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FODMAP Diet: What You Need to Know

If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a low FODMAP diet may help. FODMAP, which stands for FermentableOligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols, is a group of carbohydrates found in many of the foods we eat, such as:

  • Dairy products
  • Grains
  • Some fruits and veggies

These might normally be considered healthy foods, but if you are sensitive to these carbohydrates, you could be in trouble.

Complications of Consuming FODMAPS

FODMAPs are osmotic, meaning they pull water into the intestinal tract. This makes them difficult to digest and can lead to uncomfortable side effects including:

By limiting the amount of FODMAPs you eat, you can control these symptoms and be on your way to feeling better.


A low FODMAP diet is a six-week plan designed to fit your needs and lifestyle. Following a FODMAP diet is not for everyone, so it is important to talk to your doctor before starting. The goal is to figure out which foods trigger your IBS and then change your diet to fit your needs. It is helpful to keep a food diary so you can easily track your new diet and how you are feeling.

Once you begin the diet, be sure to stick to foods that are low in fiber and are lactose and gluten-free. As with any diet, it is great to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, but some of these foods can actually be high in FODMAPs. The following are some low FODMAP options:

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes

Tips for Following a Low FODMAP Diet

The hardest part of any diet is actually sticking to it. Following a low FODMAP diet takes planning, preparation, and discipline. The following guidelines will help you stay on track with your new diet.

Plan Your Meals

Before going to the store, do a little meal prep. Plan each meal for the week and write down all the ingredients you will need to buy. This will help prevent you from buying anything that is not part of the diet.

Read Labels

Pay close attention to what you are actually buying by carefully reading nutrition labels and checking out everything that is in your food. Be sure to avoid foods that are made with high FODMAP ingredients, such as honey, wheat, and soy.

Portion Control

The problem might not be what you are eating but how much of it you eat. Be aware of serving sizes to be sure you are not overdoing it on any foods that might upset your stomach. For example, almonds are a food with moderate FODMAPs so you want to limit your serving size to about ten almonds to avoid eating the whole bag.

Following a low FODMAP diet may not be easy. But, help is available. UPMC’s Digestive Health Care treats many diseases in the digestive tract with some of the nation’s leaders in the field. For more information, or to make an appointment, please call 1-866-4GASTRO(442-7876) or visit our website.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About Digestive Disorders

UPMC Digestive Health Care cares for a wide range of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions and diseases, from diagnosis to treatment. Whether your digestive condition is common or complicated, our experts can help. Upon referral from your physician, we coordinate your testing and treatment. If you have a complicated condition, we can refer you to one of UPMC’s digestive health centers of excellence. Find a GI doctor near you.