Are you struggling with uncomfortable bloating and gas?
You’ve heard of a low FODMAP diet, but what exactly is it, and do you need to be on one?
Don’t worry; we’ve got you! We’ll break down what FODMAPs are, the low FODMAP diet and if it’s right for you. We’ll also give you some low FODMAP snack ideas, which can be tricky to navigate.
Let’s take a look!
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is an acronym for types of sugars (broken down from carbohydrates) that easily ferment in the gut and are poorly absorbed. As a result, FODMAPs draw water into the intestines, producing unwanted digestive symptoms for some people.
Most foods contain FODMAPs to a varying degree; however, when it comes to FODMAPs, size matters. Therefore, the serving size of any food will impact how high it is in FODMAPs.
FODMAP stands for:
- Describes how bacteria ferment sugars and produce gas in the gut.
- A type of carbohydrate
- Subcategories include fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which are found in higher amounts in foods like:
- Onions, garlic, wheat and legumes
- A type of carbohydrate
- Subcategory includes the milk sugar lactose, which is found in:
- Dairy products
- A type of carbohydrate
- Subcategory includes fructose which is found in:
- Fruits and honey
- A type of carbohydrate
- Subcategory includes sorbitol and mannitol, which are found in foods like:
- Artificial sweeteners and some fruits and vegetables (particularly avocados and mushrooms)
What is a low FODMAP diet, and who needs it?
We now know what FODMAPs are but do we all need to avoid them? No, not everyone is sensitive to FODMAPs. Typically those with IBS may benefit from following a low FODMAP diet as they tend to develop digestive symptoms when consuming them in high amounts.
Monash University pioneered the low FODMAP diet to help eliminate or reduce unwanted symptoms in those living with IBS. Further, this diet has a high success rate, with research showing it may improve symptoms in up to 50-80% of IBS patients.
The low FODMAP diet is a 2-6 week elimination diet where all high FODMAP foods are eliminated. This phase is followed by the slow re-introduction of specific FODMAP groups to identify which are symptom triggers for them and which they can tolerate.
How do I Follow a Low FODMAP Diet?
Ok, so you have IBS and don’t know where to start. The Monash University App is considered the gold standard globally for low FODMAP education and is a great place to begin. It has a comprehensive food guide on FODMAPs and general low FODMAP diet education.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? That’s why working with a Registered Dietitian is important before trailing a low FODMAP diet. They will help ensure adherence and help meet your nutrient needs.
What Can you eat on a Low FODMAP diet?
The Monash University FODMAP App is an evidence-based tool that helps guide you through high, medium and low FODMAP foods. They do this by using a simple traffic light system (red = high, yellow = medium, and green = low) which makes navigating this diet more manageable.
How Long Do you Follow a Low FODMAP Diet?
Low FODMAP long-term is never recommended, nor is that the intention of the diet. You may need to remove or limit some FODMAPs long term, but you can continue to consume foods you did tolerate.
Again, working with your Registered Dietitian specializing in gut health will help guide you on the best path to IBS relief.
Low FODMAP Snacks
Ok, but what do you eat exactly? When it comes to low FODMAP diets, one of the trickiest things to tackle is finding low FODMAP snack options. So here is a list of easy low FODMAP snacks that will keep you feeling satisfied and full:
1. Crackers and Cheese
A crackers and cheese snack is a staple, but let’s make it low FODMAP! Typically, crackers contain FODMAPs like GOS (from wheat products) and lactose (from cheese). However, there are easy swaps that are wheat-free, lactose-free, or low in lactose.
- Mary’s Gone Crackers Original. Mary’s crackers can be a great option as they are wheat-free. However, some flavours contain garlic which is essential to avoid during the initial stages of a low-FODMAP diet. Instead, try the original flavour or black pepper as they do not have garlic.
Tip: Missing out on the taste of garlic overall? Try infusing your olive oil with garlic. Garlic is high in the FODMAP fructan, but fructans are only soluble in water. As oil is also a fat, the fructans will not leech out of the garlic, which results in an oil infused with garlic flavour but no fructans.
- Low Lactose Cheeses
- One serving of Swiss, Havarti and Cheddar (40 g or two slices) is a great low FODMAP snack option as they are low in lactose. They are also a good source of nutrition as they contain calcium and some protein.
- Non-dairy Cheeses
- Two slices (40 g) of soy-based cheese is a low FODMAP dairy-free option. Be aware of high FODMAP ingredients like cashews when seeking a dairy-free low FODMAP snack option.
- Daiya Cheese may also be an acceptable low FODMAP snack as its main ingredients are potato starch, oils, pea protein and xanthan gum, all of which are low FODMAP.
2. Lactose-Free Yogurt and Berries
Did you know you can find low-FODMAP yogurt? Lactose-free yogurt is the same as regular dairy yogurt, except it contains the enzyme lactase. Lactase breaks down the naturally occurring lactose sugar in yogurt and thus is a suitable low FODMAP option.
Enjoy this low-FODMAP snack with ¼ cup of blueberries or strawberries and two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds.
3. Low-FODMAP Bread
Bread as a low FODMAP snack? Wheat bread and rye are high in GOS and fructans. However, there are several types of tasty low FODMAP breads on the market may surprise you.
