By Joanna Baker APD & RN
Starting out on a low FODMAP diet plan can be overwhelming. Suddenly you have to think twice every time you eat. This guide has some practical tips to get you going on the initial phase of the low FODMAP diet, and get your symptoms settled faster. It can also help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Before switching to a low FODMAP meal plan it is important to see a doctor or health care professional, to exclude serious medical conditions that can cause similar gut symptoms like abdominal pain and uncomfortable bowel habits. We also recommend seeing a FODMAP trained Registered or Accredited Practising Dietitian to help you navigate the complexity of the FODMAP diet, and to make sure you are meeting your nutritional needs while on a low FODMAP diet plan. Following the initial exclusion phase for longer than 4-8 weeks can lead to alterations in gut microbiome and nutritional deficiencies, so it is important to move to phase two after this time.
There is no rule about when is the right time to start eating low FODMAP. But, since it involves making changes to your diet and restricting certain healthy foods, you need to be able to do this without compromising your health. Although it’s not a game of perfect, you also need to be able to physically provide yourself with low FODMAP meals and snacks for the duration of the Elimination phase of the diet plan. If you are stuck for ideas, our meal plans and low FODMAP menus can help.
Since FODMAPs can take several hours to cause problems, it can be difficult to identify your triggers. I’ve seen many people get surprised by what is and isn’t triggering them when they do a structured Elimination and Challenge. To keep results clear and consistent, we generally recommend limiting all high FODMAP foods or portions sizes during the initial phase of the low FODMAP diet plan.
Is there a list of foods I can eat? Can I eat peanut butter? The low FODMAP diet is only just over 10 years old, so research is moving very quickly. Save yourself some stress; download the Monash University smartphone app for a FODMAP food list and see a FODMAP trained dietitian to get up to date information about what food is low FODMAP and can be included in your low FODMAP meal plan.
FODMAPs are the carbohydrate in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is the protein in wheat, barley and rye. These are different molecules that often occur in the same food. A FODMAP meal plan is not all or nothing, and it allows certain serves of wheat products.
Low FODMAP bread, pasta & grains include:
Lactose is the carbohydrate in milk and milk products. Lactose free dairy products are suitable for all phases of a low FODMAP meal plan. These include:
If you prefer non-dairy choices, you will need to look out for other FODMAP e.g. GOS found in some soy milks. Low FODMAP options include:
Read more about the low FODMAP diet, IBS treatment and dairy here:
It’s true that garlic and onion are high FODMAP and don’t have a low FODMAP serve. This doesn’t mean that your meal plans will be lacking in flavour while you are following this diet. You can use:
Yes, sugar is low FODMAP. While honey and certain fruits are limited, low FODMAP sweeteners that can be used are:
Keep in mind that a low FODMAP meal plan is not forever, and while the first few days or week can be challenging it does get easier when you get to know your own personal thresholds and find new yummy foods. Switching the focus to what you can eat is mentally and emotionally kinder. You can also download 5-day dietitian developed meal plans here to get you started and settle your gut faster.Share: