What are FODMAPs? Detailed steps for a Beginner

5-minute read. 


Disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBI), previously known as functional gastrointestinal disorders, affect approximately 40% of the population worldwide.  (1)

Are you aware that what you eat has a major effect on your digestive system? And the digestive concern is a serious problem for some individuals.

FODMAPs are types of fermentable carbohydrates found in some foods, including wheat and beans, milk, fruits, and vegetables.

Scientific research has shown how FODMAPs linked to the cause of improper digestion of certain food which often results in symptoms like intestinal gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation. (2)

If you have been experiencing digestive problems with some food, FODMAPs might be the suspect.

I wrote this article to help you rule out your digestive problem and gently correct it following a simple guide.

Feel free to skip to any topic that interests you most:

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols.  (3, 6)

They’re short-chain carbohydrates found in some food that may be difficult for your digestive enzymes to absorb during digestion leading to certain stomach upsets.

These short-chain carbohydrates are resistant to digestion. Instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream after digestion, they reach the far end of your intestine, where most of your gut bacteria reside.

Your gut bacteria then use these carbs for fuel, producing hydrogen gas and causing digestive upsets in sensitive individuals. FODMAPs also draw liquid into your intestine, which may cause diarrhea. (4, 5)

Although not everyone has a sensitivity to FODMAPs, it is very common among individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). (7, 8)

I am very sensitive to some FODMAPs like polyols found in alcohol and galactan’s found in most legumes like beans and fiofio, and lactose found in milk. So I know exactly what the symptoms are like.

Understand that the method you use in preparing that food that contains certain FODMAPs and the method you use in consuming it, as well as the quantity you eat determines how the FODMAPs will affect your digestive system. If you have IBS you will understand what am saying here.

Click here to find out more about IBS.

For an instant, if I drink raw milk I will have diarrhea but if mix it with hot water before drinking it no problems.

I have a careful method I use in preparing my beans for smooth digestion. Click here to find out how the preparation of food can reduce the effect of FODMAPs

However, if I eat too many beans or fiofio (agbugbu), I will have stomach upset for the whole day. I may not be able to test any other food the same day and I may end up having diarrhea at the end of the day.

Sources of FODMAPs

Here is some common food that contains FODMAPs:

  • Fructose: a simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars
  • Lactose: a carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk
  • Fructans: found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelled, rye and barley
  • Galatians: found in large amounts in legumes like beans
  • Polyols: sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, and mannitol. They are found in some fruits and vegetables and are often used as sweeteners.

Effect of FODMADs

How do FODMAPs affect my digestive system?

Here is how these carbohydrates affect absorption in your intestine;

When you eat food containing FODMAPs, the majority of FODMAPs pass through most of your intestine unchanged.

They’re completely resistant to digestion and are categorized as dietary fiber.

However, in some individuals, only lactose and fructose carbohydrates function like FODMAPs when ingested.

General sensitivity to these carbohydrates also differs between people. In fact, scientists believe that they contribute to digestive discomfort like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

When FODMAPs reach your colon, they get fermented and used as fuel by gut bacteria. The same happens when dietary fibers feed your friendly gut (small intestine) bacteria, which leads to various health benefits.

However, the friendly bacteria tend to produce methane, whereas the bacteria that feed on FODMAPs produce hydrogen (acidic gas) that irritates your stomach. (9)

This may lead to intestinal gas, bloating, stomach cramps, pain, and constipation.

Many of these symptoms are caused by distention of the gut, which can also make your stomach look bigger. (10)

FODMAPs are also osmotically active, which means that they can draw water into your intestine and contribute to diarrhea.


If you’re sensitive to FODMAPs, here are some of the symptoms you may experience after eating any food containing them;

  • gas
  • bloating
  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhea
  • constipation

Low FODMAPs Diet Tips

Here are some foods low in FODMAPs

The low FODMAP diet has mostly been studied in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). (11)

However, keep in mind that the purpose of this diet is not to completely eliminate FODMAPs, which is extremely difficult. Simply minimizing these types of carbohydrates is considered sufficient to reduce digestive symptoms. (12)

Start eating these foods:

  • Meats, fish, and eggs (are well tolerated unless they have added high FODMAP ingredients, like wheat or high fructose corn syrup)
  • All fats and oils
  • Most herbs and spices
  • Nuts and seeds (including almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, and sesame seeds but not pistachios or cashews, which are high in FODMAPs)
  • Fruits, such as:
  • Unripe bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • lime
  • Mandarins
  • Melons (except watermelon)
  • oranges
  • Passionfruit
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Sweeteners (maple syrup, molasses, and stevia)
  • Dairy products if they are lactose-free as well as hard cheeses and aged softer varieties (like Brie and Camembert)
  • Vegetables, such as:
  • Alfalfa
  • Bell peppers
  • Bok choy
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Chives
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Ginger
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Olives
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Spring onion (only green)
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts
  • Yams
  • Zucchini
  • Grains, such as:
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Tapioca
  • Beverages (water, coffee, tea, etc)

The low-FODMAP approach is not simply an “avoidance diet”. It is also a diagnostic tool to test the patients’ tolerance to some foods, enabling the patients to eliminate them from their diet and make significant changes to their lifestyle. (3)

There are other wide varieties of healthy and nutritious foods that you can eat on a low FODMAP diet. (5, 13)

However, keep in mind that these lists are neither definitive nor exhaustive. Naturally, there are foods not listed here that are either high or low in FODMAPs.

In addition, everyone is different. You may tolerate some foods on the list of foods to avoid while noticing digestive symptoms from foods low in FODMAPs for other reasons.

It is not surprising, then, that how much food you eat will affect how likely you are to experience symptoms if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The rate our body reacts to FODMAPs varies.

I hope you’re getting value.

How to use low FODMAPs to rule out your digestive problem?

Have it in mind that many commonly consumed foods are high in FODMAPs.

It’s generally recommended to completely eliminate all high FODMAP foods for a few weeks. This diet is unlikely to work if you only eliminate some high FODMAP foods and eat some.

If  FODMAPs are the cause of your problems, you may experience relief for a few days.

After a few weeks, you can reintroduce some of these foods one at a time. This allows you to determine which food causes your symptoms. If you find that a certain type of food strongly upsets your digestion, you may want to permanently avoid it.

It can be difficult to get started and follow a low FODMAP diet on your own. It’s highly recommended to seek the advice of a doctor or dietitian who is trained in this area if you have access to one.

This may also help prevent unnecessary dietary restrictions, since certain tests can help determine whether you need to avoid the FODMAPs fructose or lactose, rather than needing to remove them from your diet.


How do low FODMAPs benefits you?

Following a low FODMAPs diet will help you feel better. You’ll experience. (14, 15)

  • less gas
  • less bloating
  • less diarrhea
  • less constipation
  • less stomach pain

Ideally, if you strictly maintain low FODMAPs until you determine the source of your problem and avoid such food for life all the symptoms may likely stop entirely except otherwise.

It may also cause positive psychological benefits, as these digestive disturbances are known to cause stress and are strongly linked to mental disorders like anxiety and depression, (16)

High FODMAPs Diet

Here is a list of some common foods and ingredients that are high in FODMAPs. (13, 3)

  • Fruits: apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, canned fruit, cherries, dates, figs, peaches, pears, watermelon
  • Sweeteners: fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol
  • Dairy products: ice cream, milk (from cows, goats, and sheep), most yogurts, soft and fresh cheeses (cottage cheese, ricotta, etc.), sour cream, whey protein supplements
  • Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, shallots
  • Legumes: beans, baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, soybeans
  • Wheat: biscuits, bread, most breakfast cereals, crackers, pancakes, pasta, tortillas, waffles
  • Other grains: barley, rye
  • Beverages: beer, fortified wines, fruit juices, milk, soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup, soy milk.


FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Mono-saccharides, and Polyols. These are small carbohydrates found in some foods like wheat, beans, milk, fruits, and vegetables, that some individuals cannot digest particularly those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

In some individuals, FODMAPs are poorly digested, so they end up reaching the colon. They draw water into the intestine and get fermented by hydrogen-producing gut bacteria causing digestion discomfort.

Symptoms include intestinal gas, stomach pain, bloating, cramps, constipation, and diarrhea.

Opting for a low FODMAP diet can improve your symptoms and quality of life, especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It also reduces symptoms of various other digestive disorders.

Avoiding foods high in FODMAP will improve your health if you’re sensitive to FODMAPs

It’s recommended to eliminate all high FODMAP foods for a few weeks, then reintroduce some of them one at a time. It’s best to do this with the help of a qualified health professional.

I hope you get the value worth your time? I appreciate the time you spend with me. Leave a comment if you like this post.

Do you have any questions regarding FODMAPs I didn’t answer here? Have you ever experienced any symptoms of the FODMAPs I mentioned here? Feel free to share your story with me in the comment section.


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