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An Introduction to the Low-FODMAP Diet

Here's everything you need to know about the new diet with the long name.

C. Tarantino

November 14, 2022

Meal delivery companies are no strangers to delivering delicious diet meals. If you’ve ever clicked around our list of the top meal delivery companies, you’ve seen meal kits that are gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, low-calories, or even Mediterranean. While most readers are familiar with those diets, they might not have even heard of the low-FODMAP diet.

Designed for people who struggle with digestive problems, the low-FODMAP diet could be your key to a more comfortable life.

Note: Like any other significant change to your diet, consult your doctor and your nutritionist with a specialty in digestive disorders before beginning the low-FODMAP diet. The low-FODMAP diet is designed specifically for people suffering from certain digestive disorders, but even these groups may not respond well to diet changes.

What is the Low-FODMAP Diet?

The low-FODMAP diet is a three-step experimental diet plan designed to help a dieter identify and exclude certain hard-to-digest carbohydrates from their meals.

While the low-FODMAP diet is not designed specifically for weight loss, the benefits of practicing a low-FODMAP diet include:

  • Identify “problem foods” that cause stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, or other uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
  • Mitigate the symptoms of digestive disorders such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).

The low-FODMAP diet consists of three distinct phases:

  1. Elimination Phase (2–6 weeks): During the elimination phase, dieters only consume small amounts of FODMAPs in accordance with their doctor’s recommendation.
  2. Reintroduction Phase (about 8 weeks): During reintroduction, the dieter will bring FODMAP foods back into their diet, one food at a time. The goal is to isolate the foods that cause the dieter trouble; problem foods get the boot, while non-problem foods can be brought back into the dieter’s rotation.
  3. Maintenance Phase (indefinite): As the ultimate goal of the diet, the maintenance phase is the application of the lessons learned from Phases 1 and 2. The dieter follows a FODMAP intake that works best for their body, for as long as it continues to benefit their life.

What Does “Low-FODMAP” Mean?

Generically speaking, FODMAPs are foods containing carbohydrates that are more difficult to digest than other carbohydrates. More specifically, FODMAP stands for “Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, and Mono-saccharides And Polyols.”

Broken down, FODMAPs are foods that are:

  • Fermentable: Digestive bacteria like to break down this type of food, often creating gas in the process.
  • Oligosaccharides: Plant fibers known as prebiotics that help keep your gut bacteria healthy.
  • Disaccharides: Lactose, a fermentable sugar found in milk.
  • Monosaccharides: Fructose, the fermentable sugar found in some fruits and some artificial sweeteners.
  • Polyols: Sugar alcohols, sometimes found in artificial sweeteners.

It’s important to remember that these foods aren’t “bad.” In fact, FODMAPs play an important role in maintaining a person’s gut health. The low-FODMAP diet is designed for specific groups of people, with close guidance from a medical professional.

What Foods Can’t You Eat while on the Low-FODMAP Diet?

The following foods (divided by food group) are usually restricted or avoided during the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet:

  • Proteins: Marinated meats or poultry or seafood, processed meats, legumes
  • Vegetables: Artichoke, asparagus, cauliflower, garlic, green peas, mushrooms, onion, sugar snap peas
  • Fruits: Apples, some stone fruits (cherries, peaches, plums), nectarines, watermelon, pears, mango
  • Dairy: Milk, yogurt, ice cream, soy milk
  • Breads: Wheat or rye or barley, biscuits, cereals
  • Sweeteners: Honey, high fructose corn syrup, some artificial sweeteners
  • Nuts and Seeds: Cashews, pistachios

Who Should Try the Low-FODMAP Diet?

The low-FODMAP diet is best for people who have not found relief from other diet advice (e.g. avoiding caffeine and spicy foods) and may:

  • Suffer from IBS, SIBO, or a similar digestive disease.
  • Suffer from stomach pain, flatulence, distention, diarrhea, or other digestive issues.

Always speak to your doctor before beginning a major diet change, including the low-FODMAP diet.

Low-FODMAP, Made Easy

Whether you’re talking to your doctor about low-FODMAP or are already giving the diet a shot, you may have noticed that it’s not easy to cut FODMAP foods out of your meals. With help from a meal delivery company, you can have low-FODMAP-diet-friendly meals delivered straight to your door.

Check out our list of the top-rated gluten-free and low-FODMAP meal delivery companies:

Shop Low-FODMAP Meals