- Sourdough is unique because it is particularly low in GOS and fructans making it a great low FODMAP bread.
- Have you tried Cobbs low-FODMAP bread line? Cobbs use ingredients like oat bran, sorghum, millet, flax and poppy seeds in their low FODMAP bread. They have partnered with Monash University on this line and are Monash University tested and certified as low-FODMAP.
Pair one of these low-FODMAP slices of bread with two tablespoons of natural peanut butter for added protein and healthy fats. Plus, it’s low FODMAP, of course!
4. Snack bars
Snack bars can be great for an afternoon energy kick, but how can we make them a low FODMAP snack? When choosing a bar, it’s essential to choose ones with low FODMAP ingredients like:
- Rolled Oats
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cocoa powder
- Peanut Butter
- Maple syrup
- Dried coconut
- Chia seeds
- Hemp hearts
Some other less common low-FODMAP ingredients you may find in snack bars:
- Pea protein
- Xanthan gum
- Rice syrup
Further, look for bars that are also low in or contain no fructose. Fructose is commonly found in things like:
- Dried fruits
If you’re having trouble finding a snack bar guaranteed low FODMAP, try one of these from Fody foods.
5. Fruit and Nuts
Fruits can be tricky due to the presence of fructose. Here is a list of high FODMAP fruits to avoid and low FODMAP fruits to enjoy while snacking.
- Fruits high in FODMAPs
- Ripe banana, apples, grapes (75 g or 15 grapes), one medium (150g) nectarine
- Fruits low in FODMAPs
- Firm banana, two small kiwis, one mandarin orange, 1 cup chopped pineapple (140 g)
What about nuts? Nuts tend to be high in GOS and fructans, so type and serving size are crucial to pay attention to:
- Nuts high in FODMAPs
- Cashews, pistachios
- Nuts low in FODMAPs
- Almonds (10 nuts, 12 g), walnuts (10 halves, 30 g), pecans (10 halves, 20 g)
Remember, the amount is everything when it comes to a low-FODMAP snack. For example, ten almonds are considered low-FODMAP, but 20 are high FODMAP!
6. Ice Cream
Who says you can’t enjoy ice cream on a low FODMAP diet? Dairy, as mentioned above, contains lactose, a high FODMAP offender. However, dairy-free ice creams can also present their challenges.
For example, dairy-free ice creams often contain soy, coconut, almond, or cashew milk as a base, all of which are typically high FODMAP. Further, dairy-free ice creams may contain hidden high-FODMAP ingredients like chicory root.
To ensure a low-FODMAP ice cream, we recommend making your own!
Try this low-FODMAP ice cream recipe
- 1 cup frozen Firm bananas
- ¼ cup Lactose-free milk or pea protein milk like Ripple Original
- 1-2 tsp. Maple syrup
Try adding ¼ cup of blueberries or raspberries to this low FODMAP snack for extra nutrition.
7. Chips and Dip
Typically chips can be high in oligosaccharides. However, these Original Whole Grain SunChips or Fody Kettle Chips have been certified low FODMAP by Monash University and are a great swap! For best results, stick to a single serving size in one sitting.
Now we need something to pair your chips with! Spread ‘Em Cilantro and Sunflower Seed Pesto contain low-FODMAP ingredients. Although it’s not an approved Monash Certified low FODMAP product, it will likely still be low FODMAP in small amounts.
Also, we recommend this Carrot & Cumin Dip from Monash University.
8. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate (5 squares, 30 g).
A single serving size is essential as high amounts contain too much lactose when following a low FODMAP diet. Try having some dark chocolate with a firm banana for extra fibre and energy.
9. Tahini Dip
Tahini is a seed spread made of sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are considered low FODMAP even at greater than one serving size making this a great addition to your low FODMAP snack regime.
Try this easy Tahini Dip recipe:
- 2 tbsp. Tahini
- 1 mL Lemon juice
- Dash of Cumin and salt
Pair with Sourdough or one of Cobbs low FODMAP breads!
10. Tofu Bites
Firm tofu (½ cup cubed, 85 g)
Tofu is a great plant-based way to get some protein during a snack. Protein is crucial for maintaining muscle mass, keeping you full, and many vital cellular functions. Further, tofu is a source of fibre and minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium and more.
Try this simple Crispy Sesame Ginger Tofu Bites Recipe:
- 1 cup cubed Firm pressed tofu
- 1 tbsp. Corn starch
- 1 tbsp. Fody Sesame Ginger Sauce & Marinade
Directions: Air fry firm pressed tofu cubes at 375F for 15 minutes.
Summarizing Low FODMAPs
FODMAPs are foods high in carbohydrates that easily ferment in the gut and can cause bloating, gas and general digestive discomfort in individuals with IBS.
Research is growing rapidly in the world of FODMAPs and how they play a role in IBS. However, we know that following a low FODMAP diet has a high success rate, with roughly three out of four people seeing a reduction in IBS symptoms.
Always seek medical advice when going on a low FODMAP diet from a Registered Dietitian to help you navigate it.
When it comes to low FODMAP snacks, you can have many options with just a few swaps to your regular foods.
Want to learn more about low FODMAP snacks and the low FODMAP diet? Sign up for a personalized Nutrition Tour with one of our in-house Registered Dietitians or Nutritionists!
Published on July 11th, 2022