What Can I Eat on a Low FODMAP Diet?
Right, now that the science bit is out of the way, what can you eat? Here’s a basic list of some high and low FODMAP foods to start us off.
High FODMAP Foods (To Be Avoided)
- Bread, cakes, biscuits and any other food made from wheat, barley or rye
- Cows’ milk (also sheep and goat milk)
- Apples, pears, plums, watermelon, blackberries, peaches, prunes, cherries, nectarines, ripe bananas, dates, grapefruit
- Cauliflower, sweetcorn, onion, garlic, leek, mushrooms, artichokes, shallots, peas, kidney beans, black beans, navy beans
- Honey, high fructose corn syrup
- Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, isomalt, xylitol, and mannitol
- Cashew nuts, pistachios
- Chamomile or fennel tea, rum
Low FODMAP Foods (To Be Eaten in Moderation)
- Gluten-free bread and pasta
- All kinds of meat and all kinds of fish (but not breaded meats or fish)
- Bananas, blueberries, rhubarb, lemon, mandarins, orange, grapes, melon, strawberries, kiwis, coconut
- Potato, carrot, swede, parsnip, turnip, quinoa, green beans, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, celery, parsnip, radish, spinach
- Olive oil
- Some cheeses only, including cheddar, brie, mozzarella, parmesan
- Rice and rice cakes
- Almonds (small serving), peanuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
- Lactose-free dairy products
- Coffee, tea, cranberry juice, peppermint tea, the majority of wines and beers, water
The first thing you’ve probably spotted from that list is that going low FODMAP means both an almost completely dairy-free and a gluten-free diet, excluding everything made from wheat, rye, and barley, so it’s not something to be taken lightly.
Your life is made easier by the fact that gluten-free breads are allowed (these are often made from rice or corn flours) and there are no restrictions on meat or fish at all, so you won’t have trouble getting enough protein. You can also eat lactose-free milk and yogurt, any milks made from the safe foods such as almond or rice milk, plus a number of low-lactose cheeses like cheddar.
Also, bear in mind that foods from the low FODMAP list should still be eaten in moderation only because although these foods are low in FODMAPs, they are not FODMAP-free.
One dietitian gives the example of rice cakes which are low in FODMAPs and a recommended snack on this diet. However, while one or two rice cakes will be low FODMAP, if you eat four in one sitting then you will cross over into the high FODMAP range just from the serving size. This makes the diet rather more complicated than a simple list of banned foods to avoid.
Low FODMAP Foods Are Becoming More Common
In recent years food companies have spotted a marketing opportunity and started selling ranges that are specifically made to be low in FODMAPs. Fody Foods sell various snacks and sauces that may be useful, particularly the sauces, as store-bought sauces can often have dozens of ingredients that may or may not be safe.
Find External Resources
If you’re thinking at this point that it all sounds far too difficult to follow, don’t despair. More and more dietitians are becoming trained to help patients navigate the diet, and there are excellent online resources available too.
The Monash University FODMAP app uses a traffic light system to classify foods into green, orange and red categories, with green foods low in FODMAPs, orange foods medium and red foods the highest FODMAP foods available. It also offers advice on the typical serving size for each food per meal, so you don’t end up accidentally ‘over-dosing.’