FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates and sugar-alcohols. The term FODMAP itself, is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. They occur naturally in the diet and can, for many, be tolerated well and some can even help to feed good bacteria in the gut. But many people can also be sensitive to the effects of FODMAPs, and these can cause gas, stomach pain and bloating.
Instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, FODMAPs reach the far end of your intestine where most of your gut bacteria reside. Your gut bacteria then use these carbs for fuel, producing hydrogen gas and causing digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals.
For this reason, diets low in FODMAPs are clinically proven to reduce symptoms in the short-term for those with common digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease.¹
Foods High in FODMAPs
- Fruits: Apples, apricots, berries, canned fruit, dates, figs, pears, peaches, watermelon.
- Sweeteners: Fructose, honey, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol.
- Dairy products: Cows/goats milk, ice cream, most yoghurts, sour cream, soft and fresh cheeses, and whey protein.
- Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, leeks, mushrooms, onions, peas.
- Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans.
- Wheat: Bread, pasta, most breakfast cereals, pancakes, crackers, biscuits
- Other grains: Barley and rye
- Beverages: Beer, fortified wines, soft drinks with high-fructose, soy milk and fruit juices.
This isn't to say you should completely eliminate FODMAPs; minimising the intake of only some of these types of foods has been proven to reduce digestive issues.
In fact, a modified approach has also been demonstrated to be as effective as a low-FODMAP diet,² consisting of the following guidelines:
- Regularly eat three meals and three snacks a day
- Never eat too much or too little each time
- Never be hungry or too full
- Eat in peace and quiet and chew thoroughly
- Reduce intake of fatty or spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, onions, cabbage, and beans
- Avoid soft drinks and carbonated beverages, chewing gums, and sweeteners that ends with -ol
- Increase fibre intake
There are also concerns over the long-term impact of a low-FODMAP diet on the microbiome as Bifidobacteria have been shown to be reduced by a low-FODMAP diet³ but, suffice to say, a low FODMAP diet is extremely useful as a treatment to reduce the symptoms of IBS, especially in the short-term.
Protein Supplements and FODMAPs
Many protein powders and bars can contain sugar-alcohols as sweeteners or other FODMAP carbohydrates as fillers, or as naturally occurring or added sugars and fibres, making them incompatible with a low FODMAP diet. We are often asked whether our products are compatible...
High-protein, premium golden pea protein isolates like that in Nuzest Clean Lean Protein have virtually no FODMAPs due to the isolation process which results in an extremely high protein product (up to 90% protein [dry weight]) with no sugar, extremely low carbohydrate in total (less than 1 g of total carbohydrate per serving in the Smooth Vanilla flavour!) and practically no “antinutrients” that are commonly found in plant-based proteins. Clean Lean Protein is a great option for protein supplementation for those following a low-FODMAP diet.
- Rao SSC, Yu S, Fedewa A. Systematic review: dietary fibre and FODMAP-restricted diet in the management of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2015;41(12):1256-70.
- Böhn L, Störsrud S, Liljebo T, Collin L, Lindfors P, Törnblom H, et al. Diet Low in FODMAPs Reduces Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome as Well as Traditional Dietary Advice: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Gastroenterology. 2015;149(6):1399-407.e2.
- Staudacher H, Lomer MC, Anderson JL, Barrett JS, Muir JG, Irving PM, et al. OC-054 Impact of a fermentable carbohydrate restricted diet on luminal microbiota, fermentation, symptoms and nutrient intake in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a randomised controlled trial. Gut. 2012;61(Suppl 2):A24.