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low fodmap diet

Low FODMAP Diet: Remove High FODMAP Foods to Reduce Gut Pain

High FODMAP foods include many healthy prebiotic-rich foods that are good for your gut microbiome. However, a low FODMAP diet has gained popularity, particularly among people dealing with digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But what exactly are FODMAPs, and which foods are high FODMAP foods? And are there any risks from removing high FODMAP foods from your diet long term?

Let’s dive into the basics of this essential dietary concept.

What are FODMAPs?


FODMAPs is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in certain grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, milk products, honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, some sugar-free products, and certain prepared foods and beverages including high-fiber products.

FODMAPs can be harder to digest and can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine. When they reach the large intestine, they get fermented by gut bacteria, leading to excessive gas production. As a result, people can experience bloating (feeling of fullness), distention (stomach looks distended as if you’re pregnant), or flatulence (passing gas). Depending on the gases produced in the digestive tract, consuming high FODMAP foods can also lead to diarrhea, constipation, or both. The excess gasses can push on the digestive tract wall, causing increased visceral sensitivity (also known as visceral hypersensitivity) and pain.

High FODMAP foods aren’t necessarily unhealthy or bad for your digestive system. They become challenging when they don’t get digested and absorbed properly. People who have small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) will have more severe symtpoms after consuming high FODMAP foods. Even eating a small portion of these foods is enough to trigger digestive upsets.


Types of FODMAPs


There are four types for FODMAPs:

  1. Oligosaccharides: Found in foods like wheat, rye, onions, and garlic. They include fructans and galactans. They’re also found in fibers like inulin, GOS, and FOS.
  2. Disaccharides: Lactose is the main disaccharide, present in dairy products like milk, yogurt, and soft cheese.
  3. Monosaccharides: Fructose, found in high amounts in apples, honey, agave, and high-fructose corn syrup.
  4. Polyols: Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and mannitol, found in stone fruits (e.g., peaches, plums), avocado, artificial sweeteners like xylitol and erythritol, and some vegetables.

High FODMAP Foods


Here are some common foods that contain high levels of FODMAPs:

  • Fruits: Apples, pears, cherries, watermelon, and mangoes.
  • Vegetables: Garlic, onions, cauliflower, mushrooms, and snow peas.
  • Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
  • Grains: Wheat and rye products like bread, pasta, and cereals.
  • Dairy: Milk, soft cheeses, yogurt, and ice cream.
  • Sweeteners: High-fructose corn syrup, honey, agave, and sorbitol-containing products.

IBS and High FODMAP Foods


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder. People who have it experience gas, bloating, distention, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loose stool, and/or constipation. One in 7 people have IBS, and it’s more common in women than in men. People with IBS also take more meds, visit doctors more often, miss more days of work, and are hospitalized more frequently that people without it.

I talk about IBS in other posts. IBS is an umbrella term that often frustrates doctors and patients. While medical doctors believe that IBS is a gut-brain disorder with no proven physiological root-causes or solutions, IBS is actually a manifestation of other possible imbalances in the gut like SIBO, food-poisoning, food sensitivities, leaky gut, dysbiosis, motility issues, candida, and others.


Managing FODMAP Foods Intake


For people with IBS or other digestive sensitivities, following a low FODMAP diet can alleviate symptoms. A low FODMAP diet involves eliminating all high FODMAP foods for a period of time since all FODMAPs can trigger the same symptoms. It’s also important to pay attention to portions since their effect is cumulative. The more FODMAPs you eat in a meal or a day, the worse your symptoms can be.

Once you’ve eliminated high FODMAP foods from your diet for a few weeks, it’s important to try to reintroduce these foods back. You need to determine which type of FODMAP is bothering you so you don’t overly restrict your diet.


Get the 21-Day IBS Relief Diet Plan for all the information you need to follow a low FODMAP diet


If you want a detailed food plan with lists of high FODMAP foods to avoid, low FODMAP foods to enjoy, recipes, a grocery list, and safe products to buy, you can get immediate and full access to my self-study program, the 21-Day IBS Relief Plan. This plan is even better than a standard low FODMAP diet. I teach you the modifications you need to make if you have acid reflux, constipation, or diarrhea. The plan includes lifestyle strategies to help you address the gut-brain connection that most standard low FODMAP plans don’t incorporate. I also show you how to reintroduce foods back and how move forward from the diet and start to reverse the reasons why you stopped tolerating high FODMAP foods.


Risk of Eliminating High FODMAP Foods Longterm


While a low FODMAP diet helps significantly lower digestive symptoms, it comes with some risks and concerns.

The diet often eliminates many nutrient-dense foods, leading to potential deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. The diet significantly reduces the amount of dietary fiber consumed, which can negatively impact gut microbiota diversity. In fact, some studies found that following a low FODMAP diet for 9 months reduced beneficial bacteria richness and diversity in the colon. Long-term, the diet can become monotonous and restrictive. It can affect the ability to travel, socialize, and eat with family and friends, especially if there was no follow-up plan in place.

Additionally, the diet doesn’t correct or reverse the underlying root causes that led to excessive bacterial fermentation of these sugars and fibers. While I recommend avoiding high FODMAP foods as a stepping stone to calming down IBS and other digestive complaints, it’s not the only tool I used in my practice when I work with my patients. I’m usually testing for food sensitivities, SIBO, dysbiosis, and other markers of gut health and digestion. I then use all the information gathered to personalize a comprehensive gut repair and healing plan that includes personalized diet, supplements, stress management, and lifestyle modifications.


Watch my free training on my comprehensive approach for getting rid of IBS, gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation.


Want to work with me privately? Book an Assessment & Strategy Session to map out your healing and gut repair plan.


Nour’s guidance and expertise was the key to dramatically halting our son’s [Crohn’s] disease progression! His pediatric gastroenterologist is now in agreement of our choice to treat solely with diet and supplements. All his labs have improved and his inflammatory markers are so low they are practically nonexistent.

Before working with Nour, I experienced intestinal pain off and on for for 54 years with minimal success on medications. I have benefited 100% from Nour’s program as I am now pain free!

A lot of time and money was wasted on foods that I thought would help my digestive struggles [diarrhea, bloating, hunger], but in fact I was making it worse. The main benefit is getting a handle on what negatively affects my digestive symptom. Doing a total 180 to my eating habits has been pretty amazing.


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