The low FODMAP diet is a short-term, elimination diet designed to help people living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Research shows that following a low FODMAP diet as recommended by a doctor or nutritionist can reduce symptoms in up to 86% of people diagnosed with IBS or SIBO.

The acronym FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, which are carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. They can trigger symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea in some people.

High FODMAP foods that are notorious for causing digestive symptoms include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Products containing lactose such as milk, cheese, or ice cream
  • Dairy alternatives such as coconut milk (in the carton) or soy milk
  • Foods containing fructose such as apples, pears, watermelon, agave nectar, or honey
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Snow peas
  • Ingredients found in calorie sweeteners such as isomalt and xylitol

Excluding these foods temporarily from a diet for about two to six weeks, or as recommended by a physician; then slowly reintroducing them, can help identify which foods are causing symptoms to occur.  Once it is determined which foods are causing symptoms, they will be limited or avoided.

The FODMAP diet is very restrictive; therefore, it is beneficial to plan your meals. Your nutritionist or physician may recommend that you base your meals around low FODMAP foods such as:

  • Almond milk
  • Vegetables such as eggplant, spinach tomatoes, zucchini, and potatoes
  • Fruits such as grapes, pineapples, or strawberries
  • Proteins such as chicken, lamb, or fish

A low FODMAP diet is not for everyone. It can do more harm than good to those who have not been diagnosed with IBS or SIBO.  Low FODMAP diets can also be challenging; however, working with a physician or dietitian can help you to stick to the guidelines and maintain proper nutrition.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor or dietitian at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.