Fodmaps: what they are and what problems they can cause

Fodmaps: what they are and what problems they can cause


Abdominal swelling , bloating , abdominal discomfort or pain , constipation or diarrhea , weakness, are typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and colitis . Foods ” Fodmap “, or foods that ferment, acronym of ” Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Disaccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols ” , oligosaccharides , disaccharides , monosaccharides and polyols, can definitely improve the condition of people suffering from intestinal disorders. These are foods rich in sugars which, once digested, remain in the intestine calling for water (they have osmotic properties ). A diet low in top fermented foods can counteract the onset of symptoms.

Fodmap: at a glance

  • FODMAPs are: fructose , lactose , fructans, galactooligosaccharides (GOS), polyols.
  • They are short chain carbohydrates
  • They are fermented in the healthy gut by the bacteria that make up the gut microbiota .
  • Following a low Fodmap diet leads to improvement of symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain , swelling
  • Reduction of Fodmaps in case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gastrointestinal problems, colitis, etc
  • Avoid foods with fructose and polyols: apples , pears , dehydrated fruit , watermelon , plums , peaches , apricots , cherries .
  • Avoid foods with fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides: wheat and rye , legumes .
  • Avoid lactose: milk and derivatives.
  • Avoid foods with polyols, fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides: artichokes , mushrooms, leeks , onions, cauliflowers .

Fodmaps: what are they?

FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that are very little absorbed from the small intestine . They include short-chain oligosaccharide polymers of fructose, galactolic oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and sugar alcohols (such as sorbitol , mannitol , xylitol , and maltitol)

The term FODMAP  is an acronym, which comes from ” F ermentable,  O ligo-,  D i-,  M ono-saccharides  And P olyols”. They are not naturally present in food, but reducing them in the diet results in marked improvement in the symptoms of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID).

The first research on low-FODMAP diets or rather low-FODMAP diet was conducted in 2004 by Monash University in Melbourne (Australia), through the creation of a precise food analysis program to measure the FODMAP content in a wide range of typical diets, evaluating their effects. 

Poor absorption of most FODMAP carbohydrates is common for all individuals. FODMAPs that are not absorbed in the small intestine pass into the large intestine , where the fermentation process begins by bacterial action.

Features of the FODMAP diet

The Fodmap or low Fodmap diet is a  diet poor in fermented foods, often the cause of gastrointestinal disorders and irritable bowel syndrome. Following a correct diet , obviously prescribed by the specialist depending on the individual person, can contribute to a marked improvement in symptoms. There is, however, a list of allowed and beneficial foods for those following the Fodmap diet, and a list of foods that are best avoided or eaten in minimal quantities.

The foods allowed in the Fodmap or Fodmap low diet are:

  • banana
  • orange
  • mandarin
  • grape
  • blueberries
  • melon
  • almonds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • bean sprouts
  • red pepper
  • bok choy
  • coconut
  • hazelnuts
  • egg
  • zuchinis
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • cucumbers
  • carrots
  • chives
  • green beans
  • meat ,
  • fish ,
  • tofu
  • hard cheeses _ _
  • lactose-free cheeses
  • kefir
  •  gluten-free grains like rice , oats and quinoa
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • avocado


The low Fodmap diet will be followed under the observation of a nutritionist, and in most cases provides for the elimination of foods only for short periods, and the  gradual reintroduction of each food. Only foods high in FODMAPs, that turn out

Since its conception, this type of diet requires  the patient to be followed by an expert nutritionist . Do-it-yourself is to be avoided, because it would be completely useless, as well as dangerous: a nutrition professional must necessarily be consulted who can plan the diet and detect whether or not the elimination of a given food has had any effects on the ‘body.


Benefits of FODMAPs

  • Reduction of abdominal pain and cramps
  • Intestinal regularity
  • Reduction of swelling and tension in the abdomen
  • Minor discharges
  • Best night’s sleep
  • Improved social relationships

To improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome , it could therefore be beneficial to follow a FODMAP diet (or, more precisely, “low FODMAP”), i.e. the food protocol developed by Monash University in Australia which is based on exclusion of foods that contain these molecules, replacing them with foods that do not cause intestinal disturbances.

It is also advisable for those suffering from digestive and gastrointestinal disorders to restore the balance of the intestinal microbiota , with the help of probiotics , but also by improving their lifestyle, carrying out regular physical activity , and reducing stress .

Foods to avoid

  • mango
  • watermelon
  • plums
  • peaches
  • apples
  • pears
  • pistachios  and cashews .
  • asparagus
  • onion
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • beet
  • cabbage
  • cabbage
  • sweet corn
  • celery
  • yoghurt ,
  • soft cheeses,
  • legumes
  •  rye,
  • bread
  • pasta
  • grain and food products such as biscuits, cakes etc


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *