Low FODMAP Diet

Dr Sue Shepherd developed the low FODMAP diet in 1999. She has proven, through her pioneering PhD research, that limiting dietary FODMAPs is an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS. The low FODMAP diet has been published in international medical journals and is now accepted and recommended as one of the most effective dietary therapies for IBS. Abstracts of these articles are available in our GP/Specialist Section.

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym (abbreviation) referring to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people. When the molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine of the digestive tract, these molecules then continue along their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there normally. The bacteria then digest/ferment these FODMAPs and can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal bloating and distension, excess wind (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.

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What are the FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym for

Fermentable
Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS))
Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)
Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
and
Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

Where are FODMAPs found?

A few examples of food sources for each of the FODMAPs are listed below. The list is not complete. New data has been obtained regarding the FODMAP content of foods. As a result, there have been some changes from previous food lists. Below is a list containing up-to-date information. The dietitians at Shepherd Works can provide you with an up to date list of the full list of foods during a consultation.

  • Excess Fructose: Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup,
  • Fructans: Artichokes (Globe), Artichokes(Jerusalem), Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Spring Onion (white part), Shallots, Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Barley (in large amounts), Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides.
  • Lactose: Milk, icecream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone).
  • Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS): Legume beans (eg. baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans), Lentils, Chickpeas
  • Polyols: Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Cherries, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, sorbitol (420), mannitol (421), xylitol (967), maltitol (965) and isomalt (953).

What can I eat on a low FODMAP diet?

The Low FODMAP diet has two phases. The first phase generally involves a strict restriction of all high FODMAP foods. This phase should be followed for 6-8 weeks only, then an expert dieititian should be consulted for a review appointment to learn the second phase. The second phase is where the diet is liberalised to suit each individual – where the type and amount of FODMAPs are identified so that the longer term diet can be established. It is recommended that you consult with an experienced dietitian for both phases of the low FODMAP diet as each phase involves many dietary changes.

For expert dietitian advice, please book to make an appointment with one of the Shepherd Works dietitians on +613 9890 4911. Day time and early evening appointments are available. For people who live interstate, overseas or are unable to make it to one of our many practice locations, Shepherd Works offers a phone consultation service, please phone +613 9890 4911 to discuss.