FODMAP stands for Fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols. They are carbohydrates found in certain foods which are difficult to be digested and known to cause digestive irritation in people with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease etc. Simply eating a little bit of food with FODMAPs causes symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, gas, cramps and discomfort that is so severe that it impacts one’s day to day activities. Following a low FODMAP diet can help eliminate these chronic gastrointestinal symptoms. Today, we will discuss an easy fodmap elimination plan along with a food checklist to help you get started on this diet.
1. Know the fodmap diet list
Here is an easy to remember FODMAP elimination list or foods to stay away from. We will give a detailed shopping list of low FODMAP foods later.
- Fructose- This sugar is found in many fruits and certain vegetables
- Lactose- This sugar is found in dairy.
- Fructans- It is like fructose but is found in grains and certain veggies
- Galactans- This is found in legumes
- Polyols- These are sugar alcohols like xylitol and sorbitol. Many foods like artificial sweeteners, chewing gum etc have these.
2. Start reading labels
The easiest way to stick to a low FODMAP or fodmap elimination diet is to get into the habit of reading food labels. Watch out for ingredients like inulin, chicory root, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), agave nectar, honey etc.
3. Know that gluten is not a FODMAP
Many people benefit from gluten elimination but gluten is not a carbohydrate-it is a protein. You can talk to your doctor about eliminating gluten but many people actually benefit from it and do better with just a low fodmap diet plan recipes. It is important to know that gluten free products are also often naturally free of FODMAPS or at least are low FODMAPs. Again, gluten is not a FODMAP which are typically only found in fruits, vegetables and legumes.
4. Know that FODMAP elimination diet is temporary
The fodmap elimination diet is not a sustainable one; it is a diet done in phases which usually show good, long term results provided you follow some basic precautions as follows:
- Understand that the diet is very restrictive.
- You need to reintroduce the eliminated foods at some point or the other.
5. Eliminate all FODMAPs all at once
Instead of eliminating one or two FODMAPs, your gut will benefit if you eliminate all of them at once. This will allow your natural gut flora to rebalance and adjust itself and also give your body a chance to heal.
6. Keep FODMAPS to less than 3 grams per day
This result is based on a study where IBS sufferers benefitted greatly simply by keeping their FODMAP intake to less than 3 grams per day for 21 days. Improvements were seen in as less as a week after starting the diet.
7. Use the low FODMAP diet list while shopping
Here is shopping fodmap checklist which contains foods low in FODMAPs-
- Vegetables-alfalfa, Brussels sprouts (no more than 1/2cup), bok choy, bell peppers, carrots, half a corn cob, chives, cucumbers, endives, eggplants, fennel, ginger, green beans, olives, pumpkin (limited), peas (limited), potatoes, seaweed, turnips, tomatoes, water chestnut.
- Fruits– Avocados (limited), small banana, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, cherries (limited), grapefruit, grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, orange, pomegranate (limited), pineapple, strawberries, tangerines.
- Protein foods. Meat-chicken, beef, chickpeas and lentils (drained), eggs, lamb, pork, shellfish, tofu, turkey and tempeh. Nuts and seeds-almonds, chestnuts, nut butters, peanuts, pinenuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts.
- Dairy– Most cheeses. All lactose free dairy. Whipped cream, kefir and Greek yogurt.
- Non dairy– coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk and almond milk.
- Breads and grains– Oats, quinoa, buckwheat, brown and white rice and rice bran, polenta, sourdough, bread made from potato flour, oats, rice or corn or spelt.
- Drinks-Tea and coffee without milk, limited quantities of juices and alcohol.
- Oils, spices and herbs- Generally all oils, basil, cilantro, parsley, lemongrass, fenugreek, mint, oregano, peppermint, thyme and tarragon. Spices: All spice, black pepper, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chilli, cardamom, cloves, cumin, curry powder, mustard, nutmeg, saffron, star anise.
- Condiments-fish sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Mayo, chutney, vinegar (limited).
- Sweets– Maple syrup, sugar, Stevia, dark chocolate, sorbet and gelato.
As with any other diet, portion control is of utmost importance. All foods above are well tolerated as long as you limit their quantity. Thus, a few almonds are acceptable but a cup of almonds could end up bringing back your symptoms.
8. FODMAP diet plan recipes
We have compiled some great resources with easy low fodmap diet recipes for you:
- Diet vs. Disease
- Stephanie Clairmont Low FODMAP fast food recipes
- Saucy Kitchen Easy Low Fodmap Dinner recipes
9. Eat probiotic foods
Many IBS sufferers are known to benefit from a combination of this elimination diet along with consumption of probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kefir, miso quark and pickled vegetables.
10. Low FODMAP diet plan ideas
Here is a sample low FODMAP diet plan:
- Breakfast– ½ cup cooked oats with nuts and fresh berries. OR gluten free waffles, served with maple syrup without HFCS
- Lunch-Coconut soup OR fish tacos OR rice pasta with chicken and tomatoes.
- Dinner-Turkey wrap with gluten free tortillas.
- Snack– Kefir, or lactose free yogurt with berries.
Many patients continue to develop gastrointestinal symptoms despite following low FODMAP diet. In such a case, it is best to limit portion sizes even further. We hope the above easy ways help you start the FODMAP diet.