Low FODMAP Diet for IBS: List of Foods to Eat and Avoid

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

What's Triggers Your IBS Symptoms?

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a recurrent disorder of the colon. IBS triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Menstrual pain
  • High FODMAP foods

FODMAP foods for IBS, definition, and facts

  • FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, which are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed by the body, resulting in abdominal pain and bloating.
  • FODMAPs occur in some foods naturally or as additives.
  • If you eat a lot of these foods you may have symptoms and signs like:
  • A list of examples of certain foods and drinks that should be avoided on a low-FODMAP diet are some vegetables and fruits, beans, lentils, wheat, dairy products with lactose, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners.
  • A list of examples of foods and drinks to eat on a this diet are certain vegetables and fruits, lactose free dairy, hard cheeses, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, soy, rice, oats, quinoa, non-dairy milks, and small servings of nuts and seeds.
  • This diet cuts out many common foods that contain may contain high FODMAP foods. They are eliminated or severely limited for 3-8 weeks, then gradually reintroduced into a low-FODMAP diet to see if they cause symptoms (elimination diet). It is not meant to be a permanent solution because is very restrictive, but it may work well enough to be a treatment for people with gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
  • This type of dietary meal plan often is used to help with digestive symptoms from many different conditions, including, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and other functional GI disorders.

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly digested by the body. They ferment in the large intestine (bowel) during digestion, drawing in water and producing carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane gas that causes the intestine to expand. This causes GI symptoms such as bloating and pain that are common in disorders like IBS.

FODMAPs are in some foods naturally or as additives. They include fructose (in fruits and vegetables), fructans (like fructose, found in some vegetables and grains), lactose (dairy), galactans, (legumes), and polyols (artificial sweeteners).

These foods are not necessarily unhealthy products. Some of them contain fructans, inulin, and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), which are healthy prebiotics that help stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Many of them are otherwise good for you, but in certain people, eating or drinking them causes gastrointestinal symptoms.

What is a low FODMAP diet?

A low FODMAP diet cuts out many common products that contain certain foods. The principle behind the diet is to give the gut a chance to heal, especially if you have GI problems like IBS. People with GI disorders may use this diet as part of their treatment.

This diet may be difficult to follow, and it is advisable to contact your health care professional or a dietician to make sure that you are on the right track and getting enough dietary nutrients that you can consume.

Will a low FODMAP diet help IBS or other diseases?

  • Low-FODMAP diets are often used to help with digestive problems from many different conditions, including IBS.
  • These foods cause irritable bowel syndrome, but they also may aggravate IBS symptoms. A low FODMAP diet often is recommended for IBS treatment.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Functional GI disorders other than IBS

It is believed that a meal plan that includes low FODMAPs also may help ease symptoms from other health conditions, such as:

After your doctor makes the diagnosis of your bowel disease or syndrome, (for example, IBS, IBD, or microscopic colitis), he or she may suggest a low FODMAP diet.

Symptoms and signs that you may be eating to many high FODMAP foods

FODMAPs are not absorbed well in the small intestine. They increase the amount of fluid in the large intestine (bowel) and they produce more gas.

Symptoms and signs that suggest you may be eating products high in these short chain carbohydrates are:

  • Gas
  • Pain
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal distention
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea (similar to IBS symptoms)
  • A feeling of fullness after eating or drinking only a small amount of food or liquid.

A diet low in FODMAPs may help relieve these problems, particularly in people with IBS.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/16/2017

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