check your list of medications.
    Liquid painkillers, cough syrups, and cough drops often contain FODMAPs. Even liquid gel caps can contain these sugars. To eliminate these FODMAPs, choose caplets or tablets whenever you can. Keep in mind, fructose, sorbitol and other FODMAPs may not be listed on the medication label, so you might have to ask a pharmacist for help.
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    10. Talk with your doctor before starting a low-FODMAP diet.
    A low-FODMAP diet isn’t for everyone, and it is meant to be temporary. A low-FODMAP diet can actually be dangerous for people who are underweight because it’s so restrictive. Be sure to get an accurate diagnosis for IBS or other bowel problems from your doctor before trying to fix symptoms through diet alone. If your doctor determines that a low-FODMAP diet might work for your situation, it might be helpful to talk with a registered dietitian as you begin eliminating high FODMAP foods from your kitchen. Remember, a low-FODMAP diet won’t cure any conditions, but it could help you manage irritable bowel symptoms.
Low-FODMAP Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid | FODMAP Food List

